Today I will be reviewing Frozen Bubble, an app which – I’m guessing – has already won a place in quite a few Android hearts. The app’s popularity is not only due to its well-know gameplay (there are lots of similar games for your phone, computer, or console). If you’re not yet familiar with this game go ahead and read this review.
Test device: Motorola Milestone / Android Version: 2.1update-1 / Root: No / Modifications (CPU – changes made to clock rate, etc.): None.
App details: Usable as of: Android 1.1 / Apps2SD: Yes / Required authorization: None.
Frozen Bubble is clearly and arcade game. The gameplay is pretty basic and not particularly varied, but it’s also lots of fun and spurs you on to keep beating your best score. So how do you play Frozen Bubble?
The screen is divided into two parts, the upper part taking up about three fourths of the screen. Depending on the level you will find different amounts of bubbles that are formed in different constellations or grouped together according to color. The cannon, which you use throughout the entire game, is located in the lower part.
The aim of the game is to knock all of the colored bubbles down. If three or more bubbles of the same color touch each other they get knocked down. The cool thing is that any other bubbles that are attached the cluster that’s been knocked down will also be eliminated—including bubbles that aren’t the same color as the cluster. Imagine breaking off a branch that still has apples attached to it and you’ll get the picture.
Pretty neat, as this saves time. Time is the most important element in Frozen Bubble's gameplay. The upper part of the screen gets reduced more and more as time passes. If a bubble reaches the lower part the game is over. Thankfully the player does receive a warning – in the form of the bubbles flashing a few times – that the two halves of the display are going to shift. The further the upper part is pushed down the more difficult it is to hit the other bubbles.
You control a penguin which in turn aims the cannon you use to shoot colorful bubbles at the clusters. The two upcoming colors are displayed on the cannon. You can change the cannon’s aim but not its position, and it is positioned in the lower part of the display. That’s why it can get to be quite tricky to hit the highest bubbles as the game progresses, seeing as lower bubbles get in the way. The bubbles bounce off the left and right walls which makes it easier (and in some cases possible) to hit certain bubbles.
The Level Editor, which you can download, is also a lot of fun. (You can find the Level Editor via Frozen Bubble's main menu or by searching for “Frozen Bubble Level Editor” in the Android Market.) It provides you with 40 levels as well as the option to design your new levels which you can then upload and share.
This game is a blast, it’s easy to learn how to play (though playing it well may take some time), and it’s a great way to kill time. The lack of diversity is the game’s only downfall; Power Ups, Items, or something along those lines would add a bit of zest to this otherwise really cool game.
Frozen Bubble has a nice look and the effects are pretty neat, too. However, I did notice a small design error when I played the game on my phone: The game sticks out over the display on the left and right sides, which isn’t a big deal, just an optical flaw.
Great detail: there’s a mode for color blind players in which shapes are used rather than colors. I’m impressed that the developer thought to include a way to allow a variety of players to enjoy the game.
Learning how to control the cannon doesn’t take long but it can be a bit clumsy. It would be nice to have an alternative for controls.
Although I’ve been playing Frozen Bubble for several weeks I haven’t yet had any lagging or crashing. The display can get slightly repositioned when you deactivate the key lock button, but this generally only lasts for a moment.
Frozen Bubble can be downloaded for free from the Android Market.