In the world of bubble-popping games on Facebook, a few standards have become commonplace: the ability to swap bubbles in your cannon before shooting, the ability to purchase power-ups to make your levels easier, and the ability to compare your scores with friends on each level, just to name a few. Unfortunately, PlayDemand, the creators of Bubble Raider on Facebook, apparently didn't get that proverbial memo.
Bubble Raider is an adventure-themed bubble-popping game that is heavily inspired by Indiana Jones, down to the soundtrack and font choice in the game's logo. You'll travel around the world completing different "zones" of levels, with the overall goal being to simply destroy all of the bubbles in each level to move on. There's no secondary goal in each, leaving most to be fairly easy to complete as you blast colored bubbles to the top of the screen in an effort to make a match of three or more like-colored orbs. Levels aren't timed in the general sense of the word, but if you do take too long to complete a level, the ceiling will start to lower, pushing the bubbles towards a red line. If even a single bubble crosses this line, you'll fail the level and lose one of your limited lives.
While this setup is decent in theory, there are so many odd design choices here that keep the game from being truly entertaining. For one, there's no trajectory line or aiming reticule to help you place your shots, and even though you can see the next colored bubble you'll get to shoot, there's no way to swap between the two of them. Furthermore, the ceiling isn't "sticky," so you're forced to make matches vertically rather than horizontally. Again, this wouldn't be such a problem save for the fact that the ceiling will drop over time. Finally, if you fail to make a shot within a certain number of seconds, the cannon will auto-fire, sending a bubble in the direction the cannon is currently facing.
While Bubble Raider does technically contain a power-up system, it's completely hidden, and only appears when you've actually failed a level. When this happens, you can spend 2,500 coins a pop to unlock time extensions for the auto-firing, a bonus that will remove one color from a level, another that will slow down the rate at which the ceiling falls and finally, a helper arrow that will help you determine where your shots will ultimately land. Successfully completing a level only gives you 50 coins, making these power-ups so out of reach that you're better off purchasing the daily bonus cash for $50, as it will give you 5,000 coins everyday when you log in. Then again, $50 is way too much to spend on a game with so many basic design flaws.
Outside of the game's Journey mode, you can also play in Time Attack mode, which gives you 60 seconds to earn as many points as you can and will then compare your scores with your friends on a leaderboard that resets every few days. Finally, Battle Mode allows you to go head-to-head with a single Facebook friend in real time. Obviously, if you don't have any friends that also play the game, this mode is completely useless, so it would have been great to see the ability to play with strangers added in as well (or even just asynchronous play, so you and your friends don't have to coordinate your schedules to play together).
Ultimately, Bubble Raider seems like a game that was created with the best of intentions, but falls flat where others excel (see: Bubble Safari or Bubble Blitz, as examples). Luckily, there are so many other bubble-popping games on Facebook that you won't be stuck playing this one unless you really want to. Still want to try the game for yourself? You can do so by clicking on the link below.
Click here to try Bubble Raider on Facebook --->
Have you tried Bubble Raider on Facebook? How do you think the game compares to the many other bubble-popping games on Facebook? Sound off in the comments!