Console: PSone

Company: Taito

Release Date: June 1996

Genre: Puzzle

Number of Players: 1 or 2

Save Feature? Yes

As far as I am concerned, Bust-a-Move 2 is the most engrossing puzzle game experience out there. With its deceptively simple yet engrossing gameplay, it's all too easy to get sucked into this game for indefinite periods of time. The game simply screams the word "Fun!"

Overview: Bust-a-Move 2 is virtually identical to its predecessor in terms of gameplay. Instead of repeating myself here, I encourage you to check out my review of the original Bust-a-Move game if you are unfamiliar with the gameplay in the Bust-a-Move series. You're probably wondering why I bothered to write a review for the sequel aren't you? After all, if the gameplay is the same, what is the sense of writing a review for another Bust-a-Move game? The reason is that Bust-a-Move 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor Everything just seems to be more crisp and the gameplay is ultimately better this time around. There are additional modes of play available such as the Puzzle quest and the Time Attack challenge. Of course, there is the tried and true Player vs. Computer challenge as well as the enjoyable (yet sometimes overtly competitive) two-player battle. With so many options available in Bust-a-Move 2, it's no wonder that the game is better. There seems to be something for everyone. I really like the fact that you can save your game this time around as well (gotta love those memory cards). Your best times and greatest accomplishments will be saved which gives the game a lot of replay value.

Graphics: Although the graphics in Bust-a-Move 2 don't necessarily push the envelope in terms of greatness, they do a great job at what they do. For this particular genre (puzzle), state-of-the-art graphics aren't nearly as important as the play control and overall gameplay. Even so, I still feel that the graphics were nicely done. The visuals throughout this game are a big improvement over the original Bust-a-Move hit. Just by looking at the pictures in this review, you can see that the graphics are very colorful, cartoonish, and "cutesy" if you will. Granted, some game players can't stand anything cutesy for more than five minutes but as for myself, I have learned to accept the fact that cutesy isn't always bad. At times, the cutesy factor provides some great laughs. Some of various animations can be downright hilarious! Your characters will smile pleasantly and rock back and forth all relaxed. However, it's so funny to see them panic once your poor skills become apparant. ;) Some of the enemies like Beluga look so funny when they're cornered as well!

If I had to put my finger on it, I would have to say that the beautiful backgrounds throughout the game are what really impressed me in terms of graphics. Some of the backgrounds are so realistic! Sometimes there is a little animation in the background as well. Nothing is too distracting though which is important. Overall, Bust-a-Move 2 is by no means perfect in this category but it's definitely above average.

Music: The biggest improvement over the first Bust-a-Move game has to be the game's surprisingly catchy soundtrack! Unlike the first game where only one track plays throughout all 100 rounds, Bust-a-Move 2 is jam-packed with a large variety of music! The music is mostly upbeat, happy, and just flat out pleasant! One cool thing is that the game CD itself is essentially a soundtrack! Simply pop the game in your CD player and you'll be able to hear all of the game's music! Pretty cool isn't it? The only problem that I have with the game's music has to be the fact that only one track plays in the two-player mode. It isn't necessarily a bad track but with so many cool tunes available, why should I have to hear the same one over and over? It doesn't make any sense!

The various sound effects/voice (and there are a lot of them let me tell you) heard throughout the game are very good except for a few very annoying ones. What the heck is that sound that you hear when you select options on the title screen? It sounds like a chicken or something very strange...weird. I love the sound of bubbles dropping (when you form a combo) though. Very pleasant to the ears!

Play Control: The play control in Bust-a-Move 2 is virtually identical to the controls of the original game. Move the cannon, shoot a bubble, and do it again and again! Although the controls seem slightly loose for beginners (you may find your shots missing by the slimest of margins), the seasoned pro will attest that the play control is nearly perfect. I have played this game for so long that I have nothing but praise regarding the controls. You can even make minute adjustments to your shots by pressing the L1/R1 buttons. If any complaints can be made about the play control, it's that exceptional hand/eye coordination (more than normal) is needed to succeed. That's a great thing though! Next time your parents tell you that video games are a waste of time, bring up that argument!

Challenge: Bust-a-Move 2 is one of those puzzle games that makes you bend but not break. Even if you find yourself getting annihilated by the computer or running into a seemingly impossible puzzle, the game continually brings you back. This was a huge improvement over the insanely difficult original Bust-a-Move game. Time and time again I would find myself being buried by the computer and becoming frustrated. Thankfully, things have changed this time around. When I lose at this game (and yes, even a seasoned pro like myself gets the short end of the stick at times...lol), I tend to blame myself rather than the computer. The puzzles are not impossible and, contrary to popular opinion, the computer does not cheat. You simply have to learn how to unleash deadlier combinations on your opponent while staying unscathed yourself.

Storyline: There is essentially no background story for Bust-a-Move 2. As a result, this category is not applicable to the game's overall rating.

Funfactor: Bust-a-Move 2 is as fun as they come! It is so much fun that you may lose track of time, hunger, and even your homework while playing this festive classic. The gameplay is really that engrossing! It's just such a blast busting bubbles and unleashing gaudy combinations of bubbles on your opponent's screen. Even if you happen to fall in defeat, you'll just want to play that much more in your quest to win "just one more time." The addictive nature of this game alone merits at least a look from video game fans. Bust-a-Move 2 is a very strong candidate for the ultimate puzzler out there in my opinion. If you have never played this game or any of the other Bust-a-Move games, I strongly encourage you to buy this one on the double! Beware though; few games are more addictive than this one.

Negatives: It's hard to find any! As I mentioned before, I wish that a wider variety of music would play during the two player mode. One track just isn't enough! A few voices can grate on your nerves after a while as well (I'm sure that anyone who has faced "the girl" can attest to that...see picture below.)


Ratings: Graphics: 3.5 Music: 4.2 Play Control: 4.9 Challenge: 4.7 Storyline: N/A Funfactor: 4.7 Overall Score: 22.0 out of 25.0 (4.4 average) Overall Rating: Silver Stud!

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