I’m not sure if the soothing piano music which gently plays throughout, the chimerical visuals being bathed in soft and warm pastel hues, or simply the relaxed and relaxing pace of the gameplay were to blame, but a few levels into Bubble Dreams (out now, $2.99), I felt my eyelids beginning to close of their own accord.
But don’t get me wrong, things do start out well enough. For one, Irish indie developers, SuperFunPlay, have turned out a devastatingly gorgeous game for their iOS debut (think Pixar at their most whimsical), while it’s also technically sound and boasts a truly charming premise. It’s a real shame then that Bubble Dreams’ gameplay is based around a lackluster match-3 (well, 2) puzzle mechanic that fails to spark the imagination.
Each level plays out more or less identically – as shimmering bubbles containing dreams float above a sleeping girl’s bed, you’ve got to match up a set number of same-colored orbs. Tapping on two bubbles causes them to begin drifting toward each other, but, take care, because when different colors clash, a creepy nightmare is spawned. If two of these night terrors collide, the little girl is rudely awoken and it’s ‘Game Over’ time!
And, well, that’s it really. On the plus side, attempting to earn bonuses and avoid nightmares during busier levels requires some light strategizing, while a couple of unlockable characters provides an incentive to keep playing. Overall though, Bubble Dreams is far too simplistic, slow-paced and undemanding to hold your interest for much more than a few levels at a time.
SuperFunPlay are obviously a talented team – the chilled ambiance, polish and beautiful eye candy on offer here are testament to that – so let’s just hope they manage to dream up some more exciting and original gameplay for their next iOS effort.
iFanzine Verdict: Despite some charming ideas and sumptuous presentation, Bubble Dreams’ tired color matching mechanic and lethargic pace fails to engage. This sleeping beauty gets half marks.