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After the success of Loco Roco, an organic platform game on the PSP that tasked you with rolling various bubble shaped creates around a plant filled environment, Mekensleep successfully bring a similar experience to the DS that makes the most of the handheld's touch screen controls.
Platform games task you with getting from point A to point B. The world you journey through is usually based on different levels, and populated with enemies, switches and lifts to be negotiated. As you work through each level you pick up various collectable that accrue score, special abilities and access to hidden areas.
Soul bubbles takes the platform game concept and stretches it to near breaking point - but in a good way. Here, you guide your on-screen character (a bubble) through various caverns and caves, avoiding enemy creatures and unhelpful air currents. This is all controlled with simple swipes of the stylus that really give the impression of blowing an amorphous bubble through space.
This simplicity however, means that one run through of each level is enough to discover and collect most items and points. Other platform games, New Super Mario Brothers DS for example, do a better job of incentivising replaying each level and therefore extending the game's life.
As with other platform games, it's the thrill of progressing to a new level and the sense of connection to the characters that drives the gamer. Such is the directness and simplicity of Soul Bubble's controls, that you really get engrossed nudging your little bubble through each level.
Although they get longer as you progress, each level should fill no more than fifteen minutes. Combine this with the DS's ability to pause the action by simply closing the lid, and you have a game that easily fits into spare gaming moments in the day.
I found the greater concentration needed to succeed meant that an optimum of around three or four levels in one session was enough. This gives you long enough to get your eye in, without feeling like you need to conquer the world in one go.
As was true for Pac 'n Roll DS The controls of Soul Bubbles make it well suited for really young players. Earlier levels remain sedate enough for them to play alone. More experienced players will appreciate the different abilities you collect later on (such as dividing, joining and creating bubbles) which lead to more complex puzzles to be solved.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: