Elemental Bubbles HD is a Windows Phone puzzle game where you have to trigger a chain reaction between elemental bubbles that clears the screen of all the bubbles. The game challenges your skills at strategic planning with a game clock that adds a sense of urgency.
Elemental Bubbles HD is available for low-memory Windows Phones and has three difficulty levels that are progressively unlocked as you master the each difficultly level. After playing Elemental Bubbles HD for the past few days, it comes across as a entertaining, somewhat casual puzzle title for your Windows Phone gaming library.
Elemental Bubbles HD has a minimal main menu with options to jump into game play, visit the gaming options and view the online leaderboard. Options are limited to sound and music levels as well as viewing the gaming credits.
You begin game play with the easy difficulty level and a short tutorial that explains the game's logic and mechanics. The game board will have a series of colored bubbles that represent various elements that include fire (two types), water, earth and wind. There is a pecking order with the elements where one will destroy the other. For example, water defeats fire.
You will need to tap one of the elements for it to explode and send shrapnel into the neighboring elemental bubbles to make them explode. The goal is to create a chain reaction amongst the bubbles so that all are cleared from the screen. If you ever lose sight of the hierarchy of the elements, in the upper right corner of the gaming screen is a map of the elements that, when tapped, will pull up a help screen.
To add to the challenge of Elemental Bubbles HD there is a game clock. To be fair, the game clock time will vary depending on the number of bubbles each puzzle has. For example, if you only have three bubbles, look for about eight seconds to figure out the pattern. A dozen or more bubbles will yield you twenty or thirty seconds.
Elemental Bubbles HD will afford you five lives per game. If you choose the wrong bubble to begin the chain reaction, which results in bubbles remaining in play, you will lose a life.
Should you get stumped and need a little help, a few bonus buttons that appear at the bottom of the gaming screen. You have a button that,
- Will explode all the bubbles, saving you the trouble
- Reveal which bubble to tap first
- Slow down the clock to afford you just a little more time to figure things out
These buttons do come at a price and periodically throughout the game coins will appear that can be collected (by tapping on them) and used to pay for these bonuses.
There is scoring with Elemental Bubbles HD. The quicker you solve the puzzle, the more points you earn for that level. When you lose all your lives and the game ends, you will have the opportunity to submit your score to the online leaderboard.
Oh… it does deserve mentioning that there is a Challenge mode available with Elemental Bubbles HD. This mode will cost you a few of your game coins to participate in and while there isn't a clear explanation of the mode, it comes across as a survival game to see how long you can last before failing a puzzle. In playing this mode, a lot of coins appear and it's easy to re-coup the five coins it costs to play even if you don't make it very far with game play.
I have to admit, the more I played Elemental Bubbles HD the more the game grew on me. As the cliché goes, Elemental Bubbles HD is an easy game to pick up but difficult to master.
The only nit (and it's a small one) that I have is that if you run out of lives and start the game up again, you begin at the ground level. It does add to the pressure of the game but it can get a little frustrating. To advance to the next difficulty level, you have to complete 24 levels of play at the current difficulty level. It can get rather depressing to get to level 24 and lose your last life.
Just remember to collect coins as they appear and use your bonus items instead of taking a chance when you are on your last life.
Overall, Elemental Bubbles HD comes across as a fun puzzle game. It is a free, ad-supported game for your Windows Phone with both ad banners and the occasional full-screen ad popping up. I have to give the developer credit in that while I hate the full-screen ads, these ads do not pop up as frequently as other games that use this method of ad support.
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George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.