Thursday, March 5, 2009

Midnight Snack: Bubble Cannon

Look at all the bubbles! It's so soothing. This evening I find myself preoccupied with Bubble Cannon, a “relaxing bubble popping physics game” – as described by its creator, Gaz, who also made a previous Snack, Super Stacker 2.

Imagine a Bust-a-Move where the bubbles don’t stick where they are shot.  Instead, they float around, bumping into each other and ever so slowly falling to the ground.  Now, these bubbles are, of course, of varying colors and will pop after bumping into a like-colored bubble three times.  Should a bubble reach the spike-covered ground, you lose.  Pop as many as you can before this happens.

The genius of the game lies in its physics.  Now, are they sophisticated?  No.  But there’s a simple and consistent logic to the floating and bouncing of the bubbles.  Often, success lies in playing a kind of game of nine-ball: shooting a green bubble at a red bubble which then bumps a yellow into another yellow for the pop.

The game can be, as Gaz claims, quite relaxing in the early stages – the soothing music (a well-chosen track composed by ihuman) plays, the bubbles drift slowly, and failure feels impossible.  But if you overload the screen and bubbles start ricocheting down to the spikes, tension mounts. 

Because it lacks pre-programmed stages (all bubbles onscreen are generated during the course of play), there’s endless replay value.  You can’t run out of levels when the only level is the one you design as you play.  If you’re having trouble with the game, sessions can go pretty quickly.  But if you’re awesome, you could theoretically keep it going forever.  Either way, relax and enjoy this refreshing interpretation of a classic.