War isn't pretty and it's not meant to be. There's no room for sentiment - it's kill or be killed out there, and unless you're careful you'll soon be overrun by enemy troops spreading through your lines like wildfire.
But before you think you're reading a review of the new Call Of Duty game, let us stop for a second and explain to you that the war we speak of isn't being fought on the battlefields of the Somme or the beaches of Normandy, but rather it's raging across roundabouts, car parks, and other everyday settings. This is, after all, no ordinary war. This is Bubble Revolt.
Makers Herocraft describe Bubble Revolt as a cross between a puzzle game and a real-time strategy battle, and we're inclined to agree. Playing as a team of blue bubbles, your objective is to colonise a battlefield made of squares with as many bubbles of your colour as possible. With a style of gameplay that's reminiscent of Reversi, you can multiply your forces by splitting a bubble in two and occupying the adjacent square with the offspring, or remaining whole and jumping to a square that's further away. Either way, opposing coloured bubbles on adjacent squares are turned to your colour, thus increasing your army as you try to take over the board.
Unlike Reversi, though, the levels are of varying shapes and sizes, and the number of opponents ranges from one to three, each getting as many turns as you to try to take over the screen. The game has a total of 50 levels, or so we're told - if we'd more time we'd have made it past level 34, honest. But Bubble Revolt is so accessible that anyone can have a go - and probably do better than us to boot - and have a great time playing.
Crucially, you won't be able to resist playing levels again and again until you conquer them, and, believe us, it's oh so satisfying when you finally do. The great thing about the level design is that tactics that work on one level can be completely useless on the next, so you have to constantly reassess your surroundings and strategy every time you play.
The visuals and audio are equally well-executed for a simple puzzle game. All of the levels are fresh and brightly coloured, and the animation of the bubbles as they jump, multiply, or indeed just get bored when you take too long to move is quite impressive. The cutesy graphical style may not be to everyone's taste, but we think it does a good job of making this game appealing to fans of several different genres.
The ability to record a replay of your triumph is a novel inclusion, and it's particularly useful if a friend is struggling on a level, just to rub salt into his wounds by showing them how you pulled off a stunning majority victory in under three minutes.
It would be better still if you could somehow send that video to their phone as an MMS message, but seeing as that's our one major suggestion for improving Bubble Revolt, we're not going to complain. Vive le revolution!
8 / 10