Forum > Gaming Discussion > The Soul Still Burns on (DS) Soothe it with bubbles
The Soul Still Burns on (DS) Soothe it with bubbles
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Sat, 15 Nov 2008 19:38:31
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TRAILER



If you are European you can download the demo of this game on the Nintendo Channel. I did and it made me instantly order it. Firstly know that it released in June this year and received its fair share of rave reviews, AAA scores from many UK mags and sites. In the U.S it is a Toys R Us exclusive. The good thing is that you can get it really cheaply online and it is an absolute steal.



Firstly, it has the worst name and boxart I have ever seen, I assumed it was some puzzle game with Tetris like presentation and the title suggests it is some weird game with bright coloured bubbles that you pop with the touchscreen or something. The boxart makes it blend in with all the other crappy junk on the DS shop shelves. Do not be fooled by packaging this game is excellent.



You should have really watched the trailer by now. It's brilliantly simple to control and yet you need deft skill to make it through the levels. It has superb presentation that is really reminiscent of the WiiWare title, Lost Winds, from the softly lit forests to the mellow pipe music and underplayed effects. You play a Spirit herder, and the spirits are fragile and need to be transported inside a bubble. As a spirit herder you can blow the bubbles about the level with the touch screen and avoid various hazards. It has superlative controls, you use just the touch screen and D-pad. You can slash your bubbles to get them through small spots, rejoin the bubbles, create bubbles and deflate them or pop them.



There are tons of levels and clever design of the hazards. Each level has 3 mario 64 style star type objects to obtain, plus you are timed and rated on each level. So while there is no ticking timer, you will want to replay the levels to acheive higher rankings, from S-rank downwards.



Just when you think the game might be a one trick pony things notable step up in later levels, there is some really clever stuff, from bubbles filled with different heavy or light gases, berries that bounce off walls, to snow levels which turn your bubble into a boulder which you bound about the levels. I can't emphasis what a neat little title this is and it's defintely something you need to pick up given the price you can get it for. It's the kind of thing the DS was designed for.


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Sat, 15 Nov 2008 19:41:56
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Sat, 15 Nov 2008 22:48:51
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This year I have been really bad with DS games, too much on consoles so it had to go. In the future I will go on a DS playing spree.

That looks really good.
Edited: Sat, 15 Nov 2008 22:49:41
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Sun, 16 Nov 2008 00:09:11
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Yeah I haven't given any love to my DS in the longest time. There certainly are a good number of games that I'd like to get caught up on but the consoles have been hoarding my attention for quite awhile. Perhaps when the DSi comes out I'll pick up one of those and get a few games for it then.

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Sun, 16 Nov 2008 17:26:50
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You guys should watch the developer interview, it's got some great footage. The graphics are pretty special too, the bubble sort of morphs and squishes as you press it against things. You can create or split the bubbles on any part of the levels. The levels are huge and yet you can access pretty much any section at one time with really intuitive controls. You can bring down the map to the bottom screen and simply point with the stylus and pan around to what section you want to manipulate.


I turned it on in bed and when I checked the clock nearly two hours had gone by. Its a soothing game to play. It really does get more varied in the last four worlds, there are around 6 levels per world. Really nice Lost Winds type game, maybe better.

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Sun, 30 Nov 2008 14:35:45
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Bumped for I just discovered the NeoGAF epic thread about this game. Thanks to jarosh on NeoGAF:






soul bubbles is a puzzle adventure game for the ds developed by mekensleep. it's a charming, clever, incredibly addictive game, lovingly crafted with so much attention to detail, so much creativity; i fell in love immediately. it's my handheld goty 2008, possibly even my goty overall.

___________________________________________________________________________


the basic premise:

you're a young shaman and your mission is to lead 7 glowing spirits (or souls) to safety through maze-like levels in 8 different worlds. there's a total of 40 levels overall. you draw a bubble around your spirits and blow it towards the exit (with your stylus, not your mouth).


start and exit of each level:



___________________________________________________________________________


now, to reach your goal and to pass the many obstacles on your way you have three different masks at your disposal that can be equipped at any given time:




- the green one is the bird mask. it simply allows you to draw bubbles - as many as you want. hold the d-pad up or the x button to equip it.
- the orange one is the tiger mask. you use it to cut bubbles in half (allowing you to get through smaller cracks and the likes) or join a group of touching bubbles. hold the d-pad right or the a button to equip it.
- the pink one is the elephant mask. it helps you deflate bubbles when they're too big or get rid of them entirely. hold the d-pad left or the y button to equip it.

however, these masks aren't just there to help you guide the spirit bubble(s). you use them for puzzle solving, too. you can collect water and other things (i won't spoil them) in bubbles. you can cut through plants that keep your bubble hostage. you can deflate evil spiky fish to render them harmless... just a few examples of all the things you can do with your masks.

of course as long as you don't have a mask equipped, you use the stylus to blow your bubble in the desired direction:



___________________________________________________________________________


on your way through the levels there's two things to collect: stardust and calabash...



soul bubbles isn't a collect-a-ton. collecting stardust is pretty straightforward; following its path will lead you straight to the exit. there's still a handful of hidden stashes of stardust bits in every level though, so keep your eyes peeled if you wanna get them all.

there's 3 calabash in each level and they're usually hidden away in small tunnels, sometimes behind elaborate puzzles that lead away from the main path. don't worry though, you can always go back if you missed one and it's impossible to get stuck, no matter how large or convoluted the levels seem. keep an eye on your spirits; when you get close to a calabash they turn into glowing pink hearts. check every nook and cranny, check for small hidden tunnels covered by leaves, trees or bushes, check the environment for impossibly small cracks - that's where you'll find the calabash.

___________________________________________________________________________


defeating enemies is often a matter of touching, slicing or deflating. sometimes you need momentum to attack them, sometimes you need an actual weapon in form of a flower. you'll also find obstacles that need to be overcome or destroyed; there's a surprising amount of variety in how you do that.



___________________________________________________________________________


press and hold down on your d-pad to switch the two screens and bring down the map to the touch screen. you can move around freely on the map but you'll only see what you've discovered with the spirit bubble. this feature is very helpful for collecting stardust you might have missed on your way; simply draw a bubble around stardust bits that were left behind. and later on in the game when you need multiple bubbles to solve puzzles you'll find the map very useful as well.



___________________________________________________________________________


at the end of each level your performance gets ranked. if you get all the calabash, all the stardust and bring all the spirits home safely in a reasonable amount of time (the game is very forgiving with the time) you'll get an S rank. of course you can always go back and improve your rank.

___________________________________________________________________________


videos:

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/35095.html
^ this one's really nice. interview with the developers + lots of footage.

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/34924.html
^ neat video showing off the tiger mask

http://www.gametrailers.com/player/34706.html
http://www.gametrailers.com/player/34707.html
^ two short gameplay videos

___________________________________________________________________________


as you can probably see, soul bubbles is a gorgeous game. beautiful hand drawn 2d backgrounds, wonderfully animated enemies and environmental effects. the world in soul bubbles feels incredibly alive, with leaves blowing in the wind, plants and trees being affected by your movement, rain, waterfalls, fire, birds, butterflies, and fantastic looking and behaving physics for your bubbles and other things in the environment. the particle effects in soul bubbles are simply amazing. and there is so much attention to detail in how the worlds were designed - i was blown away over and over again. it's something you don't see a whole lot, people putting so much love and passion into their art design and technology in a game like this.

but that's all just sugar coating on top of the awesome gameplay and level design anyway. each world has its own theme that doesn't just come with a completely new design but with entirely new and unique gameplay mechanics (the worlds are based on shamanism in different cultures: celtic, mayan, inuit etc.). up until the last world the game has new mechanics to offer. sometimes they stay unique to a certain world and sometimes they are carried over to the next worlds. sometimes the gameplay changes completely in unexpected ways...

however, it's not only the worlds that are unique thematically and in the way you approach them. no, almost every level is distinctively different and fresh. it's simply amazing how much thought was put into the level design, the placement of obstacles, enemies and collectibles. and then of course there's the puzzles: they're never frustrating and their setup and solution always puts a smile on your face. there is so much creativity at play here, so much passion for even the tiniest detail; at times i was reminded of mario galaxy.

but enough rambling!

go buy SOUL BUBBLES and support a small developer that really deserves it!

___________________________________________________________________________


soul bubbles was released in europe on june 13.

looks like at the moment it's only available through toys'r'us in the us
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index...ductId=3163607
it's in stock though and only $29

amazon.com lists a wide release for december 3.

play-asia lists it as a pre-order for "july".

___________________________________________________________________________


http://www.soulbubblesgame.com/

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Mon, 01 Dec 2008 03:50:50
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Okay, I finally got around to watching some videos of this and it looks awesome.

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Mon, 01 Dec 2008 20:00:22
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It is really cool and has some great tech behind the game, but as a Neo guy said it's completely unobstrusive, as it should be. It's the kind of game that you can instantly love based on 30 mins play. It's so cheap now too, a sleeper game that really needs attention. The developer videos show a lot of stuff off, but some asswad in the comments section said it was G*Y. What a turd.

For me, this is a game that stands toe to toe with my other DS favourites and that says a lot. It's the kind of thing that can really only work with the interface, it's tactile, clever, soothing and fun. And you start off thinking its a one trick pony but then it opens up with some cool concepts later to make things well worth it.

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Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:09:57
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GG, I've just played the demo and this game rocks, my DS has been starved of attention and this is exactly the type of game I wanted.

Lovely graphics, physics, controls are a dream and the music is relaxing, I'm ordering now.

Thanks for the recommendation, I would've totally missed this had it not been for this recommendation.

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Sun, 07 Dec 2008 19:47:02

I played the demo and I loved it so much I replayed it 4 times and spent about 40 minutes on it, on the toilet Nyaa

Then I saw that you could pick it up for £12 online and that it had good reviews too. A couple of weeks later I spotted the GAF thread which is 5 pages long now. I love this game, it has top notch production values on top of clever design and it's really intuitive. You worry at first that it's going to be too repetive but the game has some tricks up its sleeves in later worlds. It's quite a special little game.

I'm so glad that there are demos on the nintendo channel, did anyone try the prince of persia DS game? They had the right idea, but it's far too unresponsive and the visuals lack any sort of finesse or charm.

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Mon, 08 Dec 2008 13:23:59

gamingeek said:

I played the demo and I loved it so much I replayed it 4 times and spent about 40 minutes on it, on the toilet Nyaa

Then I saw that you could pick it up for £12 online and that it had good reviews too. A couple of weeks later I spotted the GAF thread which is 5 pages long now. I love this game, it has top notch production values on top of clever design and it's really intuitive. You worry at first that it's going to be too repetive but the game has some tricks up its sleeves in later worlds. It's quite a special little game.

I'm so glad that there are demos on the nintendo channel, did anyone try the prince of persia DS game? They had the right idea, but it's far too unresponsive and the visuals lack any sort of finesse or charm.

lol I played the demo twice, such a cool little game!

I'm glad there are more demos on the download channel, I played through most of them yesterday, Picross is pretty cool and there's an Ace Attourney download as well which I'm going to try out.  I tried POP and it sucked IMO, I wasn't feeling it at all and the controls were lacking, it also looked like something that would get boring fast.

I hope they keep adding to the channel, the downloads are helping me get my DS back!


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Mon, 08 Dec 2008 20:52:20

I have Apollo Justice, in rank it's the 3rd best with PW2 at the bottom - yet still enjoyable.

I had the same impression of POP, Leo has a thread on it. They should really have more demos than the tiny amount they have.

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Fri, 12 Dec 2008 13:59:01


http://www.britishgaming.co.uk/?p=2037

Bubbles is a particularly organic puzzler, not operating on any confining grid or bound by a strict rule set, allowing your bubble to gracefully dance through the environment, tenuously squeezing against mushroomoid buttons and catching on nuisance vines as it grudgingly tugs in futility.

The game holds obvious comparisons to WiiWare’s debut hit, LostWinds. Watercolour backdrops set to a minimalistic, ethereal score; nudging puffs and gracious sweeps from the consoles’ respective inputs; and a symbiotic relationship between protagonists.

While LostWinds asked players to schizophrenically control both Toku’s direct movements and the wind’s path, Soul Bubbles’ spirits ride silently in their protective shell, only pulsating with energy to alert nearby collectables or threats.

The apprentice, on the other hand, tirelessly pushes and directs the bubble with oversized blows to the point of exhaustion, donning masks to cut and deflate the bulbous carriers and penning new spheres when needed.

Yet, despite his extensive repertoire of moves and techniques, rapid utilisation or complete mastery is rarely needed. Enemies are few and far between, traps bare little challenge and there a no time limit breathing down your neck. Soul Bubbles is refreshingly relaxing, but a lack of challenge habitually breeds apathy.


Where Soul Bubbles shines brightest though, is its excellent puzzle design. Your tools won’t exclusively affect your bubble (allowing you to cut bothersome plants or deflate puffer fish) and your fresh globules can encase more than just spirits (catching water or unstable gasses in animation). Bubbles is a relaxation for your fingers, but a cognitive pressure on your brain.

Alongside LostWinds, Bubbles has strong similarities to LocoRoco (with its gelatinous substances, multicellular in structure), Yoshi’s Island (where your direct control is an auxiliary buffer to the cargo) and World of Goo (another organic puzzler without grids and firm rules).

Despite the game’s quality, critical acclaim and heritage (especially with consultation from Alone in the Dark and Little Big Adventure creator, Frédérick Raynal), the game has made a tiny dent on 2008 with few hardcore DS players taking notice and few sales (the game didn’t hit charts in the UK).

Soul Bubbles is a beautifully constructed game, artfully devious in its puzzles yet relatively tranquil in its challenge. An astounding attention to detail is paid in its serene graphics (complete with falling autumn leaves and tiny flowers, petals shedding with each vagrant puff) and unassuming score, yet the opulent backdrops never interfere with gameplay.

Mekensleep’s delightful platformer regretfully failed to earn the recognition it deserved this year. Don’t leave 2008 without trying it, the game can be yours for a miniscule £7.94 at Amazon.

Edited: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 13:59:57

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Fri, 08 May 2009 18:46:05

So the game has had a slight redesign for japan. Extreme new character:

http://www.true-gaming.net/tgupload/images2/090508105662bc62ae57b28377.jpg

http://www.true-gaming.net/tgupload/images2/0905081056d6dec45dfa7ee907.jpg

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Fri, 08 May 2009 18:50:49
i think i like the japanese design a little bit better.  i should get back to this game some time.  only got as far as the 3rd world

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Sat, 09 May 2009 14:17:46
Extreme hair? Nah. 

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Fri, 31 Jul 2009 11:08:48

http://www.destructoid.com/soul-bubbles-mickey-mouse-and-the-journey-of-the-self-141105.phtml

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In a recent issue of my recurring offbeat gaming news recap, The Obscurer Tribune, I mentioned in passing that I’d finally gotten around to trying out DS action-puzzler Soul Bubbles. If you haven’t played it yourself, it’s similar in basic concept to LocoRoco, insofar as the overarching goal is to get a blobby thing from one end of each stage to the other. that factoid alone was enough to make me wary of the title for quite some time, though the off-putting box art and the fact that it was released as a Toys ‘R’ Us exclusive (if there’s any better way to scream “cheap casual shovelware” I haven’t found it) didn’t make me any more curious. Finally, though, after gradually perceiving drips and drabs of praise around the internet and eventually encountering this article on the front page, I finally decided to swallow hard and see for myself what the bugger had to offer – ten measly bucks later (for a brand new store-bought copy, mind you) the game was in my DS, and as of this writing has not yet left it.

More at the link

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Tue, 29 Dec 2009 21:39:28

Was playing last night and I remembered how only Bugs and Leo have played this.

It's cheap as hell. What can I do to get people to try this sucker?

Let me make it clear:

APART FROM GTA CHINATOWN WARS AND MAYBE PHANTOM HOURGLASS THIS IS THE BEST GAME ON THE SYSTEM, FULL STOP.

Edited: Tue, 29 Dec 2009 21:40:07

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 00:04:55
Buy me a DS, and I'll be happy to try it.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009 01:37:49
Oh drats! I came in here thinking I'm going to find out about a SoulCalibur DS game and I get a bubble game instead!

Game looks good though.

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Now Playing: Golden Sun Dark Dawn, God of War Ghost of Sparta, and DKC Returns

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