The popular dragons Bub and Bob are back! Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is the latest game in the legendary Bubble Bobble series from Taito.

Play alone or with up to 3 friends in couch co-op mode and jump your bubble dragons through 100 levels to defy the wicked magician Bonner and his henchmen. The bubbles don't just let you trap your opponents, either – your dragons can also jump on them to reach higher platforms.

Collect E-X-T-E-N-D bubbles to activate and upgrade skills, such as lightning and bomb bubbles. Develop countless new strategies to travel through the worlds and take advantage of air currents.
The original Bubble Bobble arcade game from 1986 is also included, which captured the hearts of players around the world and still has fans humming its title melody today.

A celebration for fans and fun for the whole family!

Features:
Single-Player Mode
up to 4 players in cooperative play
100 Stages, 5 Bosses
Skill system - learn and upgrade special skills
includes legendary Bubble Bobble arcade game from 1986 (with 2-player co-op mode)
Bubble Bobble Arcade
The beginning of a fantastic story

The gaming heroes of the 1980s are born in the arcade - they are the protagonists of videogame machines that come to life on flickering TV tubes through the insertion of a coin. Or rather - this is a recognized video game standard - they come to three lives, which are usually lost too fast, so coin after coin ends up in the machine. In order for this to happen and for an arcade game to become popular and successful, it must meet certain requirements: The controls must be intuitive, the game mechanics self-explanatory, and the course of the game motivating. The sound must burn itself into the ear and the hero into the heart of the player. In 1986 Bubble Bobble achieves all this - and a few more things that have been unusual for the arcade to date. The result: The machine and its countless conversions and sequels become legendary, its heroes immortal.

The heroes are Bub and Bob, two incredibly cute mini dinosaurs who are actually the two boys Bubblun and Bobblun, enchanted by the evil beluga whale Baron of Blubba. To regain their human form - and their Baron-abducted girlfriends Patty and Betty - they must traverse a hundred enemy-riddled caves and hunt down a grim, brandy-bottle-throwing end boss. What at first looks like an imaginative, yet quite typical jump'n'run game of the arcade era, soon proves to be a unique, clever and highly motivating skill test. Fukio Mitsuji, who designs the game for the Japanese arcade pros and Space Invaders makers Taito, wants to come up with brand new, equally thrilling and cheerful gameplay. And so he invents the eponymous mechanics: The cute heroes spit bubbles, which wrap the opponents and let them float - a targeted jump, and the bubbles burst, whereby the knocked out victims swirl across the screen and turn into bonus objects, which are swiftly collected for points. Besides, the bubbles floating upwards can also be used as an aid to traverse the screen-sized levels: They can't carry the weight of the dinosaurs, but by jumping on them the player can reach higher areas.

Surprising new level-architectures (which can also turn a huge heart or a Space Invaders reference into a playing field), tempting collectibles from bananas to tartlets to diamonds, a dozen imaginative opponents as well as special bubbles, which release fire, lightning or a flood of water when bursting, already provide a lot of variety and motivation. However, a few innovative tricks make Bubble Bobble a title that is still played more persistently and discussed more intensively than most other exponents of the glamorous arcade era. Fukio Mitsuji, for example, was one of the first arcade machine designers to focus on cooperative play: Instead of fighting each other, two players jump through the levels simultaneously, supporting each other on their way to the final. Of course, Bubble Bobble can also be defeated alone with the green Dino Bub, but blue Bob appears at the beginning of each and every level with a shield that prompts player 2 to insert coins and join in. And after the lonely defeat of the final boss the player experiences an almost nasty surprise: "Congratulations, but that's not the real end", it says, and "Never forget your friend". Only when Bub and Bob reach the final together will both girlfriends be freed and the boys be released from their dinosaur form. There is even a third, even better ending, which can be achieved by completing a "Super Mode", which requires deciphering a secret code after the first play. In terms of depth and complexity, Bubble Bobble far surpasses the jump'n'run competition - and not just the 1980s one.

Nintendo Switch users will soon be able to experience how fresh and clever Bubble Bobble still plays: On November 19 the sequel Bubble Bobble 4 Friends will be released, featuring the original game in perfect arcade quality. But also brand new, even more imaginative bubble action - in the form of a hundred fresh levels in which up to four players can have a blast at the same time!


Stephan Freundorfer

Bubble Bobble
33 years of videogame history

The adventures of Bub and Bob aren't reserved for arcade gamers for long: In the year after the Bubble Bobble debut of 1986, conversions are already released for home computers and consoles such as C64 and NES - to date some 20 different platforms have been supplied with the stunning bubble action.

Designer Fukio Mitsuji doesn't rest on his laurels for long, however, but relies on innovation and uniqueness for the successor: Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2 is the name of his creation, which is released to the arcade as early as 1987 and soon gets converted to countless computers and consoles. Bubby and Bobby, as the heroes in their now human form are called, shoot rainbows instead of bubbles to fight insect monsters and climb vertically scrolling levels.

The cute, colourful graphic style and the fresh, clever game mechanics of Rainbow Islands imply its affinity with Bubble Bobble. But the fans of Bub and Bob will have to wait a few more years for the direct continuation of the bubble-hopper. It isn't until 1994 that Taito brings a real Part 2 entitled Bubble Symphony to the arcade and later to Sega's Saturn console. The two well-known dragons are joined by the girls Kululun and Cororon, who are also transformed into cuddly lizards. Compared to Bubble Bobble, the changes in the game mechanics are only subtle: The four dragons differ slightly in their abilities (for example, Bob runs fastest, Kululun shoots furthest), there are more boss fights and the shot can be charged to fire three bubbles at the same time.

Three years earlier the adventures of Bubby and Bobby are continued for the last time: The Story of Bubble Bobble 3 is the subtitle of the cult classic Parasol Stars, which is released on a handful of consoles and computers and in which the two boys are now equipped with umbrellas instead of rainbows. However, Bubble Bobble's arcade story doesn't end until 1996 with Bubble Memories, which once again subtly but skilfully varies the tried and tested bubble shooting and bouncing. The most significant change is a Super Bubble, which allows Bub and Bob to enclose huge or already captured opponents for massive chain reactions and loads of points.

Although the video game industry finally outgrows the arcade during the 1990s, the history of the Bubble Bobble series is far from over. New variations and episodes of Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands appear in the following years, especially for handheld consoles such as Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable, and owners of Wii and Xbox 360 can also have fun with Bub and Bob. After ten years of relative calm, the two dragons are now returning with some of their friends for a true sequel to the legendary game series: Bubble Bobble 4 Friends will be released exclusively for Nintendo Switch on November 19 and will take - 33 years after its debut - the eternal bubble fight into a new era!


Stephan Freundorfer

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