Puzzle Bobble 2
Image: Taito

Days after teasing its 2023 plans, Taito’s Puzzle Bobble series and Metal Black are coming to the Switch thanks to City Connection and its S-Tribute series (thanks, Gematsu!).

Puzzle Bobble 2X / BUST-A-MOVE 2 Arcade Edition & Puzzle Bobble 3 / BUST-A-MOVE 3 S-Tribute — a collection of both arcade and console versions of Puzzle Bobble 2 and 3 — and Metal Black S-Tribute — a rerelease of the classic side-scrolling shooter — are both coming to the Switch (and other consoles) digitally on 2nd February.

Let’s start out with Bub and Bob’s spin-off series (also knowns as Bust-A-Move). At the moment, you can pick up Puzzle Bobble 2 on the eShop thanks to the ACA NEOGEO, but this new collection bundles the classic arcade game with its sequel while including all re-releases of the game plus additional modes.

Here’s what to expect from the current front-runner for the longest-game title of 2023, Puzzle Bobble 2X / BUST-A-MOVE 2 Arcade Edition & Puzzle Bobble 3 / BUST-A-MOVE 3 S-Tribute:

Featured modes
– Arcade editions of Puzzle Bobble 2X / BUST-A-MOVE 2 Arcade Edition … Home console ports of the Japanese and overseas versions of the arcade games Puzzle Bobble 2 and Puzzle Bobble 2X (1 or 2 players).
– Arcade editions of Puzzle Bobble 3 / BUST-A-MOVE 3 … Home console ports of the Japanese and overseas versions of the arcade game Puzzle Bobble 3 (1 or 2 players).
– Challenge Mode … Meet certain conditions to clear stages (Puzzle Bobble 3 / BUST-A-MOVE 3).
– Collection Mode … Play a total of 1,026 stages designed by players from the time (Puzzle Bobble 3).
– Edit Mode … Place bubbles in the field to create your own stages (Puzzle Bobble 2X / BUST-A-MOVE 2 Arcade Edition).

Convenient features and option settings only available in S-Tribute
– Rewind – Rewind gameplay a by certain amount of time and resume.
– Slow Mode – Slow game pace down with a single button press.
– Quick Save/Load – Save game state at any point.
– Unlimited Credits – The limit on the number of continues can be disabled, allowing for infinite continues.
– Scan Lines – Mimics the nostalgic CRT monitor display.

Metal Black S-Tribute, then, is based on the 1996 console port. The original game was created by many of the people who worked on Gun Frontier, and was originally meant to serve as the third entry in the Darius series due to its dark, futuristic atmosphere.

Again, you can snap this up thanks to the Arcade Archives release already, but this City Connection release includes plenty of new features. Here’s what you can expect:

Power-ups
Level up your beam by grabbing the power-ups floating on screen called NEWALONE (round molecules colored red, blue, and yellow). There are five levels (the highest being MAX) to power up your shots.

When the beam gauge is full, you can perform beam energy attacks. However, the beam gauge will decrease with each of these attacks, and once it is empty the beam energy attack cannot be used.

There are two types of beam energy attacks
– Focused Beam: Makes a focused attack to the front while the energy shot button is pressed and held. When the beam gauge is at maximum, this will fire MAX lasers.
– Release Beam: When the beam gauge level is at MAX, pressing the energy shot button will fire an attack that damages all enemies.

The boss of each stage also launches beam energy attacks. When the beam from your ship collides with the beam from a boss, the interference creates a huge ball of energy, which moves from the side with a higher gauge to the side with a lower gauge.

Convenient features and option settings only available in S-Tribute
– Rewind – Rewind gameplay a by certain amount of time and resume.
– Slow Mode – Slow game pace down with a single button press.
– Quick Save/Load – Save game state at any point.
– Online Ranking – Switch to online ranking mode in settings to enter your score into the online leaderboards and check how you compare with others.

– Unlimited Credits – The limit on the number of continues can be disabled, allowing for infinite continues.
– Stage Select – The game can be started from any stage.
– Energy Acquisition Amount – Change the amount of energy increased when acquiring NEWALONE. Raising the amount makes it possible to easily reach maximum power and casually enjoy the game. Lowering the amount makes it harder to accumulate energy so that gameplay is more challenging.
– Energy Release Amount – Change the amount of energy decreased when performing a beam energy attack. Lowering the amount makes it possible to use the attack longer, raising the amount shortens the attack.

– Scan Lines – Mimics the nostalgic CRT monitor display.

Will you be picking up either of these rereleases next month? Burst your bubbles down in the comments below to let us know!