Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Winnie The Pooh is always getting into misadventures in his search for honey, and the bear in Buggle is no different. He may be armed with a cannon and a variety of cute costumes, but the game’s arbitrary difficulty means that his quest often ends in tears.
The puzzle game is very similar to Bubble Witch Saga, with players attempting to clear a board by matching groups of three or more bubbles of the same color. Victory in Buggle comes from causing all of the level’s bees to fall into your waiting honey pots by clearing all the bubbles above them.
There’s plenty getting in the way of this simple objective. Some bubbles contain trapped insects that will make your life more difficult, including a bee that tries to obstruct your shots, and ants that carry away some of your honey buckets, causing you to lose points. These clever elements force you to strategize, deciding when to pop the insects’ bubbles or figuring out how to avoid them altogether.
You have a limited number of bubbles to fire on each level, and you can only choose between two randomly generated bubbles at a time, which are sometimes the same color. It’s incredibly frustrating when you get down to your last handful of shots and lose a level because you just didn’t get the colors you needed. Worse still, the wrong colors are often a liability, since if you put them in the wrong place they can make the level more difficult or unwinnable. Fail enough times and you have to take a break to wait for your lives to refresh.
That’s where the game tries to get you to pay. It regularly reminds players that they can shell out for more bubbles or for a guide that will show you where your ricocheted bubbles will land when you fire them off the walls, a process that is otherwise based largely on luck and trial and error. Unless you pay up, Buggle isn’t challenging, it’s just infuriating.