Soul Bubbles

Preview: Sounds like a 1980s hair product (but isn't)

If you've ever played Loco Roco1 on the PSP, you'll have a fair idea where this unusual action puzzle game is coming from.

But some extended playing time with Soul Bubbles left us convinced that it's more than just a DS update of an existing concept.

The aim is to transport a group of glowing 'souls' through hazard-packed levels by encasing them in bubbles and wafting them in the right direction on the breeze.

Thankfully you don't have to actually blow into the microphone - it's all controlled with the stylus, and the bubble and wind physics give it a suitably organic feel.

I'm forever blowing bubbles


Drawing around the souls creates a bubble, and gently swiping across the screen generates a current of air to push it around the area you're in.

The bubble can be deflated slightly to help it squeeze through small gaps or pumped up extra big to push switches.

In addition, you can divide it into smaller bubbles when necessary and reassemble them so they don't get lost - stray bubbles will fall victim to the creatures that inhabit the mazes.

You play a godlike figure in the game, influencing the action from afar and disposing of monsters whenever they get too close.

Once you get the hang of the indirect control method, it's possible to make surprisingly precise movements.

There are some tricky secret areas to find, tucked away at the end of convoluted passages inside the scenery.

That's another Loco Roco touch, but the floaty sense of weightlessness is totally unique to Soul Bubbles.

It's a pretty good looking game on DS, the elastic bubbles blending well with the hand-drawn backdrops.

Hopefully the finished product will have enough content to make it more than just an interesting, relaxing diversion.

There will be around 40 levels and a lot of secret stuff to find.