Line Up Three of a Kind and Watch the Bubblees Pop in this Two Player Puzzler | Casual Game Revolution

Line Up Three of a Kind and Watch the Bubblees Pop in this Two Player Puzzler

Bubblee Pop

Match three games are a popular mobile app genre — but Bubblee Pop turns the experience into a board game.

With both two-player rules and a solo mode, the game is very much a puzzle with a little luck thrown in. So how does it do at capturing the spirit of the match three games?


The board is set up in the center of the table. There is a planet at either end of the board, with each having five rows of five spaces for bubblees. In between the two planets is the sky area, which has two rows of five spaces. Each planet begins the game with three to five black bubblees (depending on the difficulty you choose during set up), and the sky is filled with two bubblees of each of the five other colors.

On your turn you draw bubblees from the bag to fill any empty spaces in the sky. Then you may swap the positions of any two bubblees in the sky that are horizontally or vertically adjacent to each other. You then choose two adjacent bubblees to fall from the sky to your planet below. Bubblees are considered to be pulled by gravity so you could not, for example, choose two bubblees that are on the row which is closer to your opponent, as there would be bubblees between them and your planet blocking the way. But you could choose one from the row nearest you and the one above it in the column, on the second row.

When bubblees fall down to your planet, they remain in their current columns and fall down to the lowest, empty space in those columns. If you create a line of three or more bubblees of the same color, vertically or horizontally, you remove them from your planet (and any bubblees of matching color adjacent to them) and place them in your score pile. If there were bubblees in your planet’s columns above them, this will cause them to fall down into the newly empty spaces, which can in turn result in a chain reaction of multiple groups of bubblees being moved to your score pile.

Finally, you check the color of each group of bubblees you moved to your score pile that turn and activate their special ability. For example, purple allows you move a bubblee from your planet onto your opponent’s, while green allows you to swap the locations of any two adjacent bubblees on your planet.

Black bubblees may only be removed from your planet by the use of special abilities, and act as blockers while on your planet.

The game ends once there are not enough bubblees in the bag to refill the sky. Players then score one point for each bubblee in their score pile and the player with the most points wins the game. Alternatively, if a player’s planet is ever full and there is no valid way for that player to drop two bubblees from the sky onto her planet, she immediately loses the game.

In the solo mode, you set up your side of the board and the sky as normal. You then place bubblees on the other planet in one of the twenty unique patterns given in the rule book. The goal of the game is to empty the other planet of all the non-black bubblees. You play as normal, following the gameplay rules of the two player game — however, whenever you make a match of three bubblees, in addition to the special ability activating, you may also send one of the matching bubblees over to the other planet (if you matched four or more bubblees you may send two) before placing the others in your score pile.

Bubblee Pop Components


It is always interesting to see a game take a mechanism often associated with video games and turn it into a board game experience. Bubblee Pop does a great job of turning match three into a table top experience that feels smooth and natural.

The two player gameplay gas a great puzzle element, trying to clear your planet and line up future moves, while also ensuring there is just enough player interaction. You are always keeping an eye on your opponent’s planet, trying to prevent them from setting up their own combos, and many of the bubblee abilities have a take-that element to them.

Teaching the game is fairly straight forward. Learning which bubblee colors have which abilities is the only thing that can take a little while to learn. The puzzle at the core of the game is intuitive and scoring is simple.

There has also been a lot of thought put into the solo mode, with each of the twenty planet set ups varied and offering a steady increase in difficulty. The solo mode is quite satisfying to play in its own right, and does not feel tacked on, but fits naturally with the game mechanics.

The components are a really nice quality. The bubblees are large and thick and have a nice solidity to them. The artwork is bright and colorful, with the board being double-sided and offering different artwork for the planets (this is a purely cosmetic difference and doesn’t alter gameplay, but is still a nice touch). There is a printed guide inside the box for the different bubblee abilities, so you don’t always have to refer to the rulebook. This helps a lot in solo play but for two players it would have been a little tidier to include player aid cards.

If you enjoy a good puzzler, Bubblee Pop is quite satisfying. There is just enough luck in what bubblees are drawn from the bag to keep the game a little unpredictable and challenging, and it has two thoroughly enjoyable game modes.

Pros: Two fun game modes, a little bit of luck mixed in with the puzzle elements, component quality

Cons: No player aid cards makes learning the abilities slow work initially

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.