Ever since Pac-Man became the first hit video game character in 1980, he's appeared not just in traditional Pac-Man games but in a wide variety of other titles. PAC-MAN Pop - Bubble Shooter is one of these spinoff games, a conventional bubble shooter in the style of games like Puzzle Bobble, but with a cute, colourful Pac-Man theme. Although it's not exactly groundbreaking, this is a simple, diverting game with enough variety to keep it entertaining for a reasonable period.
Bursting your bubbles
If you've ever played another bubble puzzle game, the basics of PAC-MAN Pop - Bubble Shooter will seem familiar. You're presented with a mass of bubbles of different colours. At the bottom of the screen are two bubbles for you to choose from; tap and hold to aim, bouncing your bubble off the walls if necessary. If you bring your bubble into contact with two or more bubbles of the same colour, all the bubbles of that colour touching them will pop. Different levels have different goals -- you may have to free animals stuck to the bubbles or hit a ghost target surrounded by a ring of bubbles. Defeating levels will earn you coins to spend on lives and power-ups.
Adding some twists
As the game goes on, more complexity starts to appear. The introductory level has only two colours, but more and more colours of bubble will appear as the game progresses. In addition, hazards such as spiked bubbles will make it more challenging to hit your targets. Drop large numbers of bubbles and you'll earn combo multipliers that help raise your score. As the game goes on, the target in the ghost levels gets smaller and smaller, making it trickier to hit.
To compensate for these more difficult levels, you'll gain access to some power-ups. These give you abilities such as the rainbow bubble, which matches the colour of any bubble it touches, or bombs that destroy all bubbles within a certain radius. Like extra lives, power-ups can be bought using in-game currency. Since this is a mobile free-to-play app, in-game currency can of course be bought with actual currency. Although you can also spend currency to buy lives, the steady refresh rate -- a new life every 30 minutes -- means that there isn't much point. Save your money for the power-ups that will help you crack more difficult levels.
A fun way to waste a few minutes
PAC-MAN Pop - Bubble Shooter is just what it says it is: a Pac-Man themed bubble puzzle game. If you've played any other games of this type, you know what to expect. That doesn't mean it isn't fun, though -- it's just challenging enough not to be boring, but not difficult enough to feel unfair. Played over a long period, it would probably get repetitive, but it's a fun way to while away a few minutes here and there.