PAL box art
|Genre(s)||Puzzle, adventure, art game|
|Distribution||Nintendo DS game card|
Soul Bubbles is a puzzle video game for the Nintendo DS handheld console. It was developed by the French studio Mekensleep, and was published by Eidos Interactive in PAL regions and North America in 2008. It was released in Japan in 2009 by Interchannel under the title Awatama (あわたま?, lit. "Bubble Ball").
The core gameplay involves transporting "spirits" within protective bubbles through varying environments. Bubbles are moved by being blown by the main "spirit herder" character based on stylus strokes on the DS touch screen. Bubbles may be created, joined, split, deflate and burst using animal "masks", worn by the spirit herder, again using the touch screen. These mechanics are then used to navigate through levels featuring wind currents, enemies, water, fire, gases, spikes, sticky surfaces, and further complexities. At the same time there are collectible "stardust" items that contribute to the player's end-of-level score, and "calabash" that unlock additional levels.
The player has to complete each level by moving all the spirits to the Gateway Cube, where the souls will forever rest, while collecting stardust and Calabash.
The team responsible for final game design consists of Olivier Lejade and Omar Cornut, with the help of experienced game developer Frédérick Raynal. Raynal left the team in spring of 2006, to start working with Ubisoft. The game was initially released in North America exclusively through Toys "R" Us retail stores. In late 2008, a demo of the game was made available on the DS Download Service of the Wii Nintendo Channel.
The game has received generally favorable reviews, attaining 78/100 on review aggregator site Metacritic. N-Europe described it as a "wonderfully calming" game and feels like the "title the DS was built for". It was a nominee for several Nintendo DS-specific IGN awards, including Best Puzzle Game, Best New IP, and Most Innovative Design. It was nominated for the Game Developers Choice Awards "Best Debut" award and the BAFTA Video Game Awards "Handheld" category. It was number one on Gamasutra's 2008 top 5 overlooked games.
- Eidos announced Soul Bubbles, Retrieved on April 3, 2008
- IGN: Soul Bubbles, Retrieved on April 5, 2008
- Ecrans - Le stylet décoince la bulle (french website), Retrieved on April 7, 2008
- "Soul Bubbles Available Exclusively at Your Local Toys “R” Us Store" (Press release). IGN. June 26, 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Harris, Craig (December 1, 2008). "DS Download Service: December 1". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- Metacritic: Soul Bubbles Retrieved on June 20. 2008
- Lee, Mark (2008-08-14). "DS Review: Soul Bubbles". N-Europe. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "IGN DS: Best Puzzle Game 2008". IGN.com. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- "IGN DS: Best New IP 2008". IGN.com. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- "IGN DS: Most Innovative Design 2008". IGN.com. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
- "Game Choice Awards winners".
- "Bafta Video Games Awards Winners".