Two key developers have burst the bubble (pun totally intended) on the bubble shooter genre on Facebook: King.com and Zynga. Both of their respective games in the category, Bubble Safari and Bubble Witch Saga, are two of the most popular games on Facebook in terms of daily players, according to AppData.
With that, we've decided to settle the score here and now in this week's Facebook Game Face-off. Which is the better bubble shooter? We'll tell you what we think based on three key criteria, but ultimately this decision is up to you, the players. In one corner we have the storied Bubble Witch Saga, while in the other we have the new and scrappy Bubble Safari. Ready ... fight!
The Lights and Sounds
Bubble Witch Saga--for a game all about witches, magic and conjuring up special potions--is more low key than its new found challenger. There isn't much fanfare to making matches or finishing levels save for lightning bolts or flares of magic when players complete the final level of a world. That said, there are far more options for players to improve their game through Charms and Potions in King.com's game than Zynga's. (Plus, way more are permanent solutions rather than one-off purchases.)
Zynga's bubble shooter has way more going on in any given level than the competition, especially in later stages with beehives, bubble-spitting Spawners and more. There's more feedback to players' actions in terms of sound and animation. However, the game's power-ups aren't as permanent as its opposition--we'd much rather spend $10 to use a power-up all the time than pay up $1 or $2 repeatedly. But nothing beats the satisfaction of blowing stuff up in On Fire mode.
Bubble-busting Buddies Forever
Social was a more visual spectacle in Bubble Witch Saga than bubble shooters had seen before, placing friends on the game board as if they were pieces. Rather than simply share gifts with friends, which you can still do, King.com made passing friends and helping them succeed a more literal experience. However, other than these two achievements, there's isn't much else about Bubble Witch Saga that's terribly social.
Bubble Safari, taking notes from its predecessors, went one step further to make friends feel more like an integral part of the play experience. That's thanks to Friend Bubbles. Once daily, players can use special bubbles that are tied to their friends. Say neither of the bubbles in your chamber are what you need to make that last match and get On Fire. Just pluck a friend's bubble and make it happen. One extra step can make all the difference.
A Jolly Good Show
Shooting bubbles to make a witches' brew is fine fun in its own right. The visuals in Bubble Witch Saga are downright adorable, and it takes considerable skill to earn a three-star rating in every level of the game. However, just as the visuals are low key in this game, so is the pacing--the action, if you will. Bubble Witch Saga is more for the cerebral bubble blaster than one that just wants to blow things up.
Bubble Safari certainly takes a level of strategy on par with its competitor, but this game is more about getting to the next On Fire mode than anything else. That alone makes Zynga's bubble shooter more explosive and faster-paced than the rest. Players can sit around and plan out every shot down to the angle all they want, but they know that it isn't just for the high score. It's to see more bubbles burst into flame to trumpets and destruction of the play field.
Hate to Burst Your Bubble, But...
In this Facebook Game Face-off, we're going to have to side with Bubble Safari. King.com's Bubble Witch Saga is undoubtedly an entertaining and blissfully challenging game, but it's missing the excitement, the glitz and glamor that arcade games on Facebook should be all about. Bubble Safari has that in spades with exciting music and explosive power-ups while retaining some of the strategy of its predecessors. But enough of what we think...
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