September 29th, 2009 | By Mike Gnade
Soaped UP Air is a fun and simple game, but one that is ultimately too lacking in depth to be worth the trouble. It’s not that the game is bad; everything that’s in the game is solid. But I doubt even Miyamoto could make blowing bubbles around obstacles fun for more than five minutes. I have to give proper respect though, to this game’s fantastic soundtrack that perfectly captures the theme of the game.
Soaped Up Air sounds like a NPR newscast, and is about as fun, depending on how you feel about Terri Gross. The physics engine plays well enough, but I can’t think of a lamer protagonist than a bubble. As you guide your avatar through obstacles intent on ruining the fizzy fun, an understated score keeps any mirth in check, but remains a welcome addition. Soaped Up Air is definitely polished, with language selection, time attack and high score modes, but no keyboard support makes it a nightmare for laptops. Apparently later levels shoot you into space and snow regions, where you face black holes and angry wind currents, but I clocked out once I gained control of multiple bubbles. Good for a rainy afternoon, but hell, it’s summer! With all the fresh-faced Monkey Islands running around, do you really want play with bubbles?
Soaped up Air is certainly a creative and unique game. The goal is to blow a soap bubble from point A to point B. Why? No reason. The game suffers from mediocre graphics and low production values. It doesn’t help that Okashi Itsumo’s (the developer) English is riddled with errors. The game plays pretty well, but it’s production and overall value make it impossible to recommend at $10.
Soaped Up Air is one of those games that most will love and the rest will find it bash-your-head-against-the-keyboard boring. You play the role of a cute little soap bubble that, for whatever reason, is trying to get from point A to B without popping. Sounds simple, but, like always, there are obstructions blocking your way.
You propel the bubble by using your mouse, which acts as a fan to push the bubble in the direction you want it to go while avoiding anything dangerous. You’re given the ability to recharge your bubble’s health but, of course, it doesn’t do you much good when it’s pressed between two hard objects (spoiler: that kills your bubble).
Hiding behind the cutesy exterior and awkward typographical errors lay the surprisingly complex mechanics of the game. You’re able to control multiple bubbles at the same time, allowing them to either move with your bubble or in the opposing direction to help offset the many traps within each presented level. Your poor bubble will probably be destroyed several times while you attempt to work out the best solution to each puzzle, but the ends justify the means…especially when you have unlimited lives.
The music, though, was one of my favorite aspects of the game. I don’t know what it was about the simple formula of scales and arpeggios being played, but something caught my attention and I fell in love with it almost immediately. It suited the simplicity of the graphics and the complexity behind the game perfectly.
Soaped Up Air comes highly recommended by yours truly. Pick it up and try it out—you might just thank me later.