Capcom should have called Capcom Puzzle World "Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo and Friends." Even with just five games to its name, Capcom Puzzle World feels padded out by the inclusion of three mildly different Buster Bros. games, as much fun as popping bubbles can be. There's no doubt that Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, arguably one of the best competitive puzzle games ever, is the main draw here. This 10-year-old-plus puzzle game with its fighting game attitude and playful sense of style holds up beautifully. It has also been smartly modified to fit the widescreen aspect ratio of the PSP screen. Conversely, the other games in Capcom Puzzle World suffer by varying degrees in their translation to the PSP. However, most of these faults will likely only matter to hardcore purists, and this remains a highly playable and attractive puzzle package.
They're not arcade perfect, but the Buster Bros. games are still fun and unique.
In addition to Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Capcom Puzzle World includes versions of Buster Bros., Super Buster Bros., Buster Buddies, and Block Block. Block Block is basically Capcom's take on the Breakout/Arkanoid/Alleyway style of puzzle game. You move a paddle at the bottom of the screen from side to side to bounce a ball into a formation of blocks on the upper portion of the screen, breaking them on contact. This is the one game in Capcom Puzzle World that hasn't been reformatted for the PSP, and because of its vertically oriented screen, the game appears pretty small on the PSP. In its original form, Block Block was a playable, if derivative, game, but bad controls kill it in Capcom Puzzle World. The problem lies in the fact that the arcade version included an analog rotary paddle controller, which gave you subtle, precise control over the horizontal movement of the onscreen paddle. On the PSP, the purely digital controls make the paddle excessively touchy and make the game essentially unplayable.
The three Buster Bros. games included have a few problems of their own, but they're significantly less damaging. The Buster Bros. games have always been unique as far as puzzle games go. The games put you in control of a character that runs back and forth along the bottom of the screen while shooting a harpoon gun. This gun points straight up into the air and pops gigantic bubbles that bounce around the screen all willy-nilly. If you let a bubble touch your guy, it will cost you a life. What's more, every time you pop one of the giant bubbles, it splits into two smaller bubbles. This process continues until all the bubble spawn have been eliminated and you can move on to the next stage. You'll find power-ups that let you fire off multiple harpoons or turn your harpoon gun into a more traditional gun, as well as power-ups that stop time or provide you with a protective, one-use shield.
The conceit remains unchanged among Buster Bros., Super Buster Bros., and Buster Buddies, though there are still some key differences. Super Buster Bros. introduces the panic mode, which does away with different levels, and makes simply surviving for as long as you can while being bombarded with wave after wave of bubbles your goal. Buster Buddies introduces unique characters that, in addition to having a crummy digitized appearance, have unique abilities, such as the ability to shoot harpoons at 45-degree angles or immunity to certain types of enemies. It seems redundant to have three Buster Bros. games in the collection, but these are fun games regardless. Yet, changes have been made to these games that will undoubtedly get under the skin of those who insist on arcade-perfect ports. Though the games are still quite challenging, the playfields have been stretched a little to fit the PSP screen more comfortably, which lets you maneuver in just a bit more horizontal room. The music, while still totally upbeat and catchy, uses different instrumentation. Again, these points will only matter to those who have invested hours and hours in the arcade originals.