'Green Island' - Xbox Live Indie Games Showcase

Green Island

The Japanese went even crazier for "Bubble Bobble" than America's arcade masses (there's been a version of it for nearly every platform on the little island!), and Japanese indie title "Green Island" takes one aspect of that classic and applies it in some unusual ways.

Essentially, "Green Island" capitalizes on the ability of bubbles ("Bobble"-type bubbles, that is, not real bubbles, which are very unsatisfying to jump on) to reshape the playing field. It's a puzzle-platformer where you can fire off bubbles to create your own platforms in order to progress through the levels. With each stage, complications get added: block switches, fans, direction-changers, bubble poppers, and more.

"Green Island" has some problems, particularly in its slippery physics. And while the levels introduce you to new elements very smoothly, there's some things you'll just have to figure out if you can't read Japanese. But the combination of puzzle structure and platform freedom is endlessly interesting, and the goofy 8-bit design makes the whole experience feel like a nostalgia trip for a game you never played, and the 80-point price tag makes it irresistible.