There were a lot of games which Nintendo made for the NES which went on to become big franchises for them, receiving new instalments on various later consoles. However, there were also games which were never properly revisited. Sometimes this made sense, because the games weren’t that good, but sometimes it was a shame. Clu Clu Land is one of those games which never received a proper follow up and I think it’s a shame, because it was actually pretty fun.
In the game, you play as a little red balloonfish called Bubbles. She constantly swims forward on grid-based maps. You can have her stick out her left or right arm, which makes her grab little pegs by her side. Then she spins around the peg she’s grabbed on to and then you release her grip to send her in different directions. Moving around these little maps, she has to find golden ingots which appear between the pegs. There’s a time limit on each map and you win when you find them all. You also have to look out for enemy Unira, which will burst Bubbles if she collides with them. Though she is able to stun them with soundwaves and even squash them against walls once they’re stunned.
It’s a very unique style of gameplay and I really enjoy it. It’s the kind of puzzle game which could have been built upon in lots of ways over the years and I think it’s a shame that this game is really all Clu Clu Land ever got. After a while, it does get a bit repetitive because there’s not a large variety in level types, but it’s still a very fun slice of Nintendo history. Plus, you can play it with a friend co-operatively if you want. If you like the NES era, you should definitely give this a try.