I admit it. For a little while there, I thought Konami was closing the book on the legacy of Hudson Soft. And that felt like a shame to me, mainly because there's so many good franchises that came from that company, including the Bonk and Adventure Island games.
But then, surprisingly, the company proved me wrong last year with the release of Super Bomberman R for Nintendo Switch. Not only did it revive this multiplayer-friendly series for a new generation of players to enjoy, but it also introduced new features to attract casual players as well.
Now the game has made its debut for other platforms, and with some exclusive characters added in as bonus selling points. It's not quite the definitive Bomberman experience you remember, but it's still one that revels in its past while setting a foundation for the future. And the fact it's doing so with a bang makes it all the more entertaining.
The game plays like previous Bomberman games. You select the number of players you want to partake in the match and then get started, blowing up blocks as you free up more of the board and acquiring new power-ups like additional bombs, increased firepower and speed, and more. Then, when the match counts down, you find yourself trying to skillfully detonate opponents while still being the last bomber standing.
Blowing the Competition Away
The game does have a single player mode, but it doesn't focus so much on story as it does taking on AI opponents and preparing yourself for the main draw of Bomberman R, the Battle Mode. Here you'll engage against other players, local and online (as well as AI) and try to become the most explosive expert out there. And even if you get blown to bits, that's not the end for you, as you can easily try to take someone from the outside of the map and try to get back in it. This mechanic alone makes enduring an entire Bomberman match more valuable than it's been in the past.
What's great about Super Bomberman R is its intensity. You can't really dawdle too long on a map, because as the timer ticks down, the battlefield shrinks and you literally fight for survival. It's a terrific tactic and, combined with the "Revenge Cart" business, really makes things interesting as each one goes on.
That said, I do wish Konami optimized the online servers a little more. It took awhile for me to start some online matches; and even when they did take place, I noticed a little bit of miscommunication with certain players, resulting in easy wins. Here's hoping they modify the servers to make this run better down the road because, honestly, this would be one of Super Bomberman R's most important features.
The new twists added to the tried-and-true Bomberman gameplay make Super something that's ideal for parties. It's got great local multiplayer that can't be beat, although some players will likely curse you under your breath as you take them out in a trapped corner. Hey, just a reminder to "git gud," people.prevnext
Bring Some Bombs and Some Skill
Going back to the campaign mode, like I said, it doesn't have the best story out there as you visit a number of islands and take out rival Bombermen. (Bomber-people?) But the fact you can play it in two player adds significant replay value to the game, as you're able to see just how well you can do as a team. Plus the boss battles can be better than expected.
And yes, the guest characters are pretty cool. Hearing Ratchet and Clank mix it up with WWE's Xavier Woods (aka Austin Creed) is hilarious; and watching Pyramid Head Bomber take on Bill and Lance Bomber from the Contra series is a lot more fun than expected.
Super Bomberman R doesn't get highly imaginative with its presentation, but that's not to say it's bad. Konami did a serviceable job making this game mimic its old-school cousins; and the variety of maps will keep you and your friends busy for a while. The audio's not bad either, even if the music is slightly unimaginative at times. At least the character voices make up for it, particularly the celebrity bombers.
While Super Bomberman R can't quite live up to the greatness that was Super Bomberman 93 on the Super Nintendo with four controllers, it's still a party offering that shouldn't be missed. Online play could be better, but overall the game has some great balance between single player and local multiplayer. More than enough to justify the cost of the game. And the presentation, while not over the top, does channel in a good amount of nostalgia.
Kudos to Konami for bringing back a bombing legend. Hopefully we'll see a few more Turbografx licenses follow. It has been a while since we've seen Air Zonk make the rounds.0comments
WWG's Score: 3.5/5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev