Press A to plant bombs. Don’t let said bombs blow you up. It’s rare to see a game that is still as basic as this on a modern day console, however, Super Bomberman R is one that takes pride in giving us the classic Bomberman experience.
Released as a launch title for Nintendo’s new console Super Bomberman R marks the first true console Bomberman title since 2010, brought to us by Konami as is notably the first Bomberman title to be developed by ex-Hudson Soft employees since the original company dissolved back in 2012.
If you’ve ever played a classic Bomberman title you’ll instantly know what you have in store here, a two-dimensional grid-based system in which the player (Bomberman or one of his many Bomberbros or Bombersisters) must place bombs to blow up things in their way with the ultimate goal of trapping and blowing up another player or enemy.
The game has barely changed since the early days (Although many spinoffs such as Bomberman 64, Tournament and Generations show that there can be many more things to offer from the game) and this is both an advantage and a downfall to the title, being so familiar envokes nostalgia but also it brings very little to the plate.
The single player campaign has you bombing your way through 50 missions set across 5 different planets with a boss character at the end of them, the premise is usually based on blowing up various enemies or flipping a number of switches as you travel across towards the goals. Interestingly while playing in handheld mode this mode was rather difficult to play through as everything felt zoomed in and difficult to navigate although this wasn’t an issue in the docked mode.
The single player campaign is unfortunately rather short and will take the most experienced players only a few hours to complete on a single mode, although there are multiple difficulties. Coins earned in the campaign can be used to buy new attire for your characters or to unlock new maps for multiplayer.
And let’s face it the multiplayer where Bomberman really shines, always a classic. Local Multiplayer allows up to 8 people play simultaneously either on the big screen or local. The Switch’s portability allowed for 8 of us using a joy-con each to play together. It really brought back the nostalgia of playing on the Super Nintendo although more frantic, the small screen on the switch ensuring everyone was huddled together while playing.
The matches were frantic but fun, with the usual array of powerups regular to Bomberman such as kicking, extra bombs and throwing bombs at your arsenal as you destroy blocks. If you should succumb to the blast of a bomb from yourself or the opponent you’ll be cast to the sides of the arena , however, the game is willing to give a second chance as you’ll be able to hurl bombs across to try and kill, if you manage to do so you’ll be sent back to the battlefield to try again.
The game is frantic and fast paced and seemed to go down a treat, proving that while online has convenience there’s nothing better than getting a few good friends around the TV (or Switch pad) and playing together.
Super Bomberman R actually does have an online system included in and was one of the key selling points for the series for myself, unfortunately for myself, the online gameplay often lags and is sometimes unplayable at all, hopefully, this will be patched in an update.
The game uses crisp, colourful cartoonish characters and settings that the series is known for with short animated cut-scenes linking each of the worlds with a loose overall plot. The voice acting and music in the games are minimal and nothing noteworthy outside of a few catchy tunes while playing, and this overall echoes the entire experience.
Super Bomberman R is a fun game with a fantastic multiplayer and simple controls, it does Bomberman fine, however, it only does Bomberman fine. It doesn’t excel nor is any worse and with a limited online multiplayer and a steep price, it’s hard to recommend it. If you love Bomberman and are able to play locally it may be a lot more worth it but wait for a price drop.
Note: As of March 10th Konami has released a press release stating they are looking to fix online issues. Fingers crossed it’s soon.