Bomberman has been around longer than I have and during those many years he has come in many incarnations. Now for Nintendo’s shiny new console, the Switch, has come a shiny new Bomberman, in all its portable goodness.
Super Bomberman R is very much the Bomberman you remember, especially in Battle mode. The top down look over the square grid as you try to take out the other bombermen is nostalgic while looking and feeling nice and slick. Battle mode has three modes, Multiplayer Battle, Local Battle and Online Battle. Local Battle is for connecting two Switches andthanks to the Switch’s design all you need is one Switch as the joy-cons can be turned into horizontal mode so you have two controllers for some couch co-op Bomberman action. Online battle is exactly as it sounds with league battles which seemed weirdly barren and free battle, where I had no issues finding opponents.
Online also lets you designate how far it will look for a game with quick connections only through to worldwide, but even on worldwide I rarely encountered bad lag. Then there is Bomberman’s true treat, Multiplayer battle which allows you to play yourself vs bots, yourself vs other local players, or a combination of the above.
These modes have a limited number of maps and limited playable characters, but the nature of Bomberman against someone sitting next to you alone provides a lot of entertainment. There are also a lot of customisable options such as revenge carts whereby upon your death you appear on the border of the map and can spin around the map trying to take out the still active players.
Taking one out will result in you switching places and get back into the fight. These elements make the standard Bomberman battle mode a joy to get stuck into.
Then there is the Story mode.
The Story mode tells the story of Emperor Buggler’s attempt to take over the Starry Sky Solar System which happens to contain Planet Bomber. The team of Bombermen decide to take up the challenge set out by Emperor Buggler to challenge the five Dastardly bombers. The story itself is told in short animated clips before a world starts, after a world ends and before the boss.
Each world consists of a series of eight challenges, which all consist of beating all the enemies, walking over all the switches, getting all the citizens to the goal or surviving for a certain amount of time. These challenges are fun enough to do and on occasion are challenging, but then comes the two boss stages. The first is a one on one battle with the boss having special abilities such as fake bombs or bombs on different timers. Once you complete this you then get to fight the boss, which has expanded in size on a less grid based map.
These final stages feel more like traditional games bosses with watching for how they act and their timing. Everything plays their part but have the Bomberman spin by you still running around dropping bombs, though annoyingly bosses don’t appear to have health bars which is annoying. The story itself is passable, the cut scenes look simple but beautiful, both on the switches screen and a TV and the stages are all fun. With a total of 50 levels it won’t take long to beat the story mode.
When push comes to shove, Super Bomberman R isn’t loaded with content and if you are just looking for a single player experience it may be asking a bit much. But if you are looking for a fun arcade experience you can whip out any time, then Battle mode is worth the price, especially if you will get value form some fun couch co-op or online play.
Released: March 2017
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Konami, HexaDrive