Super Bomberman R Review
The latest game in Konami’s Bomberman series, Super Bomberman R, finally makes its way on to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. After initially being released on the Nintendo Switch in March 2017, this Bomberman port gets a few graphical updates, along with console exclusive characters (Ratchet – PS4, Master Chief – Xbox One, and P-body – PC). Super Bomberman R brings with it all of the same gameplay of the Switch and slightly improves on them, but doesn’t solve any of the big problems with the game.
The game contains modes, such as, Story, Classic Multiplayer (Local and Online), and Grand Prix (Local and Online), which we will be covering throughout this review.
Super Bomberman R has the same feel as most of the other games in the Bomberman Series, but with upgraded graphics, more power-ups, new puzzles, and better boss battles. In comparison to the Nintendo Switch version, the look and smoothness of the gameplay have been improved. The different Bombers and stages are vibrant and well-detailed, but it still feels like a Bomberman game. However, the actual mechanics of the game make it hard to play for very long. A lot of the time, you’ll find yourself killed by your own bombs because you get stuck or you’re not completely hidden. You soon learn that using the joystick or d-pad have their hiccups and both just don’t feel right. Multiplayer modes are more enjoyable than the story because the controls are not as much of a hindrance and are faster paced.
In Story mode, you play as the Bomber Brothers, 8 robots designed to protect the universe from evil. Emperor Buggler resurrects the Five Dastardly Bombers to help him conquer the universe, and the brothers must stop him from carrying out his plan. White, the leader of the Bomber Brothers, drags his unwilling brothers to help him on this quest. The gameplay follows the same trend as all of the other games in the series, you run around a maze-like map and use bombs to explode barriers and enemies who are in your way. Each world has several missions to complete, where you destroy all enemies, turn on switches, escort characters, or collect keys, before you reach a boss, one of the Five Dastardly Bombers or Emperor Buggler.
As you play through the missions, everything becomes redundant. Drop a bomb here, run, hide, run, drop another bomb, run, hide, and so on. The puzzles aren’t very difficult, but you soon find out that the controls make it hard to complete any task. While you are running around a map, you might place a bomb down and think you have hidden well enough to not be killed by it, but that’s not the case. You end up being too close to an enemy or not having your bomber fully hidden because he doesn’t move naturally and it requires too much precision to always be out of the way. Controls are too clunky for a game like this; you shouldn’t be able to stop in between squares on the map. Every enemy patrols its area differently, some jump from spot to spot, some move sporadically and, some follow you to no end. If you’re not careful and precise with your movements, you end up dying more often than not because you are slightly in a square and the enemy or your bomb kills. This makes missions overly frustrating.
Boss battles are the best part of Story mode. Each boss is broken into 2 phases. You first have to take out an enemy Bomber in their normal form, then take them out in their mech/larger form. The bosses are well done and require a lot of strategy to beat them. The only downfall of this part of the story is the controls. Since boss battles are a much faster pace than any of the missions, you have a harder time staying hidden properly. You die simply because your Bomber’s foot was sticking out.
Multiplayer / Grand Prix
Classic Multiplayer and Grand Prix are the flagship modes of Super Bomberman R and the main reason to play this game.
Classic Multiplayer mode allows you to play with up to 8 people on Xbox One and PC and 4 people on PS4. All player play on one giant map and the objective is to be the last Bomber standing before time ends. This mode is simply just fun, whether you’re playing with 2 or 8 players. There is something just so satisfying about blowing up multiple players at one time or trapping them in a corner to meet their doom. Once you’re knocked out of the game and at least 2 players are still in, you respawn on the outside of the map and can throw bombs at the players inside. If you’re successful in taking out a player, you trade places with them and give yourself another chance to win the round. As time runs out, the players that have been eliminated are taken out of the game and the map begins to shrink until there is only one Bomber left. This mode will have you on the edge of your seat, screaming at other players, and you can almost dismiss the clunky controls issues.
Grand Prix is a brand new mode to the Bomberman Series. Two teams of up to 3 players each battle to collect crystal, grab checkpoints, or get the most kills. This mode is more tactical and requires a lot of communication between players. I found myself getting trapped frequently because of players on your team. The race for power-ups is the most critical point of this mode and I found myself trying to stop the opposing team from getting them, more so than I was trying to stop them from winning. This mode gives Bomberman a breath of fresh air and I can see them putting it into the next installment.
Super Bomberman R is a great multiplayer game, but in terms of the story and controls, could use a huge improvement. A lot of the gameplay is bogged down by the difficulty to move your Bomber, and I can’t see anyone playing this game for more than an hour at a time, If you’re looking for a great party game for up to 8 players with a decent price, this is definitely one to try out for $40 USD.