Bomberman, now there’s a game that made up quite a chunk of my childhood. When I learned that Super Bomberman R was coming to Xbox One, I couldn’t quite contain my excitement. The few cheap imitations of Bomberman’s formula, yes, Bombslinger, I’m looking at you, have done very little to live up to the quality of their inspirations. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve been fun to play for the most part, but Bomberman is Bomberman and there’s just no beating its originality. Now that Super Bomberman R is finally here, is it worth your time?
Super Bomberman R is the same game that released on the Switch last year, but comes with a few cosmetic exclusives to give it that extra blast, because, well, we all love exclusive cosmetics, right? If you’re picking up this game for the Xbox One, you’ll enjoy Master Chief, whereas if you’re picking this up for the PS4 or Steam, you’ll get Ratchet and Clank and P-body, respectively. That comes on top of all of the shiny variations of the main characters that you’ll obtain if you decided to invest in the game via pre-ordering it before it launched.
Additionally, other characters such as Pyramid Head, Xavier Woods and more can be earned and unlocked through natural play. There’s no shortage of choice, that’s for sure. So, with that out of the way, what’s Super Bomberman R all about? The game comes with a selection of modes to take on, including a full co-op story campaign. Don’t expect a massively intriguing plot, because that’s not what you’ll get. Instead, you’ll be making your way through a range of locations as you and the other Bomberman heroes work to defeat the Evil Emperor Buggler.
The story is broken up into several distinct environments that has you fulfilling tasks such as killing all enemies, collecting all keys, activating a number of switches and so on and so forth. In between these missions, short cartoon cut-scenes will deliver the plot and introduce new enemies via some cheesy voice acting and poor writing. By and large, though, it’s everything that you would expect to see from the series. Players are able to select a difficulty tier before jumping in, ensuring that it caters for newcomers and veterans alike.
I played the campaign on its easiest difficulty and even then, I found it to be quite challenging. Perhaps I needed to brush up on my Bomberman skills beforehand. Making for a much more interesting affair, the well designed and unique locations each come with environmental puzzles. This usually amounts to needing to uncover a switch to activate a bridge or blow up a pillar to release a new platform, simple stuff indeed, but it does go on to add a nice layer of depth. It also encourages players to blow up nearly everything in sight.
The aim of the game is as simple as needs be. Your character will be thrown onto the map and will need to drop limitless bombs to open up new pathways. Most objects on the map can be destroyed using the blast-lines from your bombs, which will always blast vertically and horizontally away from the blast point. Structures that cannot be destroyed are typically used to shield your character from the blasts. If you allow your character to touch a blast-line, or indeed if one of the many enemies within touches your character, you’ll lose a life.
When you lose all of your lives, you’re given the option to continue but this will take away a set number of gold coins that can be earned in-game. In order to kill enemies you’ll need to carefully work out their movement patterns and place bombs down to end their nefarious sprees. Many of the enemies within come with their own behavioral and attack patterns, so it pays off to identify these patterns early on. With this being Bomberman, you can expect a nice range of buffs/nerfs depending on what you pick up throughout play. These usually drop frequently.
Much like the enemies, you would do well to understand how each buff/nerf works early on. Picks up range from increasing/decreasing your blast radius, right up to gifting you with the ability to boot bombs across the map. Whatever the case, Super Bomberman R retains that classic Bomberman formula, at the same time as feeling fresh and enticing. I found issue with the camera, being that it can move in some very awkward ways, but with that and the poor voice acting to the side, I cant say that I haven’t had a truck load of nostalgic fun.
The campaign offers up roughly six hours of play, with the additional modes making up for most of the replay value. The battle mode, for example, brings that classic PvP foundation to the game, complete with several unlocks to chase after and the ability to tweak the game options however you see fit. Battle mode can be played online or locally with up to eight players in total, going head to head as individuals or through team play. Players can purchase new arenas, several characters and heaps of cosmetics with the in-game currency.
This, without a shadow of doubt, is where players will be spending most of their time with the game. Bomberman has always been about the multiplayer and Super Bomberman R is no different. In fact, I dare say that Super Bomberman R is one of the most fun multiplayer experiences in the entire franchise thanks to some wacky additions. One such addition is the revenge-cart, a function that allows dead players to throw bombs from the side-lines in the hopes of killing another player and earning another shot at coming back to life.
It’s little touches like this that really shows how such a simple idea can make such a huge impact. Then there’s the arenas, many of which will challenge you in some fairly interesting ways; slippery floors, conveyor belts and other like-minded mechanics that helps to give Super Bomberman R’s multiplayer that definitive arcade edge. Last but not least, that leads us to the Grand Prix mode. Here, once again, the game can be played online or locally with up to six players. This mode sees two teams of three battling it out across two sub-modes.
One mode pits players against each other to see who can kill the most enemies, or alternatively in the other mode, you can take to collecting as many crystals as you can whilst trying to hinder the progression of your opposition. Whatever you dive into, you can expect nothing but giggles, chaos and nonstop action. Super Bomberman R is a worthy investment if you’re on the market for some party game-like madness, especially if you’re a fan of the classic games. Its price point may be slightly steep, but for fans like myself, it’s easy to overlook.
Super Bomberman R brings back the classic Bomberman formula and implements some interesting mechanics to shake up the fields of play. The game offers a decent campaign and supports both local and online play across a range of fun PvP game modes. With some poor voice acting and awkward camera issues to the side, this is one party-battle game that you should definitely have on your radar.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.