Bomberman is back, and this time he has a whole crew of bomberfolk with unique personalities ready to adventure through perilous worlds in story mode as well as fighting each other in multiplayer (both online and locally).
White Bomberman is getting his lazy crew together to save the world from the evil Bagura and his five dastardly bombers. Each of these bombers are represented in the 5 worlds in story mode. Worlds are made up of 8 stages plus a battle with the cantankerous dastardly bombers. After defeating these foes (which feel like overly programmed AI), you will face off against a giant boss. Although Super Bomberman R introduces a few new quirks to the series, the game mechanics of collecting power-ups that expand your flame and bomb quantity are familiar to those who have played the series for the last three decades. The story is more in-depth than some of the previous entries but could turn some players off with the style (very Saturday morning cartoon). Each of the 8 bombers has different personalities that do add to the world (from egotistical black bombers to pacifist aqua bomber). I will admit, I wasn’t sure how to react to this expansion of story at first (although Bomberman has taken some turns in past entries). I have not played every Bomberman game to date by any means, but I did appreciate expressive bombers as it added to the overall story and aesthetic of the game.
The first few rounds of the game were spent in pure frustration. The controls of the game felt slippery and I killed myself way more than the actual enemies killed me. When trying to move in between blocks, I would either get caught or go too far past the block I was trying hide behind. At first, I took this as a product of the tilted 3D look of the game, and it made me wonder if the entire game was going to be unplayable. After a few more deaths, I checked options to see if there was some sort of “classic” mode, where I could just play a good ole fashion top down version. Alas, there was not, but there was the ability to turn on “fixed camera”. If you want to play this game without pure frustration, do yourself a favor and turn this option on! A friend and I were playing in co-op mode, and we started to enjoy the process much more after fixing this option.
Even after we progressed through a couple of worlds, something about the game felt rushed. Although Bomberman can be a fast-paced, chaotic game, I found myself wanting to just hurry through the levels and not spend much time with the game. I always preferred Bomberman games that added a bit of adventure in the action (by adding larger boards, conveyor belts, and other world-based features). Super Bomberman R does introduce new ways to complete levels aside from killing all the enemies on the screen such as collecting keys, rescue missions, and flipping switches. One positive aspect of the game is the ability to unlock additional content with in-game currency. The downside of the currency is that you will need to use it to continue if you die during story mode (and the harder the difficulty the more coins it will cost you). You earn coins for playing (the best way is likely through battle mode, as you will get more coins for placing in higher ranks).
I did enjoy the boss battles, though. In each world, you will face the dastardly bomber and then a larger boss battle. You are dropped in a large open arena with all of your power-ups, and left to find each monsters weak point. Learning the bosses’ moves and avoiding their attacks created a different kind of strategy than the other levels in the game.
Super Bomberman R also features a multiplayer battle mode that players have come to expect (and often times love) The multiplayer is exactly what you would expect of it. The chaos of having 8 players on the screen does introduce something new, but I feel like the boards needed a bit more innovation. I was happy to see that the boards have a traditional camera angle, which made the experience much more enjoyable. Hallmarks such as dying and being able to kill bombers after death makes a return as well. In general, this mode harkens back to heydays of Bomberman, but again, it feels like a stale add-on.
Although it sounds as though I did not like Super Bomberman R, I feel like I just expected a little more out of a franchise I loved on NES and SNES (and even Playstation). All in all, Super Bomberman R exists as an average entry into a long-running franchise. The visuals look nice, and you get a multiplayer experience that you can add to game night. The story campaign could largely be improved upon with more attention to creating a better level design (rather than a quirky storyline). These shortcomings make the game feel like you want to give it a pat on the back for trying, but, in review, can’t be “A for effort”.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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