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January 13, 2017

Super Bomberman R preview: A sparkling retro gem for the Nintendo Switch

by John_A

As classic multiplayer games go, few can match the might of Bomberman. Way back when it was the ultimate way to get your mates around and strategically blast them into oblivion. In, you know, a fun and friendly kind of way.

The premise of any Bomberman deathmatch game is simple: you dash around a grid, placing bombs in a rapid-strategy style to take-out your competitors. Play against any number of human and computer-controlled opponents – between two and eight in the case of Bomberman R – and level-up your abilities by exposing and collecting items from the surrounding bricks which you blast away.

It’s fast, its frenetic, and it’s great fun. Or, at least, that was the case until Bomberman ditched its three-quarter-down viewpoint back in PlayStation One era and went all 3D. It upset the game’s very logic and, in our view, never worked.

Super Bomberman R doesn’t muck about with any of that though: it’s back to its retro 2D-ish glory, albeit with souped-up graphics that make it look every bit the modern title.

The game, from the multi-player we played at the Nintendo Switch unveil in London, is certainly guilty of repackaging a lot from the earlier games – but that’s exactly what any old skool Bomberman fan will be looking for. It had us laughing, playing along with other first-time players and having a great time.

This time around we feel the computer’s artificial intelligence is a step beyond the way it used to be. The first deathmatch game saw the computer taking out both (admittedly rusty) human players by its kicking of bombs and being very deft in play. We soon improved though, those 90s-inspired fingers coming back to form.

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One other thing that feels different is the addition of height. It is a 3D game, after all, so bombs and gullys can sit at different heights from one another – in previous games it was a very one-layer gaming arena. That ought to add further complexity to proceedings.

Along with the multiplayer option there will be a campaign story mode in the game. It’ll follow the usual cycle of scrollable levels with varying degrees of difficulty across a variety of worldly settings, cumulating in various boss matches. We look forward to seeing what’s on offer this time around – but it wasn’t a playable part of the demo we sampled.

The more we think about it, the more that Bomberman R, for us, comes across as one of the true gems of the otherwise lackadaisical Nintendo Switch line-up. Of everything on offer, this is the one we want to buy (well, ok, so second to Zelda, but it’s still a buy-on-sight title).

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Super Bomberman R will be out this March for Nintendo Switch (it’s not confirmed as a day one title, but we can hope). Price is yet to be confirmed.

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