Super Bomberman R review
There’s really nothing quite like a round or ten of Bomberman. Run around a maze, plant bombs, blow up your friends and attempt to avoid getting fried yourself. It’s a simplicity that’s granted the classic Konami series a healthy dose of immortality, but when an Nintendo Switch launch title is asking 50 hard earned pounds for the privilege of replaying the same concept you’ve played on every platform ever, that nostalgia comes with a bitter aftertaste.
This being the 33rd anniversary of the original Bomberman, you’d hope Super Bomberman R would come bundled with a rip-roaring swagger down a three-decades-long memory lane. Instead, you get a relatively short campaign intercut with a series of sugar-sweet cartoon animations that wouldn’t look out of place on CBeebies. Sure, there’s a decent variety of objectives to mix things up, such as blowing up a certain number of enemies, collecting keys or hitting switches, but in the end it’s pretty obvious this forgettable Story mode is nothing more than an extended tutorial. It’s not going to blow you away solo, but team up with a friend in local co-op and its bosses and challenges at least feel a little more rewarding (if frustratingly devoid of any real innovation).
As Switch’s first proper multiplayer title, Super Bomberman R is really counting on that familiar brand of fun that’s been blowing up scenery since the NES. You can play against up to three other players online, with that classic Battle mode setup (where defeated players can still throw bombs into the grid from its outer edges and earn another shot at glory) making for an ace reason to jump onto its servers. Winning matches will earn you coins (the game’s in-game currency), which can then be used to purchase hats, new levels or continue playing during the campaign if you waste all your lives. It’s a cute way to tap into that moreish arcade feel, but these coins run out too often (especially considering the undulating difficulty of its Story mode).
However, it’s in its local multiplayer form that Super Bomberman R really taps into the social gaming angle that Nintendo is selling Switch on. The game supports up to eight players, tuning into that couchplay madness that’s already making 1-2 Switch and Snipperclips so popular. It’s here that lack of any real new innovation gets a pass, with that oh-so-addictive fun of trapping a friend between your bomb and their own, only to see them fired off the map in a blaze of smoke, making it all very worthwhile.
Super Bomberman R doesn’t ruin the classic B-Man recipe, but with a price tag as big as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can’t help feeling this is a digital-only arcade title with the wrong price stuck to its box.