Should we expect anything from a Konami game in this day and age? After announcing they would pretty much abandon the console gaming industry, limiting themselves just to their yearly football games, Konami showed up from out of nowhere with a brand new Bomberman game as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch: Super Bomberman R. While pretty glad seeing that Konami didn’t transform yet another franchise it owns into a pachinko machine, I had my fair share of doubts about the end product. So, is it good?
None of that Act Zero nonsense, at least!
Super Bomberman R is pretty simple and straightforward. It doesn’t try to innovate on the classic Bomberman formula, it’s pretty much an isometric and polygonal iteration of the classic series. Gameplay is the same old Bomberman schtick: place bomb near enemy or breakable wall, stand back, blow up, rinse and repeat. It’s been 33 years and this formula is still as fun as it has always been.
As always, the main attraction here is the multiplayer. Up to four players can play on the Switch in portable mode, and up to eight players can have fun in one console while in docked mode. There is also an option for up to eight players in local MP, each with his/her own Switch, and eight players online. You also need just one joycon to play it, so you can easily set up, at least, a game with another friend with your Switch alone.
The game is a complete blast (maybe a bit of pun intended) in these modes, ideal for those rooftops parties shown at the Switch’s reveal commerical, with one slight criticism in the portable mode: given the small size of the screen, it gets a bit confusing to find your character and pay attention to your surroudings while the carnage is ensuing.
Multiplayer: the real attraction here
If you’re not around anyone, don’t worry, Super Bomberman R does include a single-player campaign of sorts. Just like the rest of the game, it’s pretty straightforward, being just a collection of maps with little variation per round. The most common objective is to just get rid of all enemies on the map, but there are some different scenarios like pressing switches or collecting some keys every now and then. It isn’t anything special, and to be honest the campaign isn’t anything special, with the exception of the boss battles. Those boss battles occur at every 9th and 10th round of each world, consisting of a duel against an evil Bomber (think of it as a multiplayer round, except against an AI), followed by a fight against a big bad robot, each with its own weak spot and strategy.
You can also co-op the campaign with a friend, if you wish.
Boss battles are the campaign’s highlight
Technically speaking, Super Bomberman R isn’t anything special. Its graphics are clearly below average, looking just like a PSN / Xbox Live Arcade game from the last generation. The sound department is also a mixed bag: while the songs are indeed pretty catchy, with a very nostalgic PS1 vibe, they are very few, and the campaign’s voice acting is beyond cringy. Thankfully, you can skip the cutscenes and save your ears from such cringe.
Control-wise, there’s not much you can do to actually hinder the experience in a Bomberman game, given the simplicity of the gameplay. Everything is simple and responsive as it should be, with one flaw being the excessive sensitivity of the control stick, which can quite often lead you to death given the fact it might make you walk a bit more than planned, in certain occasions.
Peace? In a Bomberman game? Yeah, right…
In the end, Super Bomberman R is a pretty entertaining game, but also a quite shallow one. It is tons of fun with friends, but also feels like an okay at best budget title when playing solo. It also looks and sounds like a budget title given its below average visuals and sound department. Was the game rushed out in order to meet the Switch’s release window? I really don’t know, but it doesn’t look like it was being developed for a long time.
While I do recommend buying the game, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise (this is a true return to its roots), I definitely don’t think Super Bomberman R is worth the current asking price of 50 bucks. Definitely check it out, at a good discount, later in the year.