Bombing Baddies, Better with Buddies!
Bomberman is a series I have fond memories of. It was one of my grandpa’s favorites, and we’d spend hours playing it. I’d spend my weekends helping him strategize through levels and helped him beat bosses in Super Bomberman 2. After he passed, I played through Bomberman 64 since that was a game he wasn’t able to complete due to his declining health at the time. I haven’t played a Bomberman game since my playthrough of Bomberman 64, so when I saw Konami was porting this over to the PS4, I had to give it a play.
Super Bomberman R tells the story of the eight Bomberbros and their journey to stop the evil Buggler and his five Dastardly Bombers from destroying the Universe. While the story is a little cliché, the cute, colorful, animated characters give it a certain charm with their distinct personalities. In Super Bomberman R you will blast your way through five distinct planets, each with eight puzzle stages and two battle stages where you will face one of the five Dastardly Bombers. All coming to an end at the center of the universe and, the big, final showdown between the Bros and Buggler.
Going through story mode can get repetitive, with a handful of the stages feeling the same as the last. The stages do offer a bit of variety from the typical “defeat all enemies to progress” clear condition. Some of the stages require you to collect keys, guide characters to a safe area, activate switches or survive a barrage of enemies until a timer runs out. I did get a feel that Konami was trying to make the stages like they were in the older generation games, but it doesn’t seem to have translated well. Playing through some of the stages had me feeling a bit claustrophobic as they felt small compared to the characters. The boss battles are a nice break from the tight, gridded maps preceding them and are probably my favorite part of the game. The boss’ final forms are nicely designed with lots of intricate mechanical details. They require you to stop and think about how to take them down as they can’t be damaged by blindly bombing them. As a whole, the boss battles are nicely put together and present a decent challenge.
Is it a little tight in here or is it just me?
There is couch co-op for the story mode and that makes it a lot more fun in some aspects, and a little more troublesome in others. Tackling the maps with a friend makes them infinitely more fun and some of the stages actually require you to devise a plan to complete the challenge and advance to the next. It also makes boss battles a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. The camera in co-op, however, can be your worst enemy. When you or your buddy get too far from one another on the stage, the camera seems to not know who to focus on. It usually leaves one of you being caught in a corner, or edge of the screen by an enemy, or your own bomb blast. Team kills are also a bit of a slight annoyance, especially if you have a friend who likes to pick up all the flame powerups. You can find it in your heart to forgive them, right?
No Bomberman game is complete without a Battle Mode. You have two options with Super Bomberman R, along with some special extra characters and one character that is exclusive to the PS4 version. There is the typical Battle Mode where you can battle it out with up to four players in a local match or up to eight players in an online match. The option to choose your powerups for the match seems to be unavailable, but there are other options to toggle the use of special abilities, skills, and revenge carts. The revenge carts offer downed players a way to get back at the players who may have taken them out a little too early (or cheaply) from the sidelines while they wait to respawn. I suppose revenge really can be sweet after all.
Grand Prix is the other exciting battle option for this title. Grand Prix is a team-based battle mode and can be played either one on one, two on two, or three on three players. There is an option for computer players, so you can still play even if you don’t have enough people to flesh out the teams. This mode also offers two ways to play, Crystal or Basic Bomber. In Crystal, the team that collects the most crystals wins the match. You can bomb the opposing team to steal their crystals but be careful, as they can do the same to you. Basic Bomber is like regular Battle Mode where you simply bomb the other team into oblivion and the team with the most kills wins.
Bring some friends for a Konami free for all!
All in all, I enjoyed the time I got to spend with Super Bomberman R. The great music, detailed graphics, clever boss battles, and colorful characters really enhanced the experience. In my opinion, the co-op aspect greatly enhances the experience of the game. The issues with the stage variety and camera setup do bring the experience down, but in the end, they’re only minor complaints. Even with some small annoyances and nitpicks this game brought a certain amount of nostalgia and enjoyment to me. If you decide to pick up this title be sure to bring a friend and bomb some baddies together.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Switch, PC; Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment; Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment, Hexadrive; Players: 1-4(local), 1-8(online); Released: March 3, 2017(Switch), June 12, 2018(PS4,Xbox One, PC); ESRB: E10+, Everyone 10+ ; MSRP: $39.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a PS4 review copy of Super Bomberman R given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.