Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: Action, Party, Puzzles & Multiplayer
Release Date: 3rd of March, 2017 (JP, EU & NA)
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When news of an exclusive Bomberman game broke out, fans across the globe lost their minds and too right they did! It’s been quite some time since we had a true Bomberman instalment and sure it may have turned out to be the Bomberman game we didn’t ask for and didn’t want, but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless.
Granted we’re nearly two months late with the crafting and posting of this review, but in that time that has passed, Konami US actually sent us a promotional (physical) copy instead of the usual digital keys we normally get, but Super Bomberman R is not the same game it was when it first released thanks to patches that fixed existing issues and added new content such as 4 new Battle Stages. So before I even spend this review talking about the game, I’m actually going to dedicate a paragraph or three to what has been changed since Super Bomberman R released last month.
Just recently, patch update 1.3 made adjustments to story mode’s difficulty so as to make it easier for players who were struggling to beat them before. The whole Battle Points (BP) increase/decrease rate has been altered as well. There’s the 4 new stages I mentioned in the paragraph above, but the Five Dastardly Bomber’s strength has been altered as well and so has the heights and slopes on some of the maps for visibility. But more importantly controls and frame rate for the game has been improved, resulting in more stable 60 fps and during Battle Mode (the game’s multiplayer mode,) when docked Super Bomberman R runs at 60 fps at 720p and at 540p when portable (handheld and tabletop mode.)
With regards to Story Mode, well that now runs at 1080p when docked and at 720p when portable and runs as an “uncapped frame rate of 45 fps. And because that’s not everything, something else the 1.3 update did was make it possible to press the l. and R buttons to change the inclination of the map in Story Mode. (It can also be altered in Basing settings by altering the camera position.)
As for the 1.2 and 1.1 patch updates, they corrected issues most players were encountering during Online Play. Made it possible for players to perform more agile manoeuvres and behave more naturally when in front of pillars and blocks. The there was also the tweak that made it possible to stop kicked bombs a hell of a lot more precisely, but the lag experienced when planting bombs was also removed as well.
I am aware it is rather of an odd way to properly kick of a review by starting with what’s changed, but it is imperative consumers who have yet to experience Super Bomberman R know that it is not the same game that released last month. That a lot of the things the critics criticised it for has been amended, resulting in a much more enjoyable experience gameplay wise and it is enjoyable.
Sure the story isn’t necessarily the best in the world compared to previous instalments of the series and other games that have released this year, but it has a decent level of writing behind it. A humour that can be enjoyed by those of all ages, but there’s no flip-flopping. The story telling stays on track from beginning to end and there are quite a few worlds for you to enjoy and if you don’t feel like playing alone, you can of course have a Player 2 tag along the adventure and tackle the available 6 worlds/50 stages together. But since plenty of you won’t be familiar with Super Bomberman R’s story since, here it is in a nutshell. All is well in the universe, until it isn’t. Bugler (aka Professor Bagura, a regular main antagonist in the Bomberman series) is back and with his Five Dastardly Bombers, he intends to take over the entire universe. So upon learning of the threat facing the entire universe, the “Bomberman Brothers,” led by White take it upon themselves to face the threat head on and save everyone!
Still you don’t need to appreciate the story to appreciate the animated cut-scenes Story Mode has to offer and appreciate the colourful art direction that was use, or enjoy the straight-forward action. All Boss Battles are two-fold and enjoyable, save for the final confrontation, which felt a lot easier and less fulfilling than the previous ones. But gameplay, Super Bomberman R is a lot like previous games (maybe too much like them since there isn’t really anything all that new with it,) as each stage has a grid of varying size (unless playing both local and online multiplayer, in which case the grids are 11×13) and the grid is littered with enemies and obstacles.
Using bombs, your playable Bomberman (players can choose any one of the Bomberman siblings when first playing, but upon completing the story, you can visit the shop and pay to unlock each one of the Five Dastardly Bombers, provided you have enough gems as each one costs 5,000 to purchase) must blow up the obstacles he faces whilst trying to complete the stages objective. (Early on in the game, you all really have to do is kill all enemies, or find and stand on a set number of switches before you can advance to the next level, but as the story progresses, you’ll be required to survive for certain period of time and even save innocent bystanders.) But don’t worry, Super Bomberman R actually takes its time easing you into the gameplay and ensuring you have mastered the basic gameplay and get the hang of certain objectives before springing the harder ones on to you.
But even with all the power-ups that can’t be found by blowing up objects littered around the stages, the story mode is not all that it could be. It’s not basic, but it’s not exactly an exceptional either, but then, it is not the Story Mode where Super Bomberman R excels. Where it excels is as a multiplayer game as up to 8 players are supported and the fun is endless. Sure there’s some lag when you’re playing online, but it’s not as much as it used to have and if you’re playing local, than there is no lag at all. Plus the more you play the more you will be rewarded as your success will have you paid in gems and while you can get them from doing Story Mode, and it can pay very well as long as you are able to minimalize just how many times you lost all of your lives and had to continue, Battle can pay out a tidy sum as well and since there are plenty of characters, stages and accessories to be brought you will want to accumulate a vast fortune.
In no way is Super Bomberman R the best games on Nintendo Switch, but even now with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe available, Super Bomberman R is still one of the very best multiplayer games you can get for the Switch and it is more enjoyable than 1-2-Switch, plus you can get it in physical form and that cover is just breathtakingly gorgeous! It’s bright, it’s colour and just a sight to behold.
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While it does offer nothing “new,” Super Bomberman R is an enjoyable title and a welcome addition to the series. Sure diehard fans will be mildly disappointed with it, you don’t have to be a Bomberman fan to enjoy it. If anything, this game is actually a good way to introduce players to the series and build a following before releasing another game that is very “Bomberman Beyond” (Another very tried and true “Bomberman” game, but also builds on the series we know by introducing some very new gimmicks and gameplay.) So while the story didn’t do anything for me and the song that played during the credits was weird, Super Bomberman R is still an excellent offering to the Nintendo Switch and deserves nothing less than an 8/10. So if you hate racing games and are looking for a good alterative to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and don’t want to wait for Splatoon 2 to release this Summer, Konami’s Super Bomberman R is that alternative.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Promotion Copy Provided by Konami