Su­per Bomber­man R

EDGE - - GAMES - De­vel­oper Kon­ami Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment, Hex­aDrive Pub­lisher Kon­ami Dig­i­tal En­ter­tain­ment For­mat Switch Re­lease Out now


You have to ad­mit, it’s a tempt­ing pitch. A long­for­got­ten hero mak­ing an op­por­tune re­turn; an all-time mul­ti­player clas­sic re­vived and reimag­ined for an ir­re­sistibly so­cial new con­sole at launch. With the re­main­ing Switch lineup look­ing a shade on the slen­der side – Link’s mag­nif­i­cent new ad­ven­ture aside – Su­per Bomber­man R would at first glance ap­pear to be the ideal sec­ond game. Don’t be fooled. This over­priced con­fec­tion isn’t Act Zero bad, but it sits wor­ry­ingly close to that end of the qual­ity scale, peer­ing vainly at the sub­lime SNES and Saturn ver­sions far off in the dis­tance.

The ker­nel of the game re­mains: four (or eight) diminu­tive he­roes must bat­tle across a maze, plac­ing bombs to de­stroy blocks and even­tu­ally one an­other, the win­ner be­ing the last Bomber­man stand­ing. Any­one who per­ishes in a blast can ex­act re­venge by fir­ing bombs from carts that run on rails sur­round­ing these square are­nas, a suc­cess­ful hit swap­ping them back in at the ex­pense of their vic­tim. And to chivvy things along, spiked blocks will de­scend from the heav­ens as time starts to run out, forc­ing the re­main­ing play­ers to oc­cupy an ever-nar­row­ing area un­til the pres­sure be­comes too much and a vic­tor is de­clared. Story mis­sions can be tack­led in co-op, which at least speeds things up. Reg­u­lar en­emy AI can be out­ra­geously dumb; bosses, how­ever, present a weary­ingly at­tri­tional chal­lenge when you’re play­ing on your own

Tellingly, the Old-School map is the pick of the stage op­tions, with most of the rest prov­ing ei­ther dull or gim­micky. Me­dieval sees four 3x3-tile cas­tles ob­scure the ac­tion be­neath; Mag­netic Sphere has the du­bi­ous nov­elty of horse­shoe mag­nets that suck bombs to­ward them and ro­tate 90 de­grees with every blast. Junk­yard, which fea­tures mov­ing plat­forms that al­low you to ac­cess a cramped cen­tral zone, is per­haps the best of the rest. We might be more for­giv­ing were the char­ac­ter move­ment not strangely off: from slug­gish at the out­set to skit­tish when you’ve ac­cu­mu­lated a few speed-up bonuses then try to turn a corner, only to see your avatar bump use­lessly into the level ge­om­e­try. A Story mode (see ‘Bum­mer, man’) feels like a slog af­ter 20 min­utes, while on­line matches are be­dev­illed by lag.

Luck­ily for Kon­ami, it’s im­pos­si­ble to en­tirely ruin Bomber­man. In spite of ev­ery­thing, you’ll likely be able to wring some fun out of it in Bat­tle mode when you’re all suf­fer­ing the same hand­i­caps. Yet that only tes­ti­fies to the dura­bil­ity of the orig­i­nal con­cept, rather than any of the em­bel­lish­ments found here. Seem­ingly slapped to­gether in haste and with­out much care, it’s a cyn­i­cal piece of work, des­tined to leave those hold­ing a nos­tal­gic fond­ness for ear­lier en­tries won­der­ing whether Bomber­man was re­ally all they re­mem­bered. This is a cheap game with an ex­pen­sive price tag, and there’s noth­ing re­motely su­per about it.

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