Like many other Switch owners, Super Bomberman R was one of the first games I got for the console. It’s easy to see why too. Other than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, There wasn’t really a whole lot available at launch. Bomberman was at least a classic IP, and one that hadn’t seen a proper release in many years. It’s been a few months now, how does the game stack up?
At launch, Super Bomberman R was plagued with laggy online multiplayer. I had heard that there had been plenty of updates that addressed this, and sure enough, there was a patch available to download. While the patch definitely added stuff, such as Bombermen themed after classic Konami characters, performance didn’t seem any different. I still often found my character not moving when I wanted them to or dropping bombs later than intended. There were also long stretches where nothing on the screen was moving. To be fair, I only played in handheld mode, so it’s possible that it runs better when docked. But, I spend most of my time with the Switch in portable mode, and I can say that it was not a pleasant experience that way.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you’re not aware, Bomberman is a multiplayer focused battling game that takes place from a isometric perspective. Each map is a grid that’s filled with open space, breakable blocks, or unbreakable blocks. Each player controls a Bomberman, who can drop bombs to blow up breakable blocks or other players. The players compete until only one is left standing.
Along the way, you’ll find power-ups hidden in the blocks. These can include things like extending the length of your explosions, as well as being able to drop more than a single bomb at a time. As you and your opponents get more powerful, the match gets more and more crazy. Explosions begin to fill the screen and it’s easy to lose track of just what you were doing. It’s a lot of fun, but sometimes matches drag on a little too long, especially if there’s a lot of open space to use to escape attacks.
Although the online multiplayer is disappointing, the inclusion of offline multiplayer more than makes up for it. Here, everything runs silky smooth and it feels like playing classic Bomberman. You can even play by yourself against CPU opponents, but I didn’t find that to be very fun. They’re just too good at dodging, and that issue of matches running a little long seems to be extra true here.
While the multiplayer is absolutely the focus of the game, Super Bomberman R also has a story mode. The story is pretty simple. Buggler, the main antagonist of many Bomberman games, has sent his army and five evil Bombermen, called the Five Dastardly Bombers, to take over every planet in the solar system. Now the Bomberman Rangers are out to stop them. Nothing too exciting here, but it’s presented in cute anime cutscenes that are fully voiced. That’s pretty cool at least.
The story mode itself is actually pretty fun, although it does get repetitive. You go through a series of stages set on the various planets of the solar system (a fictional solar system, not our solar system) in a linear order. In the early going, most of these stages task you with blowing up a certain number of enemies before going to an exit. Later, there’s additional objectives, like saving other Bombermen or surviving for a set amount of time.
Each planet ends in a boss fight that are much more interesting than the rest of the story. At first, it’s just a one on one battle with one of the Dastardly Bombers, but then they’ll switch to a much larger form. These you need to hit in certain weak points while dodging attacks. It’s a great break from the rest of the game, while retaining the same core mechanics.
From a presentation standpoint, the game is kind of mixed. The music is catchy enough, but you’ll probably forget all the songs minutes after you’re done playing. The graphics during those anime cutscenes I mentioned are great and really ooze character, but the in game models are bland and basic. I’ve certainly seen and heard worse, but it’s not really a standout for what the Switch is capable of.
Super Bomberman R is a fun little game that’s worth at least checking out. If you have friends to play with, you can find hours of fun, and the story mode is simple but entertaining. If the online actually worked as well as other games on the Switch, such as Arms or Splatoon 2, I’d be much more confident saying that you should buy the game.