In the early 90’s, I remember playing Super Bomberman like there was no tomorrow. It was a fantastic multiplayer game that provided hours of entertainment and the Bomberman series is well-known for that very fact. It’s had it’s fair share of missteps along the way, but it has always been a series held in high regard amongst the gaming community. Konami, after purchasing Hudson Soft in 2012, has decided to grace the launch of the Nintendo Switch with a new Bomberman game. Stamped with an odd “33rd Anniversary” sticker, the franchise returns with Super Bomberman R.
With everyone focusing on a certain launch behemoth, some Switch owners may look past Super Bomberman R. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you see it. With Nintendo touting the multiplayer aspects of their new console, Bomberman sticks out as an obvious choice for gamers looking for multiplayer fun at launch. Super Bomberman R let’s it be well known that it supports up to 8 player multiplayer battles.
In order to get that set up, your first choice is Local Play, with 4 Switch consoles, within range of each other, supporting 2 players on each one, making up an old school LAN party feeling. Local Play also requires every system to have a copy of the game. The second choice, is to easily play online, also having the ability to play with 2 players on each console. If you are looking to couch multiplayer on one system, you limited to 4 human players, with the choice of adding up to 4 more CPU players.
The game also features a Story Mode, that has the option of being enjoyed with another person within co-op. Story Mode has 50 stages, along with boss fights, that are simply not fun. The boss A.I. is almost unfair at times, almost never missing a beat in avoiding explosions. Not once did I have fun or enjoy playing a boss fight in this game. The levels between the bosses are just boring.
The objectives jump from killing all the enemies, finding a certain amount of keys, or hit all the switches to clear the level. The enemies walk paths that are incredibly easy to lay bombs on and there was never a challenging level that added any variety. Depending on the difficulty level, you have a set amount of lives, when you lose them all, you start over at the beginning of the current world you are on. Every time I died in Story Mode, it was because of the weird isometric camera angle the game presents and it’s sometimes hard to judge if you’re lined up properly in a lane to avoid a bomb or enemy. Story Mode is nothing special.
Super Bomberman R has its own in-game currency. There are no micro-transactions whatsoever, but it almost feels like the idea was there during development. Playing through Story Mode, you will earn credits that can be used to continue your game when you run out of lives or purchase extras for use in all the modes. You can unlock stages, characters, and cosmetic items for your bombermen and bomberladies.
Story Mode is the only mode that I noticed that rewarded the credits. You may be able to earn them winning online battles, but that’s something I have not been able to do, because the lag has been incredibly bad on my end of every battle. Losses all around for me. (Just as a note, Konami has stated they are aware of the lag issue and it will be fixed via an in-game update.) The idea of earning credits to unlock extras is a wonderful idea that I have always enjoyed. In Super Bomberman R, it doesn’t feel like it was implemented well. I never had a feeling that I was earning near enough for what I wanted to unlock. If you earned credits with every game mode and not just certain ones, this would be a different story.
The gameplay is good old fashioned Bomberman style that everyone has loved over the three decades of the franchise. There’s not really a way to mess that up at all. If you’ve enjoyed the past games, this one will fill your Bomberman itch for sure. All the little detailed options for multiplayer are here, the stages are fun and have their own gimmick, and the gameplay is addictive.
Super Bomberman R suffers with a subpar story mode and in-game credit system, but shines with great multiplayer options and gameplay experiences. Playing this game with my kids and wife brought back memories of Super Bomberman and Bomberman 64. If you’re looking for a good multiplayer option at launch for your newly acquired Nintendo Switch, Super Bomberman R may fit that need. If you’re a fan of the franchise or a newcomer, you should give it a shot. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it gets the job done for Bomberman.