The Nintendo Switch was my first major console launch, ever. I’ve gotten consoles in the past, but usually after the dust settles and more games have come out. Already being skeptical of Nintendo over the past few years, I was hesitant about the Switch. I must say overall, I am happy with the console. Though there are many more games scheduled to release, the top three that everyone seemed to get at launch were Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (of course), 1-2 Switch, and Super Bomberman R. Being a huge fan of the older Bomberman games, I was excited to pick up this piece of nostalgia. After playing through the story and some multiplayer matches, I am wondering on whether or not it will be worth keeping around for long.
The bulk of the game is classic Bomberman: running around blowing up bricks and enemies with bombs you strategically place on a squared off board. Classic power-ups make a return, including ones to increase the number of bombs you can carry, improve the strength of your blast, or grant the ability to punch or kick bombs away from your character. There are five stages and two final boss fights, with each of the stages broken up into smaller pieces with different objectives. With some, you are tasked with defeating all the enemies in an area; others ware more simplistic, like surviving for a few minutes or hitting switches. Completing a task opens the portal to the next world. At the end of each of the stages waits a two-stage boss fight. The first part only requires you to land one hit on the enemy, but it is far more complicated that it seems. Being Bombermen themselves, bosses are able to place bombs on the map that have special abilities that match their personalities, such as magnetized bombs that can track you down or dummy bombs that disappear. The second half of the boss battle puts the enemy Bombermen in large mechs that spew out varying yet predictable attacks. Find and spam the weak spots, and they go down for the count.
The story is extremely simple: evil guy is evil and is destroying planets, you gotta stop him. You can choose your specific Bomberman (or Bomberwoman), but as far as I can tell it’s all cosmetic, including the option to alter your antenna. The longest part of the story missions are the cut scenes, which have become cringy stereotypical anime style cartoons with forced voice acting. I got through them all once for the experience, but you can be sure I will be skipping them from now on.
The multiplayer is set up so that you can play against friends or strangers, and each match win can rank you up. Multiplayer hearkens back to classic Bomberman: blow up your enemy. You can adjust different settings in these rooms, including a “second chance” option. If you have bumper cars set, once you are defeated in a game, you are transported to a bumper car that sits along the outside of the map. You can throw bombs onto the field to help team up on someone or, if you manage to blow someone up with your bomb from the sideline, you get placed back into the match to take revenge and go for the win. The same types of power-ups are available, and can either help or hurt you if you’re not careful.
The good of it: it’s a classic. There’s nothing fancy or “extra” with this Bomberman game, and that was a little disappointing but also a bit reassuring. The bad: it was sticky. Controls didn’t feel smooth at all, and trying to dip around corners was hard in both story and multiplayer. In older games, I remember being able to slip by squares and leave a bomb in my path. This time, it seemed like the only way to place a bomb exactly where I wanted it was to stop completely and center it. In the heat of a boss battle or when you’re head-t0-head in multiplayer, this isn’t always the best option. The ugly of the game is a mobile-game style coin system that isn’t explained straight away. You start off with a decent amount of coins, but don’t get too excited on spending them on cosmetics: if you get a game over, the only way to continue from the same spot is to use coins. Otherwise, you have to start the whole world over again.
Alongside some minor connection issues making multiplayer laggy and the content being bare minimum, I would recommend giving Super Bomberman R a soft pass until it goes on sale. There is minimal replayability, and unless you are playing locally, multiplayer may end up driving you mad with the stop-start lagging. Maybe challenge yourself on getting perfect scores in story mode, and try all the difficulty levels. Unless you are a hardcore Bomberman fan who loves it no matter what, this is one launch game that falls flat.
[The reviewer purchased their copy of the game and spent approximately 4 hours on story and multiplayer.]
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