Tag Archives: Bomberman

Super Bomberman R Review (Nintendo Switch)

Super Bomberman R might be the first game I’ve ever reviewed where I feel like the police should probably get involved. This game is a crime and should be avoided at all costs.

First some context, after our Switch was delivered on Friday alongside Zelda I took a trip down to Sainsbury’s on a console-launch-day whim to get some more games. I wanted something multiplayer so I decided on 1-2 Switch and Super Bomberman R. 1-2 Switch is already overpriced at £34.99 (it should have been included with the console) but Super Bomberman R was £44.99. When I saw that price tag something strange happened in my brain, I came to the conclusion that somehow price and quality were linked. I thought the single-player campaign must be substantial to warrant that price tag. I thought that the online and local multiplayer must be at the very least a competent ‘best-of’ from the many iterations in the series. I was very very wrong.

Launching into local multiplayer with my wife, we were immediately struck with the distinct lack of options. You choose the basics like the number of lives etc, then you choose an arena (from a selection that looks poorer than the SNES version), then your bomberperson. The bomberpeople are all given strange superficial characters so there’s the noble white one (I’m sure someone could write an angry Tumblr post about that), the arrogant black one, the violent red one, the sleepy blue one etc. They have no real personality beyond their single trait and this is demonstrated by their singular facial expression and annoying voice clips before and after matches.

Launching into our first game, it was hard to understand how this game came to be. Visually it looks about on par with the N64 version, albeit at a higher resolution (what looked to my amateur eye like 720p) but the background behind the maps is like a horrible stretched 2D image and the arena, although built out of 3d polygonal blocks, is made up of stretched and repeated textures. Imagine what a Bomberman game would look like if an 11 year old learning to code decided to make an Android port for phones from 2013. It looks worse than that.

Once the game began we realised the ugliness is more than skin deep. The framerate is atrocious, running at an aspirational 30fps that it usually falls well short of during important moments (like when bombs are going off). This really does have a significant impact on gameplay and is what makes this version impossible to recommend over its predecessors. This isn’t just the worst Switch game, it’s the worst Bomberman game I’ve ever played.

In desperation I turned to the online multiplayer, thinking somehow local play was just broken, but the online multiplayer is the same, with lag on top of it. Every time you finish a game you are kicked back into matchmaking (no finding a lobby to stay with all evening) and the only kind of progression you get is based on gaining points in a linear fashion to move you up through the leagues. You start in Baby League B and if you win a game, you get some points towards moving up. If you lose, you don’t lose any points, you just get nothing.

The single player campaign is a similar disappointment. Wrapped in an offensively terrible Saturday morning cartoon wrapper with poorly animated cutscenes, the game is split into six sets of levels (we assume, we only completed the first set) followed by two boss fights. The levels themselves take place in barely-modified arenas and you are tasked with either killing all of the enemies or pressing a number of switches. There’s no AI to speak of, the enemies just move in a semi-predictable fashion, with the randomness being present just to make sure this game doesn’t have any value as a puzzler. Instead you just do the same thing over and over, putting bombs down to trap enemies, until you’ve killed them all. Do that a handful of times and you get to fight the first boss, an evil bomberman who has some kind of special power. The first one has magnet bombs that technically are attracted to you, but you barely even notice because your own bombs stop them. This mechanic didn’t change the fight at all, and instead it was just a matter of playing until the AI got itself stuck near one of your bombs (or one of its own). After that there was an almost-interesting boss fight in an open arena against a giant spider robot. Even though the arena was open your bombs still fired off in a grid, so you had to place bombs to take out its legs while avoiding getting killed yourself.

If you do get killed in the campaign, you simply restart the level, until you are out of lives. If you run out of lives you can continue with a new set of lives if you spend 300 of whatever the currency you get is. This currency can also be spent on cosmetic items (things to go on your head that all look like they were lifted from a poundshop Nintendogs catalogue) and is earned painfully slowly through online multiplayer matches. Hopefully you’ve immediately realised the problem that should have occurred to Konami. If say, a child, wants to progress through the campaign and dies a lot (perfectly reasonably thanks to the input lag caused by the unstable framerate), they can’t continue until they grind out enough credits through the online multiplayer. The multiplayer that is terrible and will be locked behind a paywall for Nintendo’s online service in Autumn. It’s like they tried to ruin this game.

This is without a doubt the worst game I have ever reviewed. It’s a complete scam and represents all of the worst things about the gaming industry. It’s a cash in to take advantage of nostalgia and the weak launch lineup priced far too aggressively with zero creative ideas or technical prowess. This game is an abomination and Konami should feel bad.

 

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The Nintendo Switch is coming, but is it what we want?

So the Nintendo Switch has finally been completely unveiled. It’s coming out March 3rd, which is much sooner than we anticipated, but it’s also going to cost £280, which is much more than we wanted, especially considering that’s with zero games. Only five games are confirmed for launch, a figure we’re not expecting to change over the next month, so we’ve pre-ordered the console and Zelda. That’s it. We’re going to have a brand new Nintendo Console with no multiplayer games. We can’t afford a second pair of Joy-Con controllers because they’re £75. Thankfully Zelda is only £40 on Amazon, but the RRP is £60.

There were plenty of cool little features we didn’t know about, like the IR camera that can detect gestures and distances, or the high-definition rumble that helps to make the joycons feel like different objects (apparently mostly glasses full of ice). While these are interesting and we’re definitely hoping Nintendo can do something cool and make some really different experiences, we can’t help but feel these cool features will only get used in 1,2 Switch and then never again, but are responsible for pumping the price of those controllers up.

The online offering appears to be mostly terrible. Voice chat is possible but you have to do it via an app on your phone. I’m not sure if you’ll be getting game audio through your phone too, but it makes no sense to not be able to plug a controller into your headset. What if you want to do other things with your phone, or if your phone runs out of battery? It seems like an unnecessary complication for a system that already exists in a much better form on consoles from three generations ago. Not only is this voice chat awkward but you’re paying for the privilege, with the ridiculously slight incentive of getting a free NES or SNES game each month (with added online functionality) that you don’t get to keep past the month it’s available.

Of course the greatest problem with what Nintendo have shown so far is with the software lineup. Even looking past the disappointing games we get to pick from for launch, there was nothing to surprise or excite anybody. Bomberman that looks like it did on the N64, re-releases of Mario Kart and Skyrim, a barely changed Splatoon they’ve stuck a ‘2’ on to, identikit ports for Just Dance and Skylanders. There’s nothing that screams innovation beyond the minigame collection 1,2 Switch. Even that looks like it will struggle to justify a RRP of £40, as everyone is saying – it should have come with the console.

All these signs point to a Nintendo that is increasingly out of touch not just with core gamers, but with the market as a whole. Perhaps the screenless 1,2,Switch could capture people who would usually play board games but that’s a tiny market. Casual gamers won’t be tempted away from their iPads and phones, hardcore games won’t leave their consoles and PCs. Instead this feels like a meagre offering towards Nintendo die-hards like me who’ll buy any old garbage they put out. I’m sure we’ll get a Switch, and I’m sure we’ll enjoy Zelda and perhaps a handful of others games this year, but the hype level has plummeted to subterranean levels and Nintendo’s poor decision making is entirely to blame. I’d like to say maybe next time Nintendo, but unless they do something very impressive this year, I’m not so sure there will be a next time for Nintendo home consoles.

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