Super Bomberman R isn’t a bad game. At least, I wouldn’t say as much. However, it’s definitely not a great value. Normally we make it a point to not let a game’s price factor into how we judge games here at TechRaptor, but with Super Bomberman R it’s nearly unavoidable. For the cost of a near retail priced game, you’re getting the same amount of content you might expect out of an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive. That, and even though I’m not the biggest Bomberman player it’s still fairly obvious that Super Bomberman R has some issues that other titles in the series simply lacked. Indeed, Bomberman is not at his bomb-iest with Konami’s 2017 release, and one of a few launch offerings for Nintendo’s hybrid Switch console might be a bit of a dud.
Bomb puns aside, it feels like it’s worth mentioning exactly what content Super Bomberman R offers out of the box. The game features two modes of play – Story and Battle mode. Story mode, much like it says on the tin, has the “Bomberman Brothers” adventuring to save the universe through five different game worlds with ten levels each (eight standard levels and a two-phase boss fight, the first phase a 1-on-1 Bomberman match with one of the stories’ enemy bombers and the second a top-down 3D battle with the same enemy in a mech suit of some sort). Bookending each world are some simple cutscenes in a Saturday Morning Cartoon style (cheesy voice acting included), but overall the Story mode leaves a lot to be desired. 50 levels sound like a lot on paper, and the Story mode can even be played locally with one other person, but in reality a game world can be cleared in about half an hour, leaving most players with maybe 3-4 hours worth of content if they don’t rush it. The story mode does include several difficulty modes, but it’s hard to justify going through the motions more than once – especially with some of the mode’s more technical issues.
The biggest elephant in the room would have to be the controls. Much like other Bomberman titles, most objects in the game work on a grid, including enemies and placing bombs. That being said, your playable character doesn’t move on a grid but rather in full 3D motion at all times. This alone makes navigating the mazelike levels that the Bomberman series is known for very difficult. This is especially noticeable for some of the second phases of the Story Mode’s boss fights, as a mix of the very rigid grid placement for bombs, the very NOT rigid movement of your character, and the questionable hitboxes for both damaging a boss’s weak point as well as the range of some of their attacks made the experience feel very unfair at times. Outside of the mech boss fights the controls are alright, but it’s definitely a step back from earlier titles and leaves a lot to be desired.
Bringing the conversation back to content, Super Bomberman R also features a Battle Mode. Splitscreen, Local Wireless and Online Play are all supported – and all modes support up to 8 players (the exception being the split screen mode while the title is in tabletop mode). Online play even allows for two players on the same machine to go bombing online together. That being said, it feels like a bit of false advertising for the game to say that it supports up to eight players in an online match, as that is only possible when every player in an online lobby is playing with someone else on the same machine. The same goes for Local Wireless – you can’t actually hook up eight Nintendo Switches together for an eight-player match, you’re going to have to link four and have each machine accommodate two players.
On that note, I’m not sure exactly how viable the online multiplayer will be in the long run, either. So far, my experiences with online play have both had a degree of noticeable input lag (which I’m sure has killed my opponents, since it has certainly done a number on me a few times!) as well as a disturbing lack of players. I was unable to get into an unranked online match, and more than half of my ranked matches have started with less than four players. I’ve even had a few where it was just me and 1 other person. I don’t think I need to explain how worrying this is for the game’s continued player base, especially considering that the title has been out for a little more than a week. Konami has said that they’re looking into the problem with input lag, but I’m not sure what can be done about a non-existent player base… if you’re looking to buy the game to play some Bomberman online, it’s enough to make me want to say for you to hold off unless you know that you’re going to have a group of friends that you’ll be able to play regularly with.
To sum it up, the only thing Super Bomberman R had that really blew me away would have to be its soundtrack. It’s energetic, peppy, and gives an otherwise mediocre game a bit of energy. It certainly doesn’t justify the price of admission, though. Imperfect controls, a lack of game content, and lackluster online multiplayer makes Super Bomberman R a bit of a dud.
Super Bomberman R was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a retail copy provided by the publisher.
Super Bomberman R doesn't reinvent the wheel and might be hard to recommend to most players due to a lack of value. Its greatest strength is in its local multiplayer capabilities, but a combination of finicky controls, a high price tag for the amount of content the game packs, and a mediocre online experience holds back an otherwise fun game.
- Local Multiplayer
- Decent Soundtrack
- Imprecise Controls
- Lack of Content