It's been years without a new explosive multiplayer masterpiece yet everyone's favourite bomber is ready for more. Super Bomberman R is a refreshing take on the decades-old series so let's drop some bombs and watch the chaos ensue.
I've discussed this before, but I consider myself to be the world's biggest Bomberman fan. With 45 games in my collection (some of which are extremely rare) and over 25 years of bombing under my belt, you can trust that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to Bomberman. Thankfully, Super Bomberman R feels like the same old gameplay where you strategically place bombs, hide, and hopefully emerge victorious. It's a formula that combines frantic arcade-style gameplay with strategic elements to craft one addictive experience.
Although it's mostly the same, Super Bomberman R introduces many welcome innovations to the classic formula (especially in its story mode). Completing stages requires accomplishing tasks such as defeating all of the enemies, surviving a certain amount of time, finding hidden keys, stepping on hard-to-reach switches, and even rescuing helpless bots. The stages themselves are designed brilliantly with many new mechanics such as walls stacked on top of each other, moving platforms, different floors, enemy spawn points, magnets, and much more. It's impressive stuff that makes it feel like a brand new take on Bomberman.
Another aspect that Super Bomberman R excels at is its visuals and sound. The story sequences feel like you're watching a Saturday morning cartoon complete with cheesy voice acting, over-the-top characters, and pleasing artwork. White Bomberman and his brothers and sisters are great fun to watch interact as he seems to be the only one who cares about saving the universe. I must admit, some parts cracked me up. If you're the kind of person who digs this sort of humour then you'll definitely appreciate the story sequences.
All of that being said, the audio during multiplayer matches may get on your nerves. Characters tend to repeat themselves far too often and if you're playing against computer opponents then they usually get into patterns where they perform the same actions over and over again thus say the same lines repeatedly. You could go in the options menu to turn the voices off so this isn't a huge problem but it's worth mentioning as it's enough to give you a headache after playing for only a few minutes.
The story campaign consists of five main worlds with eight stages and two bosses in each. Each world acts as a mini survival challenge as items and lives carry over from stage to stage. This is a very cool dynamic as it forces you to always try your best. Once you complete a world, you'll be awarded stars and money for your efforts. Money can buy unlockables such as antennae toppers, playable boss characters, and arena variations as well as entirely new ones, too. Unlocking everything will take a significant amount of time.
Of course, Bomberman shines brightest when it comes to multiplayer. Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy Super Bomberman R with others. For starters, you can play the story mode cooperatively with a local friend. If you'd rather compete then you can play local matches, take the fight online, or even have multiple nearby Switches communicate. Don't ask me how that last option works: I only have one Switch! Battles can be played with up to eight players which is a perfect amount to have an absolute blast (pun intended). There are many options, too, that allow you to adjust things like choosing each match's duration, toggling additional features, and selecting from an array of crazy arenas that will force you to change up your strategy.
Before I wrap up this review, I'd like to discuss a few odds and ends. One issue that's currently a problem is that there is severe input lag when playing online. Konami is aware of this and will hopefully fix it soon. Therefore, I don't think it would be fair to let that affect my score. On the other hand, there are a couple of problems that are less forgivable. Besides the campaign (which lasts a few hours) and multiplayer, there isn't that much content to work through. I would have loved to see modes that were in previous Bomberman games like a challenge mode, mini-games, etc. Along those same lines, the classic Bomberman music is unfortunately absent and all of the enemies in Super Bomberman R are unfamiliar, too. The music is upbeat and fun but I miss the catchy tunes of past games.
Super Bomberman R is an absolute joy to play with gameplay that's as explosively addictive as ever. Besides a few minor complaints, I couldn't be happier that Bomberman's back in a modern interpretation of the series.
- + Same awesome Bomberman gameplay yet with many innovative twists
- + Endearing cartoon presentation
- + Tons of multiplayer options
- - Limited replay value as the story mode is short and there aren't many extras
- - Annoyingly repetitive voices in multiplayer
- - Missing classic music and enemies