Online battle royale games based on retro series are a cool new trend and now, the delightful Bomberman has joined in on the fun.
I've been playing Bomberman since the NES days and have been a huge fan ever since. In fact, I currently own about 50 Bomberman games and still love playing them to this day. Anyway, a few years back, Super Bomberman R debuted as a Switch launch game and a year later it received a fantastic Shiny Edition. Now, there's a new online battle royale spin-off! It's pretty funny that it ditches the number of players in its title like Super Mario Bros. 35 and Pac-Man 99 because you play Super Bomberman R Online with 64 players and Bomberman 64 is already a game. In fact, it's 2 games: the Japanese Bomberman 64 having never released in the west and Baku Bomberman being released here as Bomberman 64. Wow, I'm really getting off topic! However, it is fun taking a look back, isn't it?
Before playing Super Bomberman R Online, I kind of expected a massive maze where 64 players scramble around while trying to survive. Thankfully, Super Bomberman R Online takes a much better approach to its gameplay as it starts with 4 players in each of the 16 arenas that compose the map. After each round, some of the arenas become closed off and you can run between arenas so whoever you end up facing in battle is basically your choice although you never quite know what to expect. This setup completely (and literally) blew me away as it creates a constantly exciting formula with impressively lengthy matches; that is, if you manage to survive for long enough.
As you play, you'll earn points, level up, and unlock a treasure trove of goodies. You can also purchase currency to unlock cosmetic items as well as a Premium Pack that contains 14 characters from iconic Konami games and the option to create private matches. I'm happy with how inexpensive the Premium Pack is so I snagged that but I can't imagine a day when I would purchase the in-game currency. Anyway, after you gather a load of items, you can customize your outfit, bobble, bomb type, emotes, and such. One of the neatest customization components is the bomb types because exploding a bag of popcorn only for popcorn to take out your opponents is hilarious stuff. Characters also have their own unique abilities to utilize, base stats, and item capabilities which allows for some variety.
Choosing the right character for your play style is a huge part of the fun. Will you be the generic white Bomberman who can maximize their loadout yet begins with low stats or will you choose a special character and use their ability to gain an advantage over your opponents? Experimenting with what works is exciting stuff and I definitely saw some interesting strategies from other players.
Although I loved my time with Super Bomberman R Online and plan on playing it a lot more, it does have some less desirable qualities. For starters, there's a lot of waiting around. Before starting a match, you have to wait for enough players then there's a countdown, a loading screen that's sometimes very long, and then you might have to wait for some inexplicable reason before the match actually begins. Once, I thought the game crashed but it started eventually. There are also some awful bugs. On a few occasions, I had to restart the game because the menus went off the screen so I couldn't see what was going on. Finally, some players seem like they're cheating. They might be or they might not but one thing's for sure; seeing the same player warp around the maze while getting blasted multiple times and not perishing then collecting items after I do yet they're the ones who end up with them simply didn't feel fair.
Super Bomberman R Online is a literal and figurative blast with its well-adapted gameplay formula as well as its wealth of characters and unlockables. It's a bit buggy in its current state, though, so I hope it gets patched; like... a lot.
- + The classic Bomberman formula is adapted perfectly for online play
- + Rewarding unlockables and customization
- + Lots of different characters and abilities
- - Too much waiting around
- - Currently has some awful bugs
- - Some players seem like they're cheating