Super Bomberman R 2 by Konami is the latest release in the Bomberman games. A sequel to the 2017 Super Bomberman R, it is available on all formats.
Ready, Steady, Bomb!
6 years on, would this new Bomberman title still bring its historic charm to the gaming world? Let’s take a look!
Super Bomberman R 2 provides both a single-player story mode as well as a single & multiplayer local or online battle mode. My main experiences of Bomberman games growing up have always been the legendary 4 player arena battles. I was happy to see that they were still a feature.
When first playing the game you jump into the story mode where you meet the main character, White, along with their 7 other Bomberman friends. The cut scene is very long and arduous as it is very slowly revealed that a baddie called Black Moon is attacking planets.
The characters’ dialogues each portray their personalities however it comes across very slowly and the over-the-top speech wears you down after a while. You just want to get on and play the game!
When you finally enter the world you find that it is down to your to freely roam around the area while blowing up blocks in your path using your traditional bomb drop-and-run technique. Some blocks give you XP which gradually builds and helps you level up.
While your movement speed, number of bombs and the length of flame that a bomb produces start with low stats, it is not long before you are levelling up and increasing them. While this has always been fun, especially in arenas, it sadly does not work very well in the story mode.
While exploring the world you discover little blue aliens called Ellons. The idea is that you blow up the block that they are trapped in, thus rescuing them. The Ellon then follows you around as you look for more. Ellons are used to unlock the next sector on the planet as well as power up tech such as teleporters for fast travel. You can only have a maximum of 5 Ellons following you around at one time and are paramount to advancing the world.
The issue you have is that while leveling up your Bomberman, the stats increase automatically. The one stat that always keeps you on your toes in the arena is the flame distance. In story mode, this game mechanic sadly fails miserably. Should you deploy a bomb and run back to avoid the blast, the poor Ellons run in a line behind you. While they congregate to you when you stop, they are very easily blown up by the blast.
When an Ellon dies, you lose the ability to unlock the next area if you do not have enough of them. This means that you need to wander around trying to find more. Sometimes it involves going into previous sectors and searching there. It makes the gameplay awfully tedious at times as your progression gets stifled.
Introduced in the story is the new Castle mode. Simply put, you are whisked away to a huge arena where you need to defend your treasure against waves of enemy, all set against a time limit. This time you have more control as this is in effect your base. The more of the story you complete, the more items such as barriers and weapons you have at your disposal. In a tower defense style play, you can design your base and keep adding to it, hopefully making better improvements and preventing the enemy from succeeding.
Alternatively, you can choose to raid an enemy base at certain points on the world. Here you and your Bomberman colleagues race to steal the treasure. Weirdly though, you don’t appear to be on the same team, and should they get to the treasure before you then you are penalised.
Getting to the online warfare there are several modes to test your bombing skills.
There is, of course, the aforementioned Castle, this time with a maximum of 16 players taking on the roles of attackers and defenders. Battle 64, is, unsurprisingly, a 64-player battle royal whereby you play through several arenas in order to be the last Bomberman standing. Grand Prix mode is 3v3 PvP that features a couple of rulesets; Basic Bomber and a mode where you need to gather the most Crystals. Finally, there is my favourite mode, Standard! Here upto 16 players fight to be the overall winner as either a team or an individual player.
There are plenty of game modes but an annoyance is that they are locked in a timed rota. Therefore you can only play them online when they are available. Failing that you can create a Private room or even play offline.
You have full customisation over your Bomberman and you can unlock further items such as characters and outfits all the way to poses, music, and icons from the in-game shop. No extra monetary transactions are needed here!
Lastly, you can design your own arenas for use either in graded online matches or for private room action. The sky is the limit as you generate your own dastardly matches.
Graphics & Audio
Super Bomberman R 2 has no issues with graphics on the PC version. All of the Bomberman characters, as well as the arenas, are colourful and vibrant. The animations are smooth and without any judder despite all the chaos that ensues.
The cutscenes are annoyingly long, while the audio in those sections are a little bit silly. I get that you want to captivate the audience but they really begin to drag on.
The audio, other than the voice acting, is fun. I really enjoyed the arcade feel of the soundtrack. The rapidness of it goes very well with the gameplay.
For me, I played Super Bomberman R 2 in short stints. the story mode can be frustrating due to the constant setbacks. You can’t play your favourite online mode if it’s not currently being played at the time that you are gaming. Ok, you can go private or offline but it takes the fun out of it a bit if your friends aren’t all around and you want to compete against human players.
Does the Bomberman game mechanic work in an open-world environment? I didn’t feel that it did quite frankly. The Castle mode was just pure chaos as well. I think I am getting old as I really only enjoyed the traditional battle modes. Perhaps it was the nostalgia or the fact that I prefer to play as myself and without a team.
At £44.99 on the Steam store, you would need to be a die-hard Bomberman fanatic to buy the game at this price for the experience it offers. Sorry Konami, stick to the original game mechanics for this franchise.
I give Super Bomberman R 2 a Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.