Review: Super Bomberman R – The world’s most famous bomber is back on a PlayStation platform after quite a few years of absence. The Bomberman franchise has been around since 1983 and has seen many new parts over the years, including last year on the Nintendo Switch. That game, Super Bomberman R, is now also released for the PlayStation 4 and of course we are in for a game of virtual bombs. The gameplay is classic, but still very addictive and that should be enough for a fun game. We were looking for Super Bomberman R on the PlayStation 4.
Save the universe
In Super Bomberman R you are confronted with the Emperor Buggler who deems it necessary to get the entire universe under his control. To achieve this, he has found five “Devout Bombers” who have each been assigned a planet to hold the scepter on behalf of Buggler. The Bomberman Brothers had a peaceful life, but soon their services are needed to stop the bad plan of Buggler. However, the brothers (and sisters) are anything but seasoned bombers and prefer to relax and above all do nothing. Fortunately, the eldest brother, White, manages to put the club in the right direction to thwart Buggler’s plans.
The goal is to liberate all the planets in the universe from the Cowardly Bombers in order to eventually confront Buggler and defeat. In order to realize this, you will have to complete a number of levels on each planet, after which you will face one of the Cowardly Bombers and if you defeat them, you can go to the next planet. This tune repeats every time you reach the end of the game and that can be done in about four hours. The single player is therefore not particularly extensive, but fortunately it has plenty to offer in terms of variation and assignments. It is also fun to go through the levels with other characters, because the game has plenty of that.
The gameplay of Bomberman has changed little in recent years and in that respect you do not need innovation to be expected in Super Bomberman R. Not bad at all, because the typical gameplay is enough to keep you entertained for a long time. Put bombs, blow up obstacles, collect power-ups and eliminate every enemy. The concept has been the same for years, but to add some variety you will encounter various enemies in the levels and several of them also have specific skills. For example, a frog is difficult to follow, because it jumps over the blocks, where a slimy beast can split in two when it gets hit. You also have the faster enemies, walking bombs, drills and much more.
The challenge will also increase each and every planet, partly because you will receive different assignments. The majority of the levels consists of eliminating enemies, but it is also possible that you have to guide citizens to the end point. Furthermore, you will occasionally have to survive a certain time where enemies keep on spawning infinitely. There are also levels in which you have to find an x-number of keys to open the end portal. Or what about switches you have to walk over to activate the portal. This provides some variation in the otherwise traditional gameplay.
In each level you have to complete the predetermined goal if you want to go to the end portal in order to escape or complete the level. On every planet the first level is very small and the last level is very large with multiple elements. Think of smooth pieces on the ice planet, moving plateaus on the waste planet and there are even more obstacles in the levels, linked to the planet you are on. That makes the levels very varied and every time you are curious about what is coming. This makes the single-player campaign fun to play and also the final boss confrontations are nice.
Every time you have finished a series of levels on a planet, you have to defeat the Cowardly Bomber in two closing levels. In the first level that is in a traditional Bomberman way. So just a grid that you move over in the hope of enclosing the enemy. That once succeeded and bombed the enemy? Then the final piece follows and that is a fight in a often somewhat broader environment where you have to look for the weak spots to defeat the final boss. Because these levels are more spacious, you have more room to move, but that does not always benefit the gameplay.
The normal enemies always move according to a grid in the regular levels, regardless of walking or jumping . However, in some slot levels, the bosses have all freedom of movement and it is therefore difficult at times to estimate how close you can approach such a boss. Also, they do not all have patterns that follow well, because it seems to be random and that can cause quite a bit of frustration, because you regularly make a difference. This is purely because you are approaching a boss too close or can not predict an incoming attack, with the result that you just keep putting bombs until it succeeds.
The bosses are pretty good in themselves, but still differ a bit too much from the traditional Bomberman gameplay and that can be a bit annoying. Add to this that it is sometimes so full-screen, that you completely lose the overview. The same applies to levels that consist of several layers. Here it is sometimes difficult to estimate on which floor you are standing and is even more annoying at the very large levels, that the camera moves too slowly and you do not always see a good potential danger. This can inadvertently take care of your death and that is pretty annoying. Especially if it is not your fault, because the camera moves too slowly or because the levels in terms of design are simply unclear.
Together with your friends
Outside the campaign, you can also Bomberman play with your friends. You can do this on the couch against or with each other and any empty spaces are filled by computer-controlled characters. However, it is also possible to play online and that is possible in the traditional way, as well as via the Grand Prix mode. In this mode you can play to collect crystals, play with a team against others and more. All in all, Super Bomberman R offers enough multiplayer functionalities to keep you entertained for a long time. There is, however, a problem around the corner and that is that it is a bit quiet online.
Online we have not been able to play really big pots against others, because at many moments it is very sparsely populated. It is to be hoped that the population will increase in the long term, because a game like this should have the right of a multiplayer. Furthermore, we also hope that Konami will do something about the credit system, because that is a bit strange now. If you have completed a series of levels in the campaign, you will receive credits. You can use it to buy new characters and maps, but if you run out of your life while playing in the campaign, you will need the same earned credits to buy a new set of lives. Your lives can quickly shrink and automatically also your amount of credits, with the result that you can not buy new characters, maps or items.
Are all your credits on? Then you can still continue playing the game, because then you suddenly do not have to spend any credits on new lives. After all, you no longer have any credits to spend. This blocked the single player progress in the Nintendo Switch version, but Konami has adapted this in this PS4 edition. The solution, however, is half-baked, because how it works now does not make sense. Because why do you first have to spend credits for new lives and later – when all is gone – does it suddenly no longer matter? You can earn extra credits in the multiplayer, but that means collecting a very long gravel if you want to unlock everything.