*This is a guest article written by Cosmic Saboteur. If you enjoy it let us know in all the usual places and we’ll make sure we get him back again soon!*
Super Bomberman R Online is the latest release in the Bomberman series. The original game, which was released in the 80s, followed a simple premise; dropping bombs in the hope that the blasts will eliminate your opponent.
“R Online” takes that same premise and combines it with the popular game mode of a Battle Royal. 64 players go head to head over sixteen mini maps, which are systematically eliminated, by rounds, until only one map is remaining. To win the game you will have to break through the blocks in your way in order to reach and battle your opponents.
By collecting power ups along the way you can gain a tactical advantage over your opponents. The basic power ups will increase; the amount of bombs you can drop at once, the bomb blast range and how fast your bomberman can traverse the map. Pierce bombs will blast through blocks knocking out unsuspecting opponents while the bomber-kick and bomber-punch allow you to move bombs after they have been placed. There is nothing more satisfying than trapping an opponent who thought they were safe by lobbing a bomb over a block. Finding an egg on the map is a rare occasion but will give you the ability to roam the map on the back of a Louie – a kangaroo-esque creature. That will not only make you feel like an absolute boss, but will also protect you from a blast; effectively acting like an extra life when you ordinarily only have two.
From the word go the game is action packed and as the game progresses the mayhem only continues. Players, who have not been eliminated, are forced closer and closer together as the rounds progress. By destroying your enemies you have the opportunity to steal their power ups and those who are able to eliminate all the opponents within their mini map during a round, will be rewarded with a wealth of power ups with no one to contest them. Keeping your cool is essential as panicked miss clicks, and lapses in judgment, can easily have you walking into the blasts of your enemies – or worse yet…. Your own bombs! Which I can tell you from personal experiences is far more frustrating!
The Battle Royal mode is currently free to play but to create your own private matches will require an upgrade to Super Bomberman R Online Premium which, although frustrating, is only £7.99. Additionally only the host is required to have the premium, which is only fair; after all Konami Digital Entertainment have to make their money somewhere. The Premium also comes with extra characters with different abilities and where this may sound dangerously close to “pay2win”, the good news is that the most scalable character is the original which is free for everyone to play.
The last session I played, I was showing it to a friend. What started as a small 20 minute “here are the basics buttons” session, turned into an entire morning of explosion after explosion as we tried to climb the ranks. It’s definitely a fantastic game for playing with a friend while taking turns and I am looking forward to getting a group of friends together to play in a private match soon.
My main criticisms so far have been that the matchmaking can be slow, depending on the time of day, and the competitive ranking system they use does not seem to filter players by their rank. So, when I started as a bronze player I was coming up against far superior Grandmasters. The way the rank progressions seem to work is as you progress it becomes more and more important to survive into the later rounds or you are docked points. Whilst this still makes the ranking system competitive, it is hard not to feel cheated when surviving to the final round only to come face to face with a veteran who is able to make quick work of a relative noob like myself.
In a nutshell, despite the mixed reviews on steam, my opinion on the game is very positive. For me it is nostalgic and takes me back to the days of the Playstation 1; riding about on a Louie. Even if you are unfamiliar with the Bomberman series the simple controls allows anyone to jump into the game and start wreaking havoc.
*PC version (Steam) played for this review.