Super Bomberman R Online
Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Genre: Action & Adventure
Platform: Xbox Series X (Also available on Steam, Stadia, Nintendo Switch & Playstation 4/5)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 27/05/2021
Price: Free to Play
A code was provided for review purposes.
I first played Super Bomberman R Online back in September 2020 when it became a “First to Stadia” exclusive. My experience with the game was exceptional back then but I was left wondering whether it would arrive on other platforms at some stage. Fast forward to 27th May 2021 and we see the introduction of the game to Xbox (including Series S/X), Playstation 4/5, Steam and Nintendo Switch. The great news is that Super Bomberman R online features crossplay. This means we can expect to see busy servers and super quick matchmaking.
Bomberman is a series that most gamers will have heard of as their plethora of titles spans across 35 years of the gaming generation, which is as long as I’ve been living. We haven’t seen many iterations in the last decade, though, with the last one being Super Bomberman R, releasing on most of the main platforms. Before that, it was way back in 2010 with Xbox 360 arcade title Bomberman Live: Battlefest. Super Bomberman R received mixed reviews of which many scored it average.
Super Bomberman R Online follows the same premise as the previous title, but with a real twist. Instead of just up to 8 players battling on the same screen, this instalment will pit you against 63 other players in a Battle Royale type experience. It’s a similar outlook compared to Tetris 99 and Pacman 99 on the Nintendo Switch. Simply try to survive and be the last man standing. You might be an avid reader wondering how this is compared to Super Bomberman R and saying in your head, well that wasn’t a very good game Jordan. Well let me tell you they have vastly improved on the last and made it a joy to play and I had some serious reservations.
Bedlam, Bombs and Watching Your Step!
You’d think 64 people playing Bomberman at the same time would be a headache to play. But it functions exceptionally well in the scheme of things. The game splits you up into random groups of 4 battling out in 16 different arenas, rounds last two minutes before 4 arenas are stubbed out of the game. If you’re still alive, then it is up to you to shimmy into the next arena via pathways. If you make it successfully to the next arena, the timer will start again and you’ll battle it out once more to become the ultimate Bomberman.
Now if you’ve played the Bomberman titles before you’ll know it’s a case of dropping bombs in the arena hoping to kill the enemy. Navigate the maze and breakable walls to get close to the enemy. It is fast and frantic, and you must manoeuvre bomb drops and their blast radius to ensure you don’t make a mistake and blow yourself up.
We’ve never had over ten players in a Bomberman game before. Konami has turned a small casual fun experience into a competitive masterclass. After each round, the arena begins to crumble. Players must then find an exit route indicated by markers on the screen. This results in players funnelling into the remaining arenas. It really makes for some cautious, on the edge of your seat gameplay.
Graphics and Cosmetics Galore
Graphically I felt that the game has had a really polish up from the previous title and it heads back to the visuals we know and love from the arcade-style titles. Super Bomberman R felt a little too basic and blocky, with not much more to do other than play against 7 others and unlock cosmetics. I secured the premium edition of Super Bomberman R Online which grants some unique skins of characters like Pyramid Head from Silent Hill and Snake from Metal Gear Solid. So this was a lovely touch.
The power-ups from the previous games are largely the same, with abilities for extra bombs, extra speed, and blast radius. I think these are toned down to the true arcade titles from the Xbox Arcade games where the end game will give you a blast radius of entire rows. I suppose this was done to balance the experience and not grant players too many perks. There are character-specific abilities that will keep you and your enemy on their toes. They will hit you when least expected.
How’s the Longevity and Replayability?
If you don’t fancy getting hyped up to play amongst 64 players, then there are a few other modes that may cater to your tastes. There is a private mode presumably to invite your own friends into. The settings will allow you to tone the experience back to the classic times of Bomberman. This also seemingly had the carts going around the sides hurling extra bombs into the mix once players had died. The private function can accommodate up to 16 players. If you’re lucky to have 15 others you know on any platform, then some real fun could be had.
I was very surprised to see Super Bomberman R Online introduce their very own battle pass system. Here it is titled “Bomber Pass”. As you gain experience through several playthroughs, you’ll unlock cosmetic items, music for the menus, taunts, speech bubbles and more. This really added some incentive to keep playing the game. It gave some purpose in battling hard through the matches online. The Bomber Pass is a paid bolt-on at £7.99. For players prepared to sink the time into this, it adds real longevity and replay value.
My time with Super Bomberman R Online is full of nostalgia and pure fun. Matchmaking is very quick even in those early hours of the morning. With this being totally free to play there is nothing to lose by trying this out for yourself. You can literally lose yourself for hours or just hop on for that quick ten-minute fix. Konami has done a sterling job with the structure of the ranking system and the bomber pass add-on. With so much to unlock and plenty of levelling up to do, Bomberman has been truly revived. This title is guaranteed to stay on my hard drive for as long as there is a player base. I’m truly happy to finally see this grace other platforms to cater for all ages. Go and have some fun and frolics but keep your beady eyes out for those bomb blasts!
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can purchase Super Bomberman R Online on the Microsoft store here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.