Super Bomberman R Shiny Edition Review
Fans of popular couch co-op games like Overcooked and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime will enjoy being able to yell at their partners once again as they work together to accomplish fast-paced goals on a shared screen in Super Bomberman R Shiny Edition; a title that came out of Switch exclusivity with its debut on all platforms last week.
I played this game with my dad this past weekend, and it definitely brought out my competitive (some might say short-tempered) side. The mechanics were simple enough that even someone generally unfamiliar with a controller in hand could pick it up, and there is little to no variation in its gameplay: drop bombs to clear barriers and kill enemies and get the hell out of the way.
Super Bomberman R lacks a lot in terms of general risk-taking, but it is extremely fun when played with company. It’ll have you boxed into claustrophobic quarters where the only escape is achieved through bombing your way past hedges, and the multiplayer aspect adds equal parts stress and entertainment. One moment you’ll be carelessly running away from your own enemy, and the next you’ll be tripping into the line of fire from the bomb your partner dropped just seconds ago. You’ll curse them for getting in your way, and then, after miscalculating the reach of your own bomb, blow yourself up mid-course. It’s a frustrating, exciting, and addicting experience that’s perfect if enjoyed with another person … provided their own fuse isn’t too short.
While the multiplayer capabilities are truly where the game shines, it still can be enjoyed solo with its story mode. We were able to finish it in about four or five hours, but one person who is comfortable with games could easily knock it out in less on the ‘easy’ setting. The experience is perfectly smooth and the controls are basic, making it a great option for players of all levels.
The story mode leaves much to be desired in terms of unsophisticated cutscenes and overall plot, but to its credit, each level is well designed and the bosses are a healthy challenge. Level objectives range from simply wiping out every enemy on the map to guiding a group of helpless characters to safety while keeping them out of harm’s way, and creative caveats in each unlockable land force you to come up with different strategies. From timing out your jumps across moving platforms to slippery ice that can slide you right off the edge of the map, each puzzle brings something a little new to the table.
The Same Bomberman You Know and Love
The issues with Super Bomberman R lay not with its mechanics, but with its lack of adventurousness. It follows too closely the formula of past Bomberman games and stunts the potential for strategic “combat” abilities. Sure, the idea is to drop bombs the entire way … but is that really all there is? Are there really no other moves we can perform or tactics we can map to the controls? There is nothing but room for creativity in a game where only one action is available, and Bomberman does not take advantage of this. The story mode, while delightful in its puzzles, is also much too short and could go even further to encourage replayability.
The Battle Mode and Grand Prix are where the game earns replayability, as it supports up to eight players online on non-Switch platforms and offers an exciting and timeless showdown. It easily fits into the category of games that parties reach for alongside Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros., and it seems that the developers are comfortable with keeping it there.
While future Bomberman games have the potential to assert themselves as more lengthy and strategy-demanding titles deserving of a mind-blowing rating, the current release really is just lighthearted and fun … and that’s just fine.
Accessibility note: Audio cues for enemies and actions do not play a role and all cutscenes are automatically captioned.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Fun and addicting
- Just the right amount of stress
- Loads of customizable content
- Excellent for children/families
- More of the same
- Unrewarding for solo players