Nintendo’s Switch was marketed from the start as being a great device for multiplayer gaming. Remember that reveal trailer with Hollywood-beautiful people playing Switch games while skateboarding, playing basketball or having classy suburban parties? Whether or not that’s accurate to the real-world gaming experience, it’s true that the Switch has a lot of potential when it comes to playing with your friends.
Super Bomberman R, the latest in the long-running series from Konami, hopes to be the game to prove that point, but it’s a little pricey for what it is.
The best and worst part of Super Bomberman R are simultaneously that it’s Just Bomberman. Bomberman has been around for two decades now. You know how it works: each level is a square-based grid, you drop bombs with timers, anything touched by a bomb dies or is destroyed other than the foundation of the level. This means that your goal typically tends to revolve around blowing up destructible debris to upgrade your weapons, then trying to trap your opponents, AI or otherwise, so they can’t escape from fiery death. That’s how these games have worked for pretty much ever, and the formula hasn’t changed here.
So what does R bring to the table that’s new? Well, it’s on the Switch at a time when people are hurting for Switch games to play, so there’s that. It’s also one of the very few Switch games you can play online as of this writing. There’s a story mode with varying objectives and Bombermen to choose from, typically involving killing every enemy or hitting every switch (ha!) to continue; this isn’t the best thing in the world but at least it’s present. You can play with a friend by giving them a Joy-Con, and if you’re really nuts you can apparently create a crazy daisy-chained Switch LAN out of multiple consoles and Joy-Cons. All of this will earn you gems that you can spend on new cosmetics or multiplayer maps.
R also looks pretty acceptable, for what it’s worth. It’s no Breath of the Wild or FAST RMX, so it’s not going to show off the impressive power of your new hybrid console, but it does what it needs to do. There’s typical sound and music as well, which is inoffensive; less inoffensive is the voice acting, because apparently Bomberman has a voice and talks now. I’m not sure if this has always been the case, but it’s certainly a little weird here.
It’s cute and works well enough, though the left Joy-Con is not a device that will be remembered for its digital controls; the lack of a traditional d-pad can be painful in a game built around 4-directional grid-based movement. The issue here is that this is a $50 game that doesn’t have a lot to offer, especially if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time on the multiplayer. Nobody’s wondering why, either: there’s not a lot else to play on the Switch at launch, so companies are in a better position to move your $20 game at $50 now than they ever will be. It’s probably not worth the money at that price.
At $30 Super Bomberman R isn’t a terrible game, it just doesn’t offer much for the money; it would be a completely acceptable purchase at $20. At the moment it’s hard to recommend the game at the full asking price. If you’re patient and can wait out the Switch game drought, wait a few weeks and you should be able to pick up a copy for cheap. If nothing else, you’ll have a perfectly serviceable multiplayer title on your hands.