Super Bomberman R (Switch) Review

Ka-Boom!

Bomberman lives! In his first console outing after seven years, it warms me up inside to see the white bomber back in action. Super Bomberman R revives the series’ trademark grid-based bomb battle mode, and it remains a blast. But after the initial nostalgia high, the game fizzles out from its lack of content and lag infested online mode.

Here is the Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

The series is synonymous with multiplayer, and Super Bomberman R’s battle mode steals the show. Up to eight players are locked in a square grid-based arena, armed with bombs in a showdown to be the last player standing. The single-screen arenas are densely packed with destructible blocks that grant power-ups such as the abilities to kick and throw explosives. Customizable options let you decide factors like sudden death and revenge carts, the latter of which allows defeated players to throw bombs from the arena’s perimeter for a chance to get back in.

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You can have up to 8-player multiplayer.

Naturally, frantic action arises from the constant threats of the chaotically placed quadridirectional explosives. Players can carefully drop bombs to trap others, throw bombs across the arena for surprise kills, and stun opponents with well-timed punches. With so much danger on the battlefield, I often lost matches due to my own bombs. Such moments are even funnier when enjoyed with others, which is why battle mode is at its finest when playing locally on one system or with other Switch owners in handheld mode.

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Looks like White Bomber’s blasting off again! *twinkle*

As fun as battle mode is, it lacks the variety that older entries in the series had. Only the standard mode is available, so unique forays like Dodge or King-of-the-Hill battles are absent. Also, mainstay power-ups like remote or pierce bombs are missing in this installment. Although there are a decent number of arenas, they mostly feel like palette swaps of one another, with simple stage hazards like disappearing and moving platforms providing the most pizazz. You can purchase more arenas with in-game coins, but they take some time to grind.

When not playing locally, there are two other options for battle mode. You can play with computer-controlled characters, though there isn’t much enjoyment from doing so. CPU opponents seem programmed to always find the perfect hiding places, making them unfair to play against. The other option is online mode, which should be good in theory. However, Super Bomberman R suffers from an unfortunate input lag where movements you make result in a near-second delay. This lag plagued most of my online matches, leading to unfair deaths because I unintentionally walked into bombs or didn’t turn fast enough to avoid an explosion. In a fast-paced game where a single missed second is the difference between life and death, such lag makes the game unplayable. Konami updated the game to resolve these issues as of this writing, but the controls are still not as tight as they could be.

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Different arenas spice things up.

Though the franchise isn’t typically known for rich single-player modes, I’ve enjoyed Bomberman’s adventures on Nintendo 64 and GameCube, which featured bigger worlds and even some light platforming. Super Bomberman R takes a more classic arcade approach and pits you in a grid similar to battle mode, except with an unnatural isometric perspective that makes movement confusing. Enemies are dull, following simple patterns of meandering aimlessly through the arena and running into you, even on higher difficulty levels. In most stages, the goal is simply to clear out all enemies, which gets monotonous quickly. Though there are occasional missions that task you to hit switches or escort other bombers to the exit, it hardly changes the overall gameplay. At least each world adds a new mechanic, like bomb-attracting magnets and slippery surfaces. Otherwise, there’s little variety throughout the 40+ stages. Two-player cooperative multiplayer is a welcome addition but doesn’t improve the tedious gameplay.

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The isometric view is unsettling.

The few shining moments that story mode delivered were the boss encounters with the Five Dastardly Bombers. Each boss comes in two forms: a fast-paced one-on-one bomb battle followed by a duel with a gigantic robot. Requiring strategic moves and quick reflexes, these larger-than-life duels were easily more gratifying than the typical stages. In addition, the Five Dastardly Bombers, along with the eight colorful members of the Bomber team, are brimming with personality, producing an entertaining story. Simple still-image fully-voiced cutscenes featuring the misadventures of Bomberman and his family mold the pink-antennae bombers into lively, likable mascots.

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Blasting off giant mech bosses is the highlight of story mode.

From a visual standpoint, Super Bomberman R looks bland. While minimalistic graphics are acceptable for an arcade-like experience, better visuals could have cloaked the lackluster arena design. The music is more impressive, delivering upbeat synthesized tracks to accompany the on-screen action.

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One glance is all it takes to determine everyone’s archetypes.

If you’ve ever played a Bomberman game, nothing will surprise you about this modest entry. The fast-paced multiplayer action remains on top of its game, provided you’re not playing with the laggy online mode. But it’s still a tough sell, considering we’ve seen this standard battle mode before, and done better in some cases. Unless this is your only means of playing old-school Bomberman, there are cheaper and more content-rich options on older consoles. More than anything, Super Bomberman R serves as a blip on Bomberman’s heart monitor. As a fan of the series, I’m excited that the little white bomber is back, but he deserves better than this.

Score: 6/10

Note: This review was originally posted on DarkStation in April 2017, based on Version 1.2 and slightly updated for Version 1.3.1. As of this writing, Version 1.3.1 is the current version with Version 1.4 on the way.

What are your thoughts on Super Bomberman R? What’s your favorite game in the Bomberman series and why? What other gaming mascots would you like to return? What does the “R” stand for? Please share any thoughts in the comments section below! Thanks again for reading!

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60 thoughts on “Super Bomberman R (Switch) Review

  1. Nice job on the review! I never played Bomberman in its previous forms. This game was OK. I could manage if playing alone, but I found myself getting lost in the chaos in multiplayer mode. I’m curious about the other incarnations of Bomberman, but right now the Switch game is my only access to the series. And I guess that’ll do. Great job covering it in video form too! I hadn’t actually seen it much in action aside from the times we played it together! Maybe we can play some older Bomberman games too! I wouldn’t mind trying that GameCube Bomberman in the video!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much as always for your support and encouragement! I love the Bomberman series and the character even more, so it’s sad that this wasn’t up to speed. Though I AM happy that he’s back overall, since I was worried the franchise was dead. Hopefully, Konami continues to show him love with updates and maybe even a new, better game following this!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This game looks like a lot of fun. It sounds like it fell a little short, though, which is a huge bummer! I didn’t realize they were coming out with a new one. The last Bomberman game that I played was on the N64. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, Bomberman is back, which surprised me, since he was missing for almost a decade. I personally haven’t played a Bomberman game since GameCube, but I had great times with the series growing up. I love all three Bomberman games I played on N64! Out of curiosity, which one was the one you played?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly have no idea which one it was. At the time, I didn’t have any game systems of my own. My neighbor had an N64 and we would play together frequently. This was when I was in elementary school, so it never occurred to me to wonder what the game was called other than Bomberman. I remember loving the game, but it was hard to play together because it was only one-player. I died too often to advance beyond the second or third level in the game. Those dust bunnies were formidable foes!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m guessing it was the original Bomberman 64, which is such a nostalgia trip for me. It was actually my first Bomberman, so I liked the concept a lot. One player was way too hard though. I barely got through it. The sequels, Bomberman Hero and The Second Attack, were much better, especially the latter. It had a great one-player mode and classic multiplayer. Too bad it’s so rare. Thanks again for your wonderful comments! 🙂

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  3. Some of that definitely sounded rather disappointing. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have all the classic battle modes like King of the Hill here. The online being laggy definitely sounds like Nintendo though as the same problem happened with Super Smash Bros. It’s a shame since I really love the core gameplay of Bomberman. It’s a lot of fun and this should have been a really awesome game. I can definitely see why you gave it a 6 after all of that. I’ll probably get it when I get a Switch but I’ll be hoping for a nice price drop by then.

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    1. Yeah, I almost forgot about those modes until I thought about the old Bomberman games. I especially loved Dodge Battle even if all you did was run away from bombs. I’m not sure whose fault the lag is because I haven’t had too much problem with the ARMS testpunch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or even Sega’s Puyo Puyo Tetris. Yet I had a lot of problem with Super Bomberman R, even with a good connection. It probably depends on who you’re playing with, but I didn’t have a great time with online. I love the core gameplay of Bomberman and wanted more of it, which is why I couldn’t justify giving it more than a 6. Konami is updating it soon, so hopefully by that point, there’ll also be a price drop, at which point, I can see it being a good buy. Otherwise, at its current $50 price point and poor online, it’s a tough sell. Thanks for your great comments! Let’s wish for the best for future Bomberman titles!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review. I never played the older games too in depth, literally once or twice with a friend but I do see the appeal. It’s a shame they missed the mark on this one with little content and bad online experience.

    Here’s hoping they patch it more and introduce more items via DLC. On paper this should be a hawt game for switch owners

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much man! Always appreciate your wonderful comments! This really should have been the one. Online Bomberman plus multiplayer on the go? I believe it can be done, and Konami is updating the game with new content, but I’m not yet sure it it will be enough. We’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your nice comments! It’s unfortunate because an 8-player online Bomberman was released about a decade ago and it apparently worked fine. It was much cheaper too, which makes this version feel like an expensive downgrade. Konami was probably super confident that the online alone would sell the game.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I ended up renting this after the latest patch since I heard about its launch woes from others. I still didn’t care for it too much, though it wasn’t necessarily bad. Your 6/10 is entirely fair. I thought story mode was kind of cute and the simplicity of the game worked perfectly when co-opping using two independent JoyCon locally, but there just isn’t much to sink your teeth into when the online mode was still a lag-ridden mess. I’d like to jump back in later to check out the Silent Hill and Castlevania characters they’re adding in, but I’m sure it’ll be a short return trip.

    Great review ^__^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much CBA! And I think renting this was a spectacular idea. I definitely don’t hate the game, but an important part didn’t functionally work and the rest of it was bland. I still have had fun with this, but considering what comes in this pricey package, I regret buying it. I’m looking forward to the update, and I sincerely hope Konami looks into adding some other bells and whistles similarly to how Nintendo handled Splatoon. I’d love new modes, of course!

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  6. Great reviews! Seriously, what does the R stand for? Also, I’ve been randomly re-playing Bomberman Generations. It’s not amazing, but you can tell they packed a lot into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always my friend! And no way! You’re playing Bomberman Generation?! That’s hilarious, since I pulled it out just to record for the video. It’s so much better than this one. Bomberman Jetters for GameCube was good too, but that original with the Pokemon-like creatures was so fun. Good times!

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  7. I think I’ve only really played Bomberman 64, Bomberman Hero, Bomberman, and some of Bomberman Quest. I don’t remember enough of Bomberman Tournament to have an opinion on that one, nor do I remember to much about Atomic Bomberman. Bomberman Quest was a pretty neat concept, though. Basically it was like a Zelda game with Bomberman mechanics. Bomberman Hero is cool for a platformer with Bomberman mechanics, but it was a tad short and easy until the end when the difficulty spiked hard. And the original Bomberman on NES… I mean I technically played the NES Classics version on GBA… but that one is more or less where this one gets its gameplay ideas, or so it sounds. So perhaps the R means Retro or Return or… Reboot. I don’t know. The name is silly. Bomberman 64 is still my favorite probably. I like the interesting puzzle platforming stuff with the cool levels, minibosss, and bosses. It has some cool music and a real adventurous feel to it. Plus, that battle mode is bananas! The way they implemented the 3D with the gameplay in multiplayer was pretty sweet. So definitely still that one… plus the nostalgia doesn’t hurt. Though no Switch means I have not played this one myself to have a firsthand opinion. As for mascots coming back… I think you know damn well I want the bear and bird to come out of retirement! Make it happen, Rare!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bomberman 64 was my first Bomberman game, and while I liked it a lot, it’s very different from the norm. It’s interesting! When I was introduced to the traditional multiplayer, I fell in love with that. I’m a big Bomberman Hero fan too as a fan of single player platformers. I like that they tried something so out there as giving Bomberman the ability to jump. Very underrated game. I haven’t played Bomberman Quest, but that sounds along the line of what I liked about Hero: a unique experience that places Bomberman in a different genre. I’d love to see more of that, though I’m guessing we’re only going to see traditional Bomberman from here on out. Agreed about bringing Banjo-Kazooie back though!

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      1. This is assuming we even get more Bomberman after this. I don’t know how well it’s selling but if it does real well I’m sure Konami will be eager as ever to turn it into a pachinko machine no time 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much! I was actually just talking to someone who was confused about me putting my reviews in video form, and I talked about serving different audiences, and that there were super awesome people who supported me in both. You are definitely a super amazing person for supporting me on YouTube and I’m so so happy you enjoy the videos too! It means a lot to me, and I will keep making sure you know that! 🙂 I would love a Bomberman amiibo! I’ve always been an advocate for Bomberman in Smash Bros. If he gets in there, he’ll have an amiibo! If you need an intervention, then I’ll come get one too, as long as we get to go shopping for amiibo afterwards. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a shame they didn’t do more with it. Bomberman would make an adorable amiibo or even stuffed figure! He’s a good mascot they could cash in on, but they need to do a bit more with the game(s). The opportunities are truly limitless, and I’d love to see a full Bomberman platformer or even RPG!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny enough, they do have a Bomberman platformer AND RPG! I actually made a comment on the YouTube video about those games! The names are Bomberman Hero for the N64 for the full platformer and Bomberman Quest for GBC for the RPG. I love Bomberman Hero because it gave Bombermn the ability to jump. It didn’t even have a multiplayer mode which shows you how dedicated they were to the single player cause! I actually saw Bomberman plush pillows at an anime convention last week, which I really wanted. So it’s certainly viable for marketing. If only Bomberman were in Smash Bros, then he’d be guaranteed an amiibo! XD Thanks for your comments! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw the comment! For some reason I can’t comment on the google notification, but I did +1 it 🙂 That makes me happy that they already have those types of games! I don’t have an N64 anymore, but I may be looking to get one. I greatly enjoyed the Bomberman games I played.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmm, that’s weird. I usually have to make a comment directly on the video, so I wonder what’s going on there. Thanks for the +1 though! And yes, if you get an N64, I would recommend Bomberman Hero if you’re looking for that full platformer. I enjoyed the bomb puzzles/action and techno soundtrack a lot! It also happens to be one of those games Nintendo actually released on Virtual Console, so that’s an option too.

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  9. Amazing review as always. I’m an old time Bomberman fan and enjoyed playing this at a Nintendo Switch event with three others in an arena battle but I have to say the boss battles in the story mode that you just showed off in your review seems more enticing from a single player perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! The boss battles are pretty fun and definitely the best part of story mode. Unfortunately, you always have to play through the entire world before facing the boss, even during replays. It’s also unfortunate there are so few of them. I would have liked an entire campaign with larger-than-life enemies! Thanks again for your insights, and I’m glad you enjoyed playing the game at a Switch event!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ooh, great choice! I’ve only played one of Bonk’s games, but I enjoyed my time with it. I’d love to see Konami give updates to all of Hudson Soft’s games!

        Like

      2. I’d be interested in a game done in the style of the new show. I think a 2D anime-style game would be gorgeous. We got Castlevania Judgment, which had more of an anime style thanks to designs from manga author Takeshi Obata of Death Note fame. I’m looking forward to the show, so hopefully it does well.

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      3. Huge Death Note fan so of course I fell in love with Judgement’s art direction, shame the game itself wasn’t better. Speaking of Castlevania, I was pleased to see Mercury Steam had been handed development duty of Metroid: Samus Returns, they did good work on the vania series, mostly.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I haven’t played the Lords of Shadow games, but they seemed fun. I did try out the Mirror of Fate demo for 3DS, but I didn’t like it enough to get it. Metroid: Samus Returns looks go so far though!

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      5. I’m excited for Samus Returns too, loved Super & Metroid Fusion. Hell I had a damn good time with other M as well so a new (remake) 2.5D Metroid title couldn’t be higher up my, to buy list.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’ve been waiting so long for a 2D Metroid. I know it’s a remake, but it’s a much-needed one. Hopefully, this opens the floodgates more 2D Metroids. That’s what I want most from the series right now.

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