Pretty hot on the heels of the first Dyna Bomb, Dyna Bomb 2 is here to try and satisfy your thirst for zooming around and blowing stuff up. It’s here a mere six months after the original was released, but can it fare better than the previous entry; a game which didn’t entirely impress us?
Dyna Bomb 2 is a pretty basic platformer, where you can run, jump and hover with your jetpack whilst trying to chuck bombs or fire missiles to take out your enemies. You can play as Jack or Ela, whose holiday is rudely interrupted by the villainous Dr. Brutus and his army of mechanical pests.
Their adventure spans eight different worlds, each containing eight levels (along with some secret ones to be unlocked too). You move from one to the next on a world map screen, in a similar style to Donkey Kong Country. Each level contains jewels, power balls and (most importantly) a key to unlock the way forward. You can bag yourself a “perfect” rating for scooping up all of these, along with taking out every baddie and beating the level within the time limit.
The level design in Dyna Bomb 2 is very simple, apart from a few hidden secret areas which are obscured by fake walls. There was one which featured a spinning block so instinctively I thought it was some sort of puzzle. After five minutes of aimlessly spinning I realised it was just for show. This is a perfect example of the lack of ideas or ambition in Dyna Bomb 2.
Another case in point relates to the range of enemies. You meet a fair few in the first world, but then a very slow trickle of new ones are introduced as you play. Some even follow you from one biome to the next, such as the squid who can be found in the beach environment and then the jungle one, and can climb trees. I know they’re robots and all, but it just feels odd.
In terms of collectibles, rather interestingly you can use your jewels and power balls to purchase temporary and permanent upgrades (respectively) to boost your character’s abilities. For example, to help you through the tricky levels, you can opt for a bubble shield, a magnet to attract loot, or to simply boost your jetpack capacity. More permanent upgrades include the ability to swap from bombs to missiles, which can travel through the solid landscape in each level (for reasons unknown) and prove very useful.
The issue is that in Dyna Bomb 2 you’ll die, a lot. The temporary upgrades don’t really help you avoid this, so end up feeling pointless if I’m honest. This is because you can only take a maximum of three hits, and cannot replenish health mid level. As a result constant deaths stunt any sort of rhythm you may try to get into, and the frustration starts to set in.
What really compounds this is the fact Dyna Bomb 2 is constantly trying to score a cheap death through methods such as hidden spikes, and enemies lying in wait behind fake scenery. The controls work well enough, but lack finesse and your character often cannot move fast enough to react to some very nippy enemies, including bosses.
As well as all of this, hitting your opponents with bombs is infuriatingly inaccurate. This becomes especially annoying when ammo is scarce, as you can’t really afford to waste it. Missiles are slightly better, as they move in a shallow zig-zag pattern, but aren’t without their issues.
As a result, you’ll most likely decide to sack off collecting things and just try to clear the levels as quickly as possible. And given there are initially sixty-four of them to get through, it quickly becomes apparent that due to the lack of ideas in Dyna Bomb 2 there are simply too many levels. Yep, you heard me correctly. The more I played the game and got bogged down in its issues, the less I enjoyed myself.
What doesn’t help is the fact you’ll likely bag all the Xbox achievements by the time you have beaten the first boss, eliminating yet another reason to stick around the long haul.
Visually, everything looks decidedly average and Dyna Bomb 2 is not without its glitches. At one point I got stuck in the pause menu meaning I had to reboot the game as every time I tried to leave and come back, I wound up in exactly the same place. There was another point where I would randomly take damage (despite being nowhere near any enemies) and die. Not only this but the text translation is a bit iffy too, especially with plurals.
But wait, Dyna Bomb 2 features cooperative play. You may be thinking this improves the outlook on things. Wrong. Somehow, co-op play is even less enjoyable. This is because some rather odd choices have been made. If it wasn’t frustrating enough in single player, when playing with a friend you share both bombs and health, making things even more difficult. But the worst decision of all is making you share the one screen. If a player leaves it, they will take damage. As a result, it is much less hassle to just play by yourself.
The price tag attached to Dyna Bomb 2 (£12.49) is three times as expensive as the original, which given that there are a similar amount of levels to play is an absolute mystery. This is a game that would have been better served costing half the price, being half as long, but featuring much more variety.
Overall, Dyna Bomb 2 is a frustrating experience that feels unfairly difficult. It suffers from some strange development decisions, and thanks to the inflated asking price, just isn’t worth a punt.
Dyna Bomb 2 is on the Xbox Store