It’s easy to forget about Bomberman. Believe it or not, the little fella has been around for over 35 years, but unlike some of his gaming peers he hasn’t ever really moved too far away from his roots. Super Bomberman R Online follows the tried and tested formula once again, but this time in the form of big online matches which play across several battle grids.
Now, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years then you may be unfamiliar with Bomberman. Fortunately, there’s a brief tutorial mode available to show you the ropes. It won’t take long as the gameplay is fundamentally the same as it always was.
Yes, it’s all about placing bombs to wipe out your opponents, whilst breaking your way through the partially blocked battle grid at the same time. As you do so, you will open up the maze and find item drops to boost your speed and increase the explosion radius of your bombs, amongst other things.
The classic blend of battle and survival is alive and well, with the action dialled up as matches in Super Bomberman R Online can host up to 64 players. Matches are spread across 16 battle grids, and you’ll frequently move between battle and movement phases. In the latter, certain grids will be safe, others very much unsafe, and you will need to find your way to a safe area whilst avoiding falling blocks as the maze resets. It can get pretty frantic as players attempt to scramble to escape danger.
At this point it’s worth mentioning that Super Bomberman R Online is a free-to-play release, but you’ll only be able to gain access to all its content by parting with some cash. The main way you can play for free is through Quick Matches, and you’ll be able to play private matches but only if you are invited. If you want to host, it will cost you.
For this you’ll need the Premium Pack, which is priced at £7.99 and also unlocks 14 additional characters with special abilities and unique gear. It will also allow you access to new game modes, namely Standard and Grand Prix. The first is the classic Bomberman battle experience, which allows up to 16 players to duke it out. The latter sees two teams competing to win by racing each other to collect crystals, or simply battling to the death. Despite this, Super Bomberman R Online is perfectly playable without having to spend a penny, especially suited for short play sessions.
The currency in Super Bomberman R Online is the “Bomber Coin”. You can purchase these for real cash, and use them to buy characters, accessories and clothing, poses, taunts and more. These extend beyond the Bomberman universe with a few famous cameos joining the fray, and of course the shopping catalogue will grow as you purchase new characters.
Your “Bomber Pass” will rank up as you play, unlocking more in-game content. There are challenges which you can complete as you play too, and limited time events (or seasons) will refresh the unlockables that are on offer (which is a pretty standard blueprint for free-to-play games these days). At the same time, you’ll also improve your profile grade with experience gained from matches depending on how well you perform.
Quick Matches offer classic Bomberman gameplay with more opponents, and matchmaking is quick and effective. However, load times can vary greatly, and sometimes take minutes before the game actually gets going. There are plenty of players around, but getting into the action isn’t quite as quick as it ought to be.
As a free-to-play title, Super Bomberman R Online doesn’t have a lot to offer in all honesty. Quick Matches provide short, sharp bursts of fun but beyond that there’s nothing else to see really. If you and your friends are willing to invest a little in the game, you can breathe some more life into it, but overall it’s a very similar experience throughout.
Super Bomberman R Online serves up some classic battle survival action with a bigger pool of players. However unless you are a big fan of the little fella, it’s hard to justify sinking any of your hard-earned pennies into this.
Super Bomberman R Online is now available on Xbox Store and Xbox One