Bomberman Review

Bomberman is a long standing classic that has seen many iterations on many consoles over the past few decades. Its one my earliest and fondest memories of multiplayer gaming, which was an absolute blast (pardon my pun). For those of you that don’t know, Bomberman has its roots in a very simple concept. A cute little guy with a round head makes his way through grid-based levels. He’s given the ability to drop bombs that explode in four directions (horizontally and vertically), and the goal is to simply clear the level of all destroyable objects (and find the exit) while avoiding or killing the enemies. But with the options of power-ups which make you run faster, have more powerful explosions, remote detonate, and ‘kick’ bombs, it quickly gets frantic and complicated. This is the series that defined the description of "Easy to learn, difficult to master," and has been addictingly fun for many, many years.

Bomberman has finally made its way to the PSP, and after seeing the horrid mutation that ended up on the Xbox 360, I was very wary of inserting the UMD into my handheld and having my child-hood dreams of awesome all-night Bomberman matches ruined. I shouldn’t have worried – this game is very true to the original games.

The graphics are all very cute and cartoonish, and while they show up vividly on the PSP’s screen, they won’t blow your mind with polygonal detail – but that’s not really the point. There’s a definitive style at work here, and its inspired by the Japanese sub-culture that is so endearing to us in the western world. After a quick blast through the menu (and very little load time), I was off on my first level adventure. While I don’t remember the game being that hard right off the bat, it certainly brought back memories. Very little has changed in the formula since the classic NES and SNES titles of its heyday.

Some of the changes I did notice were in the power-up system. While (some) previous games gave you the ability to pick up a power-up that is instantly enabled, I noticed that there is now an "Item Bar" on the left hand side of the screen, cleverly filling the void left from having square-based levels. This bar holds a list of all the available power-ups, and any picked up items go there as well. The L and R triggers cycle through the available items, and you can enable them at any time you wish. While this actually adds to the strategy and gives you a higher level of control than previous titles, its easy to forget what you have, and difficult to navigate the menu in the heat of rapid gaming sessions.

There are ten stages composed of ten levels each. Thankfully, this is one game that completely lends itself to short bursts of handheld play, which I’ve found sadly lacking on the PSP platform. You can literally pick this up and blow through a level in 2-3 minutes, or you can play for hours straight. The game also features the famous 4 player mode with the ad-hoc wireless connection ability, and you can play with those three other players even if you’re the only one with the game. This makes it easy to play with friends that may not own the game themselves, and provides some very frantic and amazingly fun multiplayer battles.

With over 150 levels and boss stages, there’s enough variety to keep things interesting, and old-school players will feel right at home with the familiar and mostly untouched format of the past. While I wouldn’t want it any other way, there is a downside. The graphics are solid but not outstanding; the soundtrack is cool, but the effects are lacking in "oomph." My last gripe isn’t really a gripe, but leaving the mechanics untouched means you’ll be in for more of the same, which isn’t a bad thing, but one can only bomb so much men before things start to get old. Ultimately, this classic is making it into the hands of modern gamers, I can only see that as a good thing.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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