Super Bomberman R2, made and published by Konami, marks the franchise’s 40th anniversary, and it’s now available on PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch, plus, it supports online crossplay.
Super Bomberman R2 brings back fan favourites from the first title, like the Class Battle Mode and the very popular 64-player battle, which takes place across sixteen fields, where players will face off against each other and a timer. If the timer reaches zero, areas will be closed off, forcing any remaining players to cross over to another map and battle against other survivors. Players are given two lives to start with, with the ability to earn an extra one if they collect it from a fallen foe.
New game modes will include the Grand Prix, where players will be placed in two teams of three, competing against each other in either the standard battle mode or Crystals, where the focus is on picking up and holding onto as many crystals as possible until the timer reaches zero. Players can steal crystals from each other by hitting them with a bomb, and if you are carrying the most at any given moment, you become marked, so everyone knows who to go for to turn the tide of the game, and friendly fire is active.
The massive new game mode is Castle, and it pits two teams against each other, either attacking or defending, but don’t be mistaken, just because you’re on the attacking team, it doesn’t mean you’re working together. Being a defender is a different story again. Defenders are by themselves with some very helpful power-ups to fight against the attackers in this 1 v 15 game mode. Attackers will be collecting keys and opening chests to earn victory, but there aren’t enough spoils to go around.
Attackers will be fighting each other to get the win. On the other hand, the defender wins if they manage to keep any chests safe after the timer runs out. This is done by giving the defending player a powerful weapon to use alongside the bombs you’d normally carry, with choices like a laser beam, a massive sword, or a shield to assist you while you play defense. Each weapon and the associated skill is fantastic for defense, featuring a large area of effect that helps prevent getting swarmed.
The map will also assist you, with automated bomb throwers, laser gates that halt and slow progress, and spawners for little helper Ellons that can knock bombs around and slay the attackers if they make contact. As I played more Castle matches, I noticed that the levels were player-created, which was a great addition that offered a fresh experience, and it means that you can’t just learn the default maps for an easy win.
There is a story mode that has you travel across three planets, rescuing Ellons from the evil Black Moon and their minions. These small aliens need help, and finding them is the key to progression in the story, but you can only take 5 with you. Any others you find are sent to your HQ, which is basically the Castle game mode making an appearance in the story. Just like the multiplayer mode, you’ll need to go back and defend it, and it almost plays out the same way.
The difference is that you can also upgrade the HQ, placing down traps and changing the pathways to help with the growing difficulty as you progress. Outside of this, the Overworld is rather empty, and you’ll most likely spend more time blowing up extra blocks to find coins and gems to pick up. This is how you’ll collect experience, and the higher your level, the more bombs you can place, the faster you run, and your bombs become stronger with a larger blast radius.
The gold you collect from playing multiplayer matches lets you customise your character with wacky outfits, or, if a Konami legacy skin catches your eye, you can buy a special skin from games like Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, or even Goemen from the Mystical Ninja series. Certain skins will come with special skills, like being able to place multiple bombs in a row without having to run the path, being able to knock out a foe without using a bomb, turning invisible to avoid other players, or having extra dash speed to move quickly across levels, so it is fun to check out the skills available and find a character that suits you best.
The graphics are bland, the world feels flat, and ultimately, it’s all just a bit lifeless. It’s nice to have different character skins, but the actual visuals don’t do a good enough job of bringing everything to life. The typical arcade-like techno music pumps in the background, which I found easy to forget, with characters blurting out some cute one-liners as you battle across the various maps, and bombs explode with a retro-feeling boom. The story mode is also completely voice-acted, with the vocals sounding cuter than they should, considering everyone is dropping explosives and destroying the environment.
Super Bomberman R2 brings some fun new game modes to the series, and with crossplay support and an active community, it makes online play a massive attraction. The story and Overworld honestly could have had more added to it, especially in comparison to other games in the series. Bomberman 64 still has the best story and worlds to date.
- New game modes
- Crossplay support
- Player created levels
- Great selection from other Konami titles
- Enjoyable online experience
- Story mode feels empty
- Visually it’s rather bland