In the era of battle royale games, it can be difficult to make one that stands out from the crowd. Everything is a battle royale now from, the classic shooters like Call of Duty, to the less conventional like Tetris or Mario. So when it was announced that Bomberman would be getting its own 64 player battle royale there wasn¨t a huge surprise. It made sense, to be honest. Bomberman has always been chaotic and adding more players into the mix only lends itself to that chaotic nature.
Super Bomberman R Online is similar, but not the same, as Super Bomberman R that came out back in 2017. Except, Super Bomberman R Online is free to play and available for download on Steam, Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation. Super Bomberman R is still a standalone game that can be purchased for about $40 for anyone interested in a more classic Bomberman experience. This may be what some fans of the series want to do because while Super Bomberman R Online is a fun enough game, the shallow nature of it will leave most players wanting more.
Gameplay is simple enough. Four players are dropped onto a classic Bomberman map with blocks and power ups, and their goal is to eliminate each other with bombs. Each player has two lives, so if they get caught in a flurry of bombs, and are unable to escape, they¨ll at least get a second chance. Some players upon death will also drop a heart that gives a player an extra life when it¨s picked up. Extremely valuable in a game like this, because if someone even grazes an explosion that¨s a loss of life. It¨s all very standard Bomberman gameplay. Where it starts to get different is the battle royale aspects.
All 64 players are spread across multiple maps. In traditional Bomberman, if players take too long it will start shrinking the map forcing everyone to get closer until a winner is decided. In Super Bomberman R Online players are instead forced to move to different maps. Forcing everyone closer to each other and there¨s no limit to how many players can be on a map together. It can be two all alone or it can be a chaotic mess of eight people trying to gain control. This might sound like the play is to just survive until the end and let the map do your dirty work for you. That is certainly a strategy, but if anyone successfully clears out a map before the time limit then powerups pour into the map for the player to pick up. There¨s far more incentive to eliminate players than there is to play the waiting game. That is Bomberman at its best. Players running around in a chaos of bombs and power-ups trying to outsmart the other one. Except now it¨s 64 people all trying to survive to the end. It¨s a really fun game that can be extremely addicting, often creating that ＾just one more match￣ feeling.
Unfortunately, the good times will not last forever. The game came out on May 26 and it is really lacking in extra features. There are the typical free-to-play extras like costumes and skins, which actually work really well in this game because every character is unique. They all have their own stats and some of the special characters have special power-ups. Konami even dips into their history with Contra, Silent Hill, and Metal Gear Solid characters all making an appearance as bombers. Unfortunately, most of these skins are hidden behind a paywall as premium characters. There is a game pass that players can steadily unlock skins, music, and other collectibles with by playing the game but that is not recommended, because getting into games is unnecessarily challenging.
A game like this is at its best when the player can jump into games quickly, but the servers struggle to do this. There have been times where a game has been started after only a minute of setup, but there are times where it has taken five minutes. There was one particular time where it took multiple minutes to get the game started, and then the game froze for a few minutes with everyone standing in place waiting for the server to let us play. On average, it can take two to three minutes for a game to start once a match has been found and searches can only be started from the main menu.
#PS5Share, #SuperBombermanROnline Getting into games has taken me up to 5 minutes before pic.twitter.com/JOZHGiDxf1
！ Chris Barnewall (@ChrisBarnewall) June 6, 2021
The best part of any battle royale game is how quickly the player can jump into another game. For something as fast-paced as Bomberman is, a player¨s match can be over as soon as five minutes. They then have to go back to the main menu, start a new search, and wait the standard three minutes for the game to begin. This leaves the player spending more time in menus than playing the game, and while premium players can set up their own private matches, there just isn¨t enough in the main game to justify waiting around that long. That feeling of ＾Just one more￣ is instead replaced with ＾Do I want to wait to die early again.￣
Super Bomberman R Online is an inoffensive game, but while fans of the Bomberman series will love it, most people are going to be frustrated by the lack of features and long wait times between matches. Which is disappointing because this feels like it had the potential to be a really fun game.