It's been seven years since the last Bomberman title came out, and releasing Super Bomberman R on the Nintendo Switch made sense for Konami. A current new console to host a rebirth of the beloved Hudson Soft franchise, what could go wrong? The Switch's portability and multiplayer focus seem perfect for Bomberman R's bomb-blasting, puzzle gameplay, and to an extent they are. Super Bomberman R isn't a bad title by any means, but it does have an enormous negative factor stacked against it.
If you've played a Bomberman game, particularly Bomberman 64, you've already played Super Bomberman R. If you were looking for any particular innovation in the series, then you're bound to be disappointed. Bomberman R has the same gameplay that almost every one of the 33 Bomberman games has had. Your objective is to bomb your way through an arena while taking out human or AI enemies. There are upgrades hidden throughout the levels which can increase your bomb strength among other things.
There is a single-player campaign in Super Bomberman R, but it's more of a distraction than anything solid. It does have some cute anime-like cutscenes, which tell the story of the Bomberman Squad as you venture through 5 worlds and fifty levels. However, with each level being a square arena, there's only so much plot you can throw in. I did like the boss battles that occur every 9th and 10th stage, and the huge enemies you encounter do add some variety to the gameplay, but not enough to justify the cost.
Party All the Time
Super Bomberman R does have the potential to be an excellent party game. You can play with as few as one player or as many as eight via TV or two wifi-connected Switches. The online mode also allows for eight players at a time and works well on Nintendo's fledgling Switch network.
However, unlike Smash Bros. or Mario Kart, there's just not enough variety in Bomberman's gameplay to keep players entertained for long. Unfortunately, Super Bomberman R's greatest strength, classic and straightforward Bomberman gameplay, serves to be its biggest weakness in the long run. Most players simply won't be entertained for long by Super Bomberman R unless they're ultra die-hard fans of the series.
You Don't Get What You Pay For
So Super Bomberman R has its issues, but it sounds fun, right? How much would you give for it? Twenty dollars seems about reasonable, doesn't it? Well, get that idea out of your head because Super Bomberman R is $49.99. Instead of pricing this title to move at $15 or $20, Konami is charging almost as much as a brand new AAA title for Super Bomberman R. Most of the time I don't judge a game too harshly for its retail price since each game has a different worth for each different player. I can say though that almost universally players will find that Super Bomberman R just doesn't provide the content or gameplay experience to justify the price tag.
I think Bomberman is cool and cute, but this title is not the launch that the Nintendo Switch deserved. By either offering more new content or pricing the game reasonably, Konami could have jump started the Bomberman franchise, which has been MIA for years. Instead, Super Bomberman R just doesn't give the value or the fun that the price commands. Instead, you're better off saving up an extra $10 and buying The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If you already have a copy, you might want to think about just buying a second one instead of this title. As least then you'd get your money's worth.
This review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by the publisher. Super Bomberman R is available in retail and digital stores for $49.99. The game is rated E-10+.