It's been seven years since we've had a proper Bomberman game on a console. The last was Bomberman Live: Battlefest, but that was only available on Xbox Live and it didn't really feel like a Bomberman game. I say that because over the years we've learned the hard way that just because you put those particular mechanics into a level doesn't mean it has the feeling and spirit of the original that made you love it in the first place. And after 33 years of making Bomberman titles, Konami has had its fair share of awesome hits and total duds. The Nintendo Switch is giving the company a chance to put out a new game on the right foot, so just in time for launch we got Super Bomberman R.
The game has two main modes: Battle and Story. We'll focus on story for a moment. An evil being that threatens to rule the galaxy has made his presence known to the Bomberman home world, and caught the attention of eight multi-colored Bomberman siblings. You travel from world to world clearing out levels and achieving objectives, all in the standard Bomberman fashion (meshed together with animated cut scenes where you lay down your bombs and run like hell to not get killed by your own explosion. When you save a world, you'll progress to a boss fight that makes everything else you just tackled feel like a breeze, eventually moving onto a new world in the system to defend.
As you advance through the game, you soon discover that things aren't all that cut and dry as many of the levels are designed to throw you off your game and can cost you multiple lives in an instant if you're not careful and have a strategy behind placement. Enemies are predictable most of the time, but some will change their style just to mess with you. The worst are anything that leaps over obstacles as there's no real way to determine what direction they'll choose and can become a tedious exercise in predicting the unpredictable as it takes you ten minutes to clear out a level. You also have the disadvantage of having the camera work against you, as it puts most of your levels on some kind of slant, and makes it difficult for you to gauge where your character is to have them turn down an aisle. I died multiple times getting caught on the end of a block that, by the camera's view, it appeared I was clear to walk past.
Another factor that may hinder your progress is what to do when you run out of lives. If you wish to continue from where you left off, you can pay a fee with in-game credits (gems) to continue right there, just like an arcade game. However, if you pay to continue and are still stumped by the level and choose to quit, you don't get those gems back. Many of the levels charge you 300 gems to keep going, which is a steep and unnecessary price. You'll need to go earn more by playing multiplayer battles online, which at the lowest only earn you 20 gems at a time, so you'll end up spending most of your time in Battle if you wish to succeed in the Story end of the game.
As for the Battle end, it's your standard Bomberman setup. Everyone is thrown into a section where you most bomb your way to the center and start killing your opponents. The further you get the bigger the reward. One of the best parts to this is that you can have up to eight players at a time, which makes for a hectic trial but also a sweet payoff if you manage to survive. If the Story isn't your thing but dressing up your Bomberman is, there's a shop for you to spend your gems in. You can decorate your hat and clothing, or buy new levels to compete in.
Overall, Super Bomberman R is pretty fun, but it's got some things against it that will make you grit your teeth. Sure, you can always bite your tongue and yell "git gud" in your own head, but for a game this simple, it shouldn't be slapped with an odd camera and a pay-to-play system in Story mode. The best way to enjoy it is to take advantage of the online battle mode, where you can get an eight player battle pretty easily during the evenings right now. As for the story, unless you're the most elite Bomberman that ever bombed, you're going to run into problems and run out of gems quickly. If they just made the Story mode like a standard arcade, this game would have been ranked higher and been a better title for launch, simply put.