When people think of the Wii U, I think most people have their minds set on what kinds of games are on the market. Mario spin-offs, HD entries in decades-old Nintendo franchises, and casual “kid-friendly” titles seem to dominate the conversation. You’d certainly never expect to come across a title like, say, Bombing Bastards – but, nevertheless, here we are with the tale of the latest Bomberman clone to hit the virtual shelf of Nintendo’s Wii U eShop platform.
To say that Bombing Bastards hearkens back to my days playing Bomberman on the NES isn’t entirely true. Both games have a lot of shared features and extremely similar gameplay, to include the crushing difficulty of actually accomplishing anything, but the newer game’s focus on powerups, unconventional tactics, and other “current gen”-style additions really mix up the formula. The “story”, such as it is, revolves around a scientist, Dr. Wallow, who’s created a bomb-dropping robot (that’s you) for the purpose of blowing up as many living things as can be found to advance his quest for galactic dominion. That’s right – you’re the bad guy, here to blow up innocent, probably-peaceful aliens all over the universe.
Now that we’ve got our setting figured, let’s talk gameplay. As a tried-and-true Bomberman clone, Bombing Bastards delivers the sort of experience you already know. Adding to the mix with powerups to increase bomb blast, number of bombs, or even let our mechanical menace pick up and toss his ordnance, the tactical side of sorting out each level becomes a challenge; suffice it to say, it’s difficult enough to be frustrating as hell, but there’s still some kind of addictive hook. Maybe it’s because developer Sanuk Games focuses on the casual and mobile markets, but I found myself “rage-replaying” levels I lost because I simply refused to accept defeat.
I’ll admit, I was somewhat sure I was going to pan Bombing Bastards when it came time to write this up, but the more I think about the hold it had on me, the more I’m not so sure it was actually terrible. The music isn’t great (some electro-pop take on the Nutcracker) and the controls can be a bit less than spot-on, but the visuals and variety are pretty solid. Each level is, to some extent, randomized, so you’re not ever really replaying the same loop over and over, and the powerups and fun multiplayer mode for up to five players offer up some solid value. I’d love to see some more polish to certain elements (and especially the menus), but overall it’s an acceptable entry to the genre, and for a nice $6.99 tag via the eShop, not a bad get for Bomberman fans.
[+Good visuals] [+Interesting traps and hazards] [+Great multiplayer fun] [+Difficult but doable] [-Loose, frustrating controls] [-Music becomes quickly irritating] [-Cheesy narrator and plot]