30 Games Of April – Day 24

Bombing Busters
Factfile
Developed by: Sanuk Games
Published by: Sanuk Games
Released: 2016
Format played: PS4



Well it’s Bomberman, isn’t it.

What, you need more? My, you are a demanding lot. Okay, for the kids out there who wouldn’t know a Bomberman from a Banaman, Hudson Soft designed the original bombastic series way back in 1983 for the NES. Yes, before some of you were even born. Various sequels and ports followed, the Amiga rather confusingly receiving a renamed version called Dyna Blaster.

Whatever you call it, the basic premise is the same. Trapped in a maze filled with blocks and critters, you use your bombs to clear routes through destructible scenery, catch bad guys in the backdraft and make your escape from the level.

Bombing Busters isn’t about to win any awards for innovation. Back in the day we would have referred to this as a clone, something that used to be common as a successful IP on one machine was slavishly copied by cash hungry developers on another. The core mechanic is virtually unchanged; drop bombs, blow up routes to progress, take out bad guys.

The variation comes in the form of the type of enemy and the means with which to dispose of them. Some enemies will simply wander in a straight line back and forth, making them fairly easy to dispatch. Others have more street smarts, moving out of the way of the blast radius or hiding behind indestructible blocks. As the levels progress new enemy types and events are introduced, including the ability to transport from one part of the level to another via portals, although watch out because the enemy can use them too. At the end of each world is a boss battle, although the game seemed happy to let me progress to the next world without beating him, which seemed a little weird.

You start with a basic bomb with a limited blast radius. As you destroy shrubbery, upgrades are unlocked. This might extend the blast radius, allow you to drop more bombs at the same time, give you the ability to throw them over walls and more besides.

You might be tempted to go in all bombs blazing, taking out shrubs and running gung ho towards enemies but you’ll soon be found out. Each single screen level is effectively a mini puzzle and the key to solving it lies in planning your attack. If you allow the smarter enemies to roam free then they will run rings round you. Instead the trick is to open up enough of the maze to grant you free passage and reveal upgrades whilst keeping the most dangerous critters under lock and key. Once you adapt to this approach, frustration levels soon begin to subside.

Not fully though. I’m not a patient man and I had difficulty reigning in my instincts. You’re not helped by the woeful scripting that bolts a forgettable plot involving an irritatingly voiced Doctor who offers hints and encouragement to destroy the maze beasts. Music is fairly appalling too. It looks pretty though and your little robot controls well enough.

As well as the single player mode there is a co-op mode, both locally and online. I couldn’t bring myself to blow up the missus and so looked for an online game but rather disappointingly after a few minutes of waiting, not a single player had lined up to join my party. Still, I’m sure it’s nice.

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