With its single-player campaign and suite of multiplayer modes, Super Bomberman R was a bit of a treat for fans of the series. Super Bomberman R 2 aims to be bigger and better in all regards, and it achieves it. Although we’re not all that hot on its latest match type, the so-called Castle.
Adding a bit more complexity to the standard Bomberman gameplay, the Castle match type puts players on either the side of the attackers or the defenders, with the defenders being outnumbered. The maps on which players wage war in Castle are larger too, and feature gimmicks; devices such as conveyor belts and bomb throwers that make it harder for attackers to complete their goal. And what is their goal? To collect keys located across the map and use them to retrieve Ellonite, stored in enemy territory. It all sound relatively simple, but in practice it’s chaotic, and not in a good way.
Some might get on with it though, and there’s even the option to build your own Castle maps, either for personal use or to share online with others. When building for personal use you can go all out, making the most fiendish maps you can think of. If you want to use them in the game’s equivalent of ranked matches, however, you’ll find your options a bit more limited. Still, there’s a lot of scope to display some creativity.
It’s outside of the Castle match type that most are likely to find fun with Super Bomberman R 2. You can play a Standard battle, online or off, trying to outwit your opponents while placing bombs and collecting power-ups. Alternatively, you can take part in a Battle Royale-esque Battle 64, where 64 players are steadily whittled down to just one, or compete in team-based Grand Prix, picking up crystals or out-bombing your opponents to achieve victory. And thanks to crossplay, it’s going to be easier to find matches than ever.
Across all of these match types you’ll earn coins regardless of your success and whether you play online or not. These can be used to unlock a huge amount of extra content and customisation items, including characters from other Konami games such as Castlevania’s Alucard, Silent Hill’s Robbie the Rabbit, and more. It’ll take a while to unlock everything though, which might irk those used to having much of the content available in the original Super Bomberman R.
Like its predecessor, Super Bomberman R 2 also features a single-player campaign, and it’s a bit more enjoyable this time around. It’s still not exactly riveting, though. It finds you visiting a trio of worlds, making your way through a number of areas using your bombing skills to dispose of enemies, open a route forward, and solve puzzles. Key to your progress here is locating and freeing Ellons, little wisp-like creatures encased in blocks. A number of these will follow you when found, and you’ll need to keep some of them safe to activate warp points back to your camp and secret puzzles.
You’ll also find your progress frequently gated in each world by the number of Ellons you’ve found. Ultimately, you’ll need to free enough Ellons to explore all areas and find a number of enemy strongholds. Attacking these basically instigates a Castle match against the CPU, with your own base often needing defending, too. Conquer all enemy strongholds and you’ll finally be able to go up against the boss of a world, which offers an encounter a little out of the ordinary.
For Bomberman fans, Super Bomberman R 2 is likely to be a must-have simply because of cross-platform play; it’ll certainly make finding matches easier, and that’s where most of the fun lies with this title. Additional match types also make it attractive for those wanting to play it locally with friends, even if Castle proves to be somewhat disappointing. It’s just a shame that so much content is locked behind coins in the store, and that while the campaign is better this time around, it’s still not all that engrossing.