Bomberman can easily be defined as one of the greatest multiplayer games ever created. A Bomberman game has graced almost every system since NES, with the newest installment on the Nintendo DS. Bomerman DS was released in Japan on May 19th with exciting new features. With the new gameplay elements and the DS’s special hardware, Bomberman DS has the potential to be the greatest multiplayer Bomberman yet!
Bomberman DS evolved through many different changes since it was first shown on the show floor of E3 2004. Originally, one screen would display all the action in a 2D overhead map while the other would be presented through a 3D world. Over the development cycle, the game’s concepts have changed dramatically, but Hudson Soft finally found a great sense of balance with the final product.
Like most Bomberman games, this DS version contains both single player and multiplayer modes. In single player mode, players will travel though horizontally scrolling maps, planting bombs to create new passageways. Since enemies will be blocking the way, the player will need some power-ups and special items to complete the ever-enjoyable task of killing bad guys. Once certain walls or enemies are destroyed, they may drop items. In the past, once a power-up or weapon icon was collected, it was immediately activated. However, the DS version uses a new way to activate items.
Once a weapon or item has been collected, it becomes stockpiled on the bottom screen. Through the touch screen, the player can choose which powers to activate and when. This interface looks extremely easy to use as only a single touch will be necessary to activate them. This power-up when you want gameplay mechanic could enhance the strategy behind Bomberman. Why? Because if you power up your character with many enhancements and die, everything is lost. But this also means that after death, it is possible to immediately power yourself up again, granted you have the items in stock.
Unfortunately, Bomberman has never really been that great of a single player game. The main focus of Bomberman is the multiplayer mode and the Nintendo DS version has it in spades. The best news for Bomberman players is that Bomberman DS has a single cartridge multiplayer option for up to eight players! Since the Bomberman multiplayer battlefields extend through both screens, eight players can fit comfortably on the DS’s screen without feeling over crowded. Tunnels or passageways link the top screen to the bottom screen, which could make for a tactical ambush point. The single player stockpiling of items technique has been eliminated for multiplayer mode. This means that once an item or weapon is picked up in multiplayer mode, it is immediately activated.
The game features many different types of multiplayer modes too. Every man for himself battle royal mode or even team based combat is all possible on the DS version. The game will feature many different types of battle mode stages as well. Also, to add to the game’s functionality on the DS, the microphone can also be used in multiplayer combat. Screaming or even blowing into your DS’s microphone can cause your character to drop or activate bombs, or even put up a defensive shield. Bomb Revenge mode will also utilize the touch screen. Once a player dies (when Bomb Revenge is chosen in the options menu) that player will then be taken off the main stage and placed on the perimeter of the screen. He can then drop bombs on the surviving players. This is a fantastic form of play to any Bomberman game because the player is still involved in the game even after they die. This prevents any boring waiting around sessions. However, the player will use the touch screen to throw these Revenge bombs onto the playing field. Bombs can be tossed by sliding the stylus or finger across the screen. The faster the flick, the farther the bomb will be tossed.
Bomberman DS has the potential to be one the best multiplayer games on the system. The single cartridge link mode, voice input, and touch screen support use all the DS’s best features with much innovation. Ubi Soft plans to release Bomberman DS stateside later this month. Blowing your friends up has never sounded so good.