One of the more pleasant surprises to come out of the weekend's Nintendo Switch announcements is Konami's Super Bomberman R. This pick-up-and-play title will be ready for the Switch's launch, and looks to be very charming, fun and accessible. For those unfamiliar with the 33-year-old franchise, Bomberman is a series in which the title character plants bombs to eliminate obstacles, enemies and other players in a grid-like stage. The full game will have a story mode in addition to the battle mode (which will likely be the main attraction among players).
We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the four-player battle mode. With simple controls it's easy to get into the battle mode, whether or not you are too familiar with the series. Watching bombs explode is just as satisfying as it's always been in the Bomberman franchise, and things get truly frantic once enough obstacles are cleared and players start dropping out. Power-up items are scattered throughout, helping to speed up characters, give bombs additional power and more.
There's a nice aesthetic to Super Bomberman R. While the visuals themselves are not particularly impressive - polygonal characters and stages do the job with little flourish - there are cartoony animated sequences that will charm any anime fans or fans of the old-school Bomberman games. The story mode in the final build of the game will also have voice acting.
There are a few concerns with Super Bomberman R. On a large television screen there's no trouble keeping track of your character and fast-paced gameplay, but on the Switch's tabletop mode it's a bit hard to see the details of the top-down stages. Since the battle stages are zoomed-out, single-screens, things felt very busy on the small screen.
That being said, the prospect of eight-player battles is glorious, and the 50-stage story mode should make for some classic arcade-style fun. Super Bomberman R isn't going to break any ground with its familiar explosions and mayhem, but it doesn't have to; sometimes, colourful old-school gaming is refreshing in this era of progressively darker and more complex titles.
If the game runs as nicely as it did in our time with it (small screen issues notwithstanding), Super Bomberman R should be a solid choice as a launch title for the Switch.