(Wii U eShop)

Bombing Bastards (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Bombing Bastards Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Lee Meyer

Da bomb or just a bomb?

Sanuk Games' Bombing Bastards isn't so much a Bomberman clone as it is an evil twin; it's an evil twin that is fun to be around and easy on the eyes, but it's evil nonetheless. Everything from its subversive premise to its ironically cheery visuals add to Bombing Bastards' slightly off-kilter feel, but it's the gameplay that will really bring out Sanuk's sinister intentions. With a difficulty curve that borders on sadistic, it's not going to win any points with gamers who are attracted by its casual-friendly cartoon look. For those who miss Bomberman and the addictive puzzle/battle gameplay, however, Bombing Bastards should be a welcome addition to the Wii U library.

Bombing Bastards places gamers in the shoes of the titular robot as he follows orders from Dr. Wallow to destroy every living thing in sight. As the Bombing Bastard, players traverse an arena filled with creatures, obstacles and hazards, planting bombs and destroying all on screen. Folks who have played any Bomberman game (save for maybe Act Zero) will be right at home here, but the core gameplay mechanic is very simple and easy to pick up. The single-player adventure mode is made up of several different themed worlds, adding familiar twists to the stages, like slippery ice and hazardous gas threatening to slow down or even kill the hero / villain.

Arena layouts are randomly generated. While randomly generating the arenas does make for a different experience each play-through, the stages re-generate when you die, so it's impossible to try to memorize or strategize; let one thing be clear — the Bastard will die. A lot. This is a dastardly difficult experience, and not in a satisfying "just one more try!" way. Enemy AI is absolutely brutal; creatures learn to avoid bombs very early on, and we found that power-ups were often the only way to complete stages. Some power-ups expand the reach of bombs' explosions, while others upgrade the bombs to detonate only when the player sets it off.

There are also boss battles in which you must avoid constant obstacles while bombing a giant enemy, but these infuriatingly difficult stages are thankfully skippable. As creatures are so good at avoiding the traps set for them, players will become reliant on these power-ups instead of feeling a sense of progression and accomplishment. That said, finally outsmarting an enemy can be satisfying.

In addition to the single-player mode, a local multiplayer battle mode is available. Multiplayer works the exact same way as Bomberman's storied multiplayer battles, with players scrambling to defeat each other. We'd hoped that there would be a more robust multiplayer component to offset the frustration of the single-player campaign, but with no online features and a limited option set, the mode is disappointingly limited. For fans of classic Bomberman, though, it should be a large draw.

Bombing Bastards' presentation is a mixed bag. The soft, cartoony visuals are pleasant and serve the game well, while the frame rate is consistent and the screen isn't cluttered. Dr. Wallow's announcements when an enemy is killed are hilarious. Statements like "Hasta la vista, baby!" and "Sorry...not!" are corny but charming. The rest of the sound design doesn't fare so well, unfortunately; background music is relegated to public domain remixes. You've never listened to "March of the Sugar Plum Fairies" this much. While it is possible to play on the GamePad, meanwhile, there's no sound at all; it's not clear if Sanuk will fix this omission in the future, but it's a significant misstep.

Conclusion

Bombing Bastards doesn't stand up to the high standards set by some recent Wii U eShop releases, but it's a competent if unremarkable action puzzler. Serving a niche that hasn't been served in several years, it has its place in some Wii U owners' libraries, but for everyone else there are more satisfying and exciting titles to be found on the eShop.

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User Comments (42)

erv

#5

erv said:

Bomberman on wii was lots of fun because of the online...

hypercoyote

#6

hypercoyote said:

@C-Olimar @ekreig You'd be okay with your 10 year old child running around using the word 'bastard'?

Man, I remember how much fun we had with Bomberman on the DS. We wore that game out!

kingc8

#8

kingc8 said:

Bombers born outside wedlock!

It's their dysfunctional family background that gives them their edge!

WilliamK

#9

WilliamK said:

I just watched the trailer and that voice sounds like something out of the Idiocracy movie... ;-) "!Big A** Fries!"

Octane

#10

Octane said:

How aren't they getting sued for copyright issues with Bomberm...? Oh wait... Konami...

C-Olimar

#11

C-Olimar said:

@hypercoyote No, but I know that they'd be mature enough to hear the word without repeating it. When things are made taboo they become more desirable. Look at the situation of alcoholism amongst teens in the UK compared to countries with a more liberal attitude towards alcohol, such as France.

BTW I think it's an immature move from the devs to give the game this title simply to provoke a reaction. That doesn't mean the ratings board have to stop all kids from playing the game. Parents need to take responsibility for their children - you can see the name quite clearly and decide whether you think the game's appropriate for your child.
Hearing the word bastard is going to have no negative effect on a 10 year old child, and the ratings board is right to reflect this.

hypercoyote

#12

hypercoyote said:

@C-Olimar I think that's in reverse, I think things become taboo because they are a problem. I didn't realize that no one in France struggles with alcoholism, but I'm also not a student of the culture there, so I'll take your word that they have no problems with their youth and alcohol. Also, I think if you expect your 10 year old to be that mature, you are going to be very disappointed. Prepare now.

Edit: I am now a student of French culture -> http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/12/143521104/french-lessons-why-letting-kids-drink-at-home-isn-t-tres-bien

World

#13

World said:

Well I think it has something to do with the fact that bastard is a real word with a non-slang definition.

And I don't think I would play this. It looks like an okay enough Bomberman clone, but the "nervous guy who isn't a voice actor" sound of the voice clips and the public domain remixes are just embarrassing. I don't want to play a game with the feel of a YouTube cartoon.

onex

#14

onex said:

So does it support Wiimote or 'mote and nunchuck? because I'd love to get this game for parties, but I only have one Pro Controller..

SanukGames

#15

SanukGames said:

@onex Yes, the game does support Wii Remotes (no need for Nunchuk). You can play with the GamePad plus any combination of Remotes, Classic Controllers and Pro Controllers.

SanukGames

#16

SanukGames said:

@World The "nervous guy who isn't a voice actor" is a voice actor - you can also hear his voice in Mario Kart 8.
The choice of electronic instrumentation of classical tunes is mine - I thought it would fit the zany mood of the game. It was not a choice dictated by budget. In fact, we paid as much as for original tunes.
Cheers.

WalupeachyTime

#17

WalupeachyTime said:

I'd download this if/when it get's released in Europe. Any words on a release date for the European eShop, Sanuk?

SanukGames

#18

SanukGames said:

@vonseux In fact we already submitted a patch to play sound on the GamePad (apologies for overlooking this in the first place).
Cheers.

ricklongo

#22

ricklongo said:

This will definitely be on my library at some point. I play Bomberman since the NES, and I'm a huge fan of the franchise's multiplayer mode since the SNES. Like Nitro Machines before it, it will likely be good to scratch the itch while the main franchise (in that case, Micro Machines) stays dormant.

Jayvir

#23

Jayvir said:

I don't understand why people have an issue with the word bastard. It's not a curse word in any fashion. It's actually more offensive to call someone an idiot than a bastard

SanukGames

#24

SanukGames said:

@Hy8ogen An online battle mode would have been too long, complex and costly for us to implement, at least in a first iteration. Therefore we decided to release the game with offline multiplayer only (but then at an adequate price). Now online multiplayer is something we are looking into, but I'd rather not make any promise at this point.
Cheers.

Hy8ogen

#25

Hy8ogen said:

@SanukGames You are the only game developer that I know of that gets in touch with gamers like this and I really thank you for that! I will be purchasing this game as soon as the gamepad sound is fixed! Wish you all the best and I hope this game sells well :)

Mrclaycoat

#26

Mrclaycoat said:

Bomberman 93 for the Turbo Duo on the Wii VC. It's the only way to go until a new Bomberman surfaces

torotoid64

#29

torotoid64 said:

@C-Olimar I think the problem isn't kid's hearing this and going around calling everyone a bastard. My ten year old brother knows better and has only said a curse once (and cried for two days straight after for purely guilt when I never even cared that he said it) it's more how are kid's going to go up to a friend or teacher "oh I was just playing some bombing bastards" i don't think they HAD to shove bastards in the title. Just my opinion though

SanukGames

#30

SanukGames said:

@MyMogo2 For download games, the ESRB has a simplified process where they ask developers to answer a questionnaire ("short form") about their game. From these answers, which are the developer's own assessment, they automatically give a rating. They do not actually review the game.

Regarding language, the ESRB asks which categories of potentially offensive words the game contains:

  • Minor profanities (e.g., "damn," "hell") => gives E10+ rating.
  • Epithets such as "bastard," "[female dog]," or "jack[donkey]" => gives E10+ rating.
  • "[Donkey]" => gives E10+ rating.
  • "Scatological vulgarities" => gives Teen rating.
  • "Racial obscenities" => gives M17+ rating.
  • "Sexual obscenities or vulgarisms" => gives M17+ rating.

Basically, in this list, the only words that our game contains are "damn", "hell", "bastard" and "donkey". Hence the E10+ rating. Now, if you ask me whether the game is fit for a 10 years old, I'd say no. It's rather fit for teens - not because of the vocabulary, but because of the overly cynical humor. But then this is not part of the questions asked in the ESRB's short form.

Cheers.
Please don't use those words here, even in example — TBD

gatorboi352

#31

gatorboi352 said:

@hypercoyote is my new favorite person on this site because of post #12. That was pure awesome in text form.

You got a Wii U, and by extension, an NNID by chance?

World

#32

World said:

@SanukGames Very interesting. I still don't like the voice style, but that's good info! And I mean, really, just taking the time to respond to my somewhat negative comment is a major plus in my books! Thanks!

SanukGames

#35

SanukGames said:

@sillygostly The problem we have in Australia is that the mandatory age rating costs $890 AUD, and the market is so small (because of the demographics and the not-very-prevalent gaming culture) that we are not even sure we can recoup that money. Other developers I talked to told me that they often made a loss there. That's why, so far, we haven't released our games there, unfortunately.

cmk8

#37

cmk8 said:

I loved bomberman but always disliked the angled view that was popular in later versions. Top down view for me!

AlexSora89

#39

AlexSora89 said:

I'd buy the game just for the sheer hilarity of a game with such a title on a friggin' Nintendo console!

sinalefa

#40

sinalefa said:

@Hy8ogen

The developers of Blok Drop U, Flowerworks HD and Armillo (to name a few off the top of my head) also take the time to post here and listen to feedback. And I love that.

SanukGames

#42

SanukGames said:

A patch has just been released in America to add sound on the Gamepad, giving the game full off-TV support.
The European version, to be released tomorrow, doesn't have sound on the Gamepad yet, but will be patched likewise (we chose to do it that way rather than further delaying the European release).
Cheers.

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