Reviews

Bomberman Live: Battlefest

Release Date: Out now on Xbox Live Arcade
Developer: PI Studios 
Publisher: Hudson
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: Yes
Multiplayer: Yes

Bomberman is a legend, an icon in the gaming world.  I couldn’t even begin to explain what he means to many gamers around the world who played the Bomberman games as they grew up, and now he makes another appearance on Xbox Live Arcade with the best Bomberman package to date.

For those unfamiliar with the idea behind the Bomberman games, it plays in a top-down view in a square made of indestructible blocks and destroyable blocks. Your goal is simple, you and three other people move around dropping bombs to try to kill each other, it really is this simple. Of course, in theory it’s all simply, in reality it’s a mixture of tactics and all out mayhem as you attempt to trap and obliterate your opponent to win the game.
Along the way you get to lay claim to power-ups as well to make you even more deadly, of which the game also throws in a few new ones.
The gameplay may be old now, but it still retains the old charm and simplicity which made Bomberman so popular. Learning how to corner opponents and destroy them is satisfying and the game is even better with friends.

Deceptively simple, delightfully explosive.

Of course just having plain Bomberman would have been fine enough, but it’s been done so Bomberman Live: Battlefest blows that out of the water by adding in a load of new modes, customisation for your character, the ability touse your Avatar and Xbox Live play. Sweet.

Of the new modes it’s easily Bankroll that captures the show: as you blow up unlucky enemies you gain cash which you can then spend on power-ups between rounds. It’s a fairly simple concept, but one that works extremely well and careful use of your money is quite important, but it never unbalances the game and you never feel as though your opponents have too much of an advantage when they have more money.
Along the way money will be dropped when you destroy some blocks as well, so balancing going for them or the enemy is important.

And I shall be called.... Geek-Man and I shall save those from injustice and confusing rules in Warhammer.

Other new modes include Capture the Crown, which see’s you simply grabbing the crown and then trying to stay alive for as long as possible, while VIP tasks you with keeping your VIP alive while killing the enemy VIP to win. There are a good few other modes packed in here as well including Tile Paint which simply asks you to capture the tiles.
There are also team variants of all these modes as well, which is great news as all of these modes are playable in multiplayer which can now take up to 8 players (if you’re playing Team Modes.) and it’s freaking carnage online, so get ready for mayhem.
As an added bonus you and friends can also play locally, so it’s the perfect excuse to get some beer in (or wine if you’re that way inclined) and blow the living snot out of each other, in a safe and secure way obviously. Remember kids, health and safety.

There are plenty of new themes as well to give Bomberman a fresh new look aided by the customisation options which let you play around with the match settings quite a bit, such as choosing what power-ups will be available during play.
You can create your own Bomberman to play as by switching faces, hats and clothes to create your own little psychopathic bomb carrier or you can use your Avatar which never gets old.

In the background is a chirpy soundtrack which makes you smile, but it is lacking in variety so don’t be surprised to find yourself getting a little tired of it after a while, but it’s catchy and suits the bright and vivid art-style well.
Of course something like Bomberman was never going to test the graphical capabilities of the Xbox 360, but the game looks nice and the coloring is spot on.

Bombermans return comes with the classic gameplay, more modes, more themes and more options equalling a thrilling and welcome return to Xbox Live Arcade, and for 800MSP who can fault it?

The Good:
+ Catching an opponent between three bombs and seeing them accept defeat seconds before they get obliterated.
+ Narrowly avoiding multiplayer bombs using perfect timing.
+ Watching Avatars blow the hell out of each other.

The Bad:
– I didn’t even see that bomb 🙁
– Not quite being behind a solid block and dying.

The Scores:

Graphics: 7.5
Bright, pretty and cute. It’s hardly stunning but the simple cartoony feeling looks good enough.

Sound: 7
Decent voice acting  and the music is enjoyable, if somewhat lacking in variety.

Story: 0
Whats a story?

Gameplay: 8.5
Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps, but this is still great fun and playing with your mates is simply brilliant.

Lifespan: 7.5
Entirely dependent on how addicted to it you become, but the different modes along with multiplayer should keep you hooked for a good while.

Overall: 8.5
Bomberman Live: Battlefest is not going to make anyone who was bored with the core gameplay come  running back, but for anyone looking for more bomb-based action or for new players this is the most complete and enjoyable Bomberman package to date and a great addition to our beloved Arcade. Now, hand me that bomb….this could get messy.

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