Do you remember the first time that you played a Bomberman game? I don’t, it just seems like Bomberman has always been there, offering the same type of simple, yet addictive gameplay. Sure, over the years there have been a few hiccups, a few instances where the gameplay has been modified in an attempt to change things up, some of which have not been as successful. But the core gameplay that first appeared all of those years ago is what makes the Bomberman games great, and it is what we see in spades in this latest title – Bomberman Live: Battlefest.
Available on XBLA, PSN and Wii, Battlefest keeps to the basics to offer frantic Bomberman fun, either multiplayer or against bots. Those who have never played a Bomberman game, first up where have you been? Secondly, the concept is simple. Playing on a large grid of blocks, the player places bombs to blow up the walls with the end goal of blowing up the other players. The blocks sometimes contain power-ups that give the player the edge, such as making the explosions spread further, dropping more bombs at once or speeding up the player. It really is that simple and thankfully nothing has really been changed in this version to ruin this gameplay.
But that doesn’t mean that nothing has been added. There are some new modes added to the basic deathmatch to spice things up, such as Bankroll that has the player obtaining cash from kills or in the level that can be spent on power-ups for the next round, or the VIP team mode that has each team aiming to take out one particular player on the opposing team. There are a few other new modes as well, such as Capture the Flag and Capture the Crown, and they are a lot of fun. But nothing compares to the basic deathmatch mode which is where the most fun is to be found.
There is a huge amount of customisation to be had in this game. The player has the option to tweak the way that each game is played, allowing only certain power-ups to be used and such. The player can also customise their in-game avatar with different outfits and looks. In fact, on the XBLA version of Battlefest the player can use their own Xbox Live Avatar, which is hugely entertaining.
From a visual point of view, there is not much to say. The game looks okay, but nothing special and really doesn’t feel like it has changed in years. In most cases this would be a problem, but for Battlefest it is the gameplay that is all important and once you get into a battle, it really doesn’t matter how the game looks. It remains an incredibly frantic game in which the player is as likely to blow themselves up as blow up another player.
At 800 MSPoints, Battlefest may seem a little pricey for gameplay that has remained more or less unchanged for such a long time. But the gameplay is compulsive, addictive and overall fun, which is what it is all about. Everyone should have a little Bomberman in their life, and this is the best version at the moment.