Developed by Hudson Soft, Bomberma- Hmmm, wait a minute I seem to have made a mistake. This isn’t Bomberman, it is actually a game titled Bombslinger. Let me try that again.
Developed by Mode4, Bombslinger is undoubtedly a Bomberman clone, but instead of playing as a ‘bomberman’ you take control of a cigar smoking bomb placing maniac McMean. Disaster strikes when his wife and ranch are destroyed. Now he must set out to get revenge on the ones who have blown up his peaceful existence.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the concept of the the genre, the gameplay is simple. You take control of McMean and navigate the map, place bombs, stop enemies and collect upgrades. Some objects block your path and can be destroyed, whilst others block it and cannot. More or less that is the formula you’ll be dealing with and it works. It might be shamelessly copying Bomberman, but it does a good job of it.
Half of the Bombslinger experience can be found in it’s single player campaign. McMean will travel through procedurally generated maps until he finds the door to the boss, bomb that big bad guy and move on to the next level. Rinse and repeat until the end. Of course things are never that simple as one thing I must say is that Bombslinger offers a real good challenge. Part of which feels justified and another that can be frustrating.
Lets look at the justified first. As you make your way through the levels you will of course run into enemies. Bombslinger has no shortage of varmints to get rid of and these come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. You’ll get your run of the mill hicks in their underwear that don’t do much, but walk around. Goats and wolves that either run toward you or run away from your bombs. Shotgun and revolver wielding ace shots that will shoot you down if you pass their line of sight and many different types of enemies. When you have all of these guys on the field it makes for some nail biting encounters and the gradual introduction of enemies keeps the pacing fresh. To top this all off the boss fights all offer a decent amount of challenge, but maintain the feeling of being fair. Their designs are also quite comical and I found myself looking forward to seeing the next one.
Now for the part good and bad, but no ugly. Bombslinger has a level up system as well as random upgrades and chests spread throughout each map. At times the system works well and mixes up each playthrough. As you level up you can choose to increase amount of bombs, health, range of bombs and other goodies. Then the upgrades you find can vary from placing traps, refilling your spirit gauge and permanent upgrades like decreasing how much spirit is used. It can be good at times, but being at the mercy of RNG can be very annoying at times. Some playthroughs you may just feel a little shafted as you got tuck with upgrades that just don’t seem as handy. There seems to be no consistency with health drops which can be a bit frustrating. As when you die, it is back to the beginning.
The other side of the coin is the local multiplayer. Offering two modes, single joy-con support, 4 players and CPU opponents. Deathmatch and Last-Man Standing are the two modes to play and each is as fun as the other. Each will let you adjust the rules to fit your liking. Map, rounds, health and time limit can be changed. The maps on offer do a good job of mixing up each match as the layout of the grid is changed and will make you mix up your strategy to survive and win the bomb-off. You don’t level up in multiplayer, but instead find upgrades in destroyed obejects; extra bombs, bigger blast range, kicking bombs and more will help you net a win.
It is a good little distraction with friends for 30 or so minutes. The lack of online is a shame, but can also be expected as you would wonder how much activity a title like this would get. Sadly I did find the AI of the CPU’s to be a little easy in multiplayer, so for the best experience you’ll want to play with friends.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Bombslinger was provided by Stride PR.