|System: PSP, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson Soft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (Wi-Fi)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Bomberman Land marks the series' debut on the PSP. This game mixes classic Bomberman battles with a story mode that's full of unlockables. The deep customization and multiplayer fun of the Battle Game is impressive. On the other hand, the Story mode is quite dull and just a gimmick to add content. Mini-games can be unlocked through story advancement, but they're only mildly entertaining. Fortunately, the frantic battles are great, and it makes this title worthwhile. It's nice that Hudson wants to add depth to the series through a story, but the longevity of this franchise is solely attributable to classic Bomberman battles, and Bomberman Land for the PSP is no exception.
For those of you who have never played Bomberman, Battle Game places you in a simple square arena that's full of obstacles. Some obstacles can be obliterated with your bombs; others are indestructible. As you clear away the breakable objects, items will drop that will either help or hinder your character. Some items will make you fast or slow, some increase or decrease the number of bombs you can use at one time, and still others will change the potency or type of explosives you'll use. After just a minute or two all players will be fairly well buffed and interactions between them become very frantic. You'll try to outwit your opponents by trapping them against objects and exploding a bomb so that they are eliminated from the arena. If you are the last man standing, you win!
There are five different types of battles from which you can choose. Normal Battle is the classic last man standing mode I just explained. Stars Battle is a game mode that sees who can acquire the most star blocks. Point Battles is similar to Normal, but you'll also have to accumulate as many points as possible. Crown Battle has you duke it out with your opponents in a race to see who will wear the crown first. Finally, All-Out Battles will have you battle with random rules sets. In addition to choosing the kind of battles you can have, you can also select between one of 47 stages. These stages incorporate seesaws, conveyor belts, pipes, and holes, among other things in order to change the overall character of the battle. Furthermore, you will be able choose what kinds of patterns will be used for each stage's obstacles. You can use pots, blocks, barrels, crates, and even snowmen. Additionally, the rules sets are fully customizable! You are sure to find a number of different combinations that suit your playing style. The Battle Game in Bomberman Land is not only fun, but full of options. Bravo!
The Battle Game is definitely the best part of this title. Alas, there is no online multiplayer, but you can play with up to three other friends via the Wi-Fi connection. Happily, this local multiplayer battle function makes up for a lack of online support because you only have to have one copy of the title. Another great function is the ability to share unlockable elements of the game. Simply go to Sharing and up or download maps and mini-games. That way you and your friends will always be on the same page.
Other than battles, Hudson has included a full-fledged adventure. You'll take on the role of Cheerful White. You and your friends receive a distress call from the director of Bomberman Land. It seems something awful has happened to the theme park. The staff of the park has lost all of their memories, and the park has been broken up into several pieces. You'll have to best over 50 attractions (mini-games) and collect 150 unique Pieces in order to restore Bomberman Land to its former glory. Along the way you'll uncover the mystery and be able to buy items, music, and other unlockables.