Every time I think of Bomberman my head travels back in time and to the sweet, classic Bomberman titles for the NES and SNES; there’s nothing like the great bomb-dropping gameplay, full of power-ups and all sorts of enemies with wall-crossing and stone-turning abilities, amongst others. That’s what Bomberman is all about! The expression “if ain’t broken don’t fix it” fits perfectly here, although there’s nothing we can do against today’s ultra-exploited, cash-cow franchises. Bomberman is definitely one of them, even though I haven’t seen a Bomberman game, since the times of the GBA, which was somewhat worth my time.
Bomberman Land for the Wii starts by telling you a story; it’s the story of a dark, Bomberman-looking intruder that yanks away the title of Champion, takes over Bomberman Land, and captures the leader and host of the show. Meanwhile, the good-spirited, white Bomberman is enjoying a nice vacation in the beach, drinking piña coladas, and sunbathing (despite wearing an outfit that’s more proper for other activities). Due to the unfortunate events back in Bomberman Land, his peace goes away in a flash, as other Bomberman pals drop by with the Bomb Pad, a little gadget that allows him to see what’s going on and communicate with the rest of the guys. Mr. White quickly goes back and jumps on a mission to recover the title of Champion. Of course, the story doesn’t end here, as the game has a special and ultra-slow way of telling the story through numerous, overly-subtitled cutscenes where your only duty is to hit A and hope it all goes away.
If you’re hoping to jump right into the action, this won’t be the game for you; in fact, it’s probably far from suiting your taste. Luckily, after the first everlasting set of cutscenes, you’ll finally become part of the show. Bomberman Land has been divided into multiple pieces, and you’ll have to get them back together by beating the mini-games and obtaining multiple points in each of them. First, there’s a training area where you can go and practice the available mini-games; you’ll earn Training Points (TP) here, which you can later cash in for access to the actual tournaments. The tournament map looks like a theme park full of carnival games, and here’s your chance for earning points, climbing up the ranks, and hopefully becoming the new champ. If you can get used to the guy walking in slow-motion half the time and the tedious controls to just make the character walk, you might still be able to enjoy this game. For some strange reason, you have to hold the Wii remote standing up like a joystick if you wish to use the Nunchuk to move the character around. If you hold the Wii-mote flat, the character will only move by using the d-pad. Strange, isn’t it?
The mini-games have different control styles; sometimes you’ll be able to use the Nunchuk, and sometimes you won’t. Many of them are played holding the Wii remote like a classic controller, using the d-pad to move around and the 1 and 2 buttons for action. Starting with the Pang (Buster Bros.) knock-off, you’ll come across many familiar games that have just been remade to fit the mini-game style of Bomberman Land. These remakes are certainly not upgrades of classic originals, but simplified versions of already existing mini-games you can find everywhere, from Mario Party games, to Fuzion Frenzy, to older arcade titles. Bomberman Land includes around fifty mini-games, and most of them are entertaining enough. However, you can’t play them with your friends, and the slow-paced storytelling prevents you from diving right into the action. Moreover, if you haven’t practiced enough, you’ll be kicked out of the tournaments, being forced back into the training area until you earn more TPs to let you into the tournaments.
The gameplay is pretty standardized and repetitive, despite the different mini-games available. If you wanted this title just for the mini-games, you’ll be disappointed. Furthermore, if you were hoping your friends would join you and compete against you, Bomberman is the wrong choice. Instead, you have to consider it a single player game and a personal challenge with the goal of conquering all the mini-games and becoming the champ. Fortunately, there’s a saving grace: Bomberman Land includes everyone’s favorite and classic Battle Mode. Here you will indeed be able to play against three other friends, exploring the new maps and picking up all-new, exciting power-ups. However, this won’t be available right from the beginning, so you’ll have to be patient with the Story Mode if you want to savor the goods.
Bomberman Land’s visual presentation is on the cheap side. The 3D look that was once considered splendid is back in all its glory; sadly, we’re talking about what was good on the Nintendo 64 and the Dreamcast, which doesn’t really reach today’s standards anymore. Even though it’s not all that basic and primitive, little more is offered in the game, graphics-wise. They tried to add more details to the formula, but at the end of the day, it’s just not that good. I guess kids can always be fooled, but the rest of us are ready for more; if we’re going to purchase Bomberman yet again, the least we can ask for is an appealing, up-to-date presentation. Instead, we’re punished with more of the same.
We could speak similarly about the music, although at least there’s a bit of variety within the mini-games. The tunes are simple and cheery, as it’s typical of this kind of games. There’s no talking in Bomberman Land, as they decided reading the never-ending subtitles would enrich the story and nourish our gamer-brains with knowledge. Oh well, what can you expect?!
Like I said, if you’re looking for another mini-game frenzy and can’t wait to invite your friends over, be careful with what you choose; this is not the one. If you just want to play mini-games for the sake of it and you think you were cut out to be the next Bomberman Land champ, then go ahead! Can’t get enough of the classic Bomberman Battle Mode? You’ll find it here! But beware; there are other cool games out there that may deserve your attention. I suggest you continue doing your research.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.5 Graphics
The presentation is unreservedly outdated. Except for a few environments, the 3D graphics look simplistic and raw for a Wii game. 3.0 Control
The controls work alright in the mini-games, but switching back and forth between Nunchuk or Wii remote slows down the already slow gameplay. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Soundtrack is cheery and typical of these titles. There’s no voiceover work to speak of. 3.0
With all the mini-game based titles for the Wii, it’d be difficult to choose this one unless you’re a big Bomberman fan. The mini-games don’t allow everyone to play and at the end you’re just left with Battle Mode.
2.6 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.