Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4
Developer: Bloober Team
Publisher: Qubic Games
Release: 12th January 2018 (NA)
Bomberman may be on of the most copied games ever, there´s not much to it after all. So unsurprisingly the recently released BRAWL is exactly that, a Bomberman clone trying to give the genre an own spin by mixing it with dark humour. Sadly, it doesn´t hit the nail by a long run.
As already said, BRAWL tries to infuse the classic Bomberman gameplay by adding a row of different characters with their own abilities to it. At the same time, the game just bursts with a morbid, dark humour and atmosphere. A generally nice idea to be honest, especially for people like me who just love horror the game could have certainly offered a nice change for a fair price.
Unfortunately, the first impression is the only good thing about it. The artworks, as well as character designs, are actually pretty good, ranging from a blind child and her knife carrying bear to a clown or doctor. They´re neatly presented with some cool artwork, creepy description, everything seems very promising … until you start to play it. The graphics are uninspired, lacking any kind of atmospheric lighting, the models are mushy and look somehow weird and nothing connects with the player nor the game itself. It simply looks bland, mushy and bad, even for the Switch.
Otherwise, the game doesn’t offer much else outstanding or even fun ideas. There´s the typical Bomberman mode with mostly generic stages, some interesting but ultimately lacking modes and the “story”. Basically a tutorial for every character, narrated by an alright voiced, horrible forced narrator, where the goal is to press the same button at the same moment to push or destroy an object. It´s not fun, not challenging and especially not worth your time, simply a collection of easy stages with literally no reward nor creativity.
Nonetheless, BRAWL´s biggest flaw is by far the base gameplay itself, despite the seemingly easy idol. Be it simple movement, placing a bomb, facing the right direction, nothing feels responsive or good, rather like the character is sliding on a floor of ice. The number of unwanted turns my character did during my time with the game can´t even be counted on 4 hands, it just feels so awfully wrong.
Additionally, the biggest stand-alone aspect of it, the different abilities may have been a nice idea but due to the fact, every round is fast and hectic, finding time to use them is rather few. Since most of them have a very specific use case as well, I found myself forgetting them way too often and when I used them, they did basically nothing.
There´s a reason the original game on PS4 was one of the worst rated ones of all time, the updated version of BRAWL may be a bit better but is still a horrible Bomberman clone. Even though the initial design may look neat for some, there really is nothing worth your 10 bucks or time.
[A Review Code was provided by Qubic Games]