Super Bomberman R Online has been rated by the ESRB for Windows PC, which means it will no longer be a Google Stadia exclusive. The Stadia certainly has some neat ideas and concepts but it isn’t the best environment for a multiplayer-only game and isn’t getting the support it needs from Google to be a competitive and growing platform. Super Bomberman R Online appearing on other PC storefronts will hopefully allow it to blow up sales charts and Friday night lulls with a bigger audience, which is absolutely necessary for the life of a multiplayer game.
The game already has everything it needs to survive and thrive in today’s video game climate. Bomberman’s gameplay holds up very well and figured out good multiplayer decades ago. New ways to play with others and evolving technology just make it easier to expand and experience Bomberman’s classic tried-and-true formula. R Online’s Battle 64 mode features battle royale matches with (yep, you guessed it!) 64 players anywhere in the world. The game also features the standard classic battle mode that supports up to 16 players, as well as the party-based Grand Prix mode.
Super Bomberman R was moderately successful and sold over a million units across PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox so hopefully the newest iteration gets put on every platform with cross-play, so Konami gets their money and we all get our bombs with friends.
2020’s Super Bomberman R Online is the most recent entry available on modern platforms but Bomberman has been around for almost 40 years and featured in over 70 games. The series has always been built around having fun with explosions and strategy, but the multiplayer component is the fuse that helped bring the series to its true potential. Early games featured multiplayer support but it was limited greatly by the technology available at the time. Bomberman’s gameplay loop and structure are simultaneously simple and complex and so it’s seamlessly evolved and experienced innovation side-by-side with video game hardware over the years.
Bombs with friends
Most of the games in the series are built around multiplayer modes where players work to eliminate each other and a single-player mode where players must progress through levels to reach the exit while also eliminating enemies. Some of the games, like Bomberman 64, have focused a lot more on the story, which is certainly a choice. It’s also not the reason anyone is playing a Bomberman game. What really pulls people into the blast radius is the multiplayer component, so it was actually really refreshing when Super Bomberman R Online was announced. The Google Stadia exclusive aspect was the only real negative about it so it’ll be great if we can see Bomberman make the triumphant return to form that the icon truly deserves.
For many, Saturn Bomberman has been the peak of the series ever since its 1997 release. It featured multiplayer battles with up to ten players in a widescreen arena, which sounded like magic at the time. The magical feeling probably subsided some after purchasing two multitaps, ten controllers, and having nine friends in your actual living room! It’s still one of the best games in the series and one of the best games on the Sega Saturn for that matter. It’s weird Konami never threw money at having a studio port it to modern platforms because online play would keep that game going forever.
Super Bomberman R Online could fill that Saturn Bomberman-shaped hole in video games though, and if enough people play it then maybe we can keep it around for years to come. I wouldn’t mind paying money for a ‘Battle Bomb Pass’ if it meant retro-themed unlockables and playing Bomberman with my friends from the comfort of my couch with a headset in a digital lobby instead of a cramped living room.