Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
I’ve always been a fan of the Bomberman series, so when I heard that Bombslinger was a rogue-like adventuring twist on Konami’s formula I was naturally very excited to check it out. I mean, even after spending a ton of hours with Bomberman R on the Nintendo Switch, I’ve always got time for more bomb-blasting action…
I’ve finally played the game and it’s delivered exactly what I anticipated: a fun, action-packed experience that keeps me coming back for more time and time again.
Bombslinger takes players back to the Wild West, with the protagonist facing off against a bunch of Bandits who he used to run with. Why, you ask? Well, because they attacked his home and murdered his wife… seems a good enough reason to seek revenge. This sets you out on a perilous journey where you’ll encounter countless bandits, criminals, and goats who want to bring your life to a swift end. Fortunately for you, you’re armed to the teeth with a ton of bombs…
The game itself plays like a mixture of Bomberman and a little bit of The Legend of Zelda’s dungeons, with rogue-like features thrown in for good measure. That amalgamation itself sounds perfect anyway, but Bombslinger has a few neat ideas of its own that helps it stand out.
Anyone who has played Bomberman will know how combat works in the game: you work across what is essentially a tiled-grid and place bombs, with the bombs covering a specific range. The bombs can blow up obstacles that are in your way to open up new paths, but most importantly they’ll wipe out enemies that’re in their blast vicinity. Bombslinger features plenty of different enemies for you to face off against with varying attacking capabilities, so your bombing skills are going to need to be on point if you’re going to have any chance of surviving – you can expect to face off against the likes of foes that’ll attack you up close, from a distance, or even with their own selection of bombs.
As you defeat these enemies and progress through the game, you’ll open up plenty of new upgrades for your character. Whether it’s some additional health, more powerful bombs, or even a faster running speed, each upgrade is vital to success. There’re even plenty of additional weapons to find and use, so you don’t even have to always resort to trying to blow everyone around you up but can instead catch them in traps or hide behind a makeshift cactus. Besides earning upgrade through gameplay, there are plenty of shops to spend your well-earned cash as well as treasure chests to find that provide an assortment of free enhancements too – it’s certainly worth going out of your way to improve the titular Bombslinger’s abilities if you want any chance of seeing his journey through to its conclusion…
I’ll be honest with you now – Bombslinger is an unforgiving game. The game is procedurally generated so you never know what to expect, whilst the boss fights themselves provide a stern test that you might not always be prepared for. Heck, even standard enemies can cause you plenty of problems if you’re not careful. Now this wouldn’t normally be too big of a deal, but the fact that the game features permadeath means that one wrong move will see your progress reset. You’re sent right back to the beginning of the game, with all progress up to that point blasted away in an instant. It’s utterly brutal and caused plenty of frustration, though thankfully the fact that Bombslinger is a hell of a lot of fun to play made it worth going through the journey again… and again… and again…
It all comes together to make for an incredibly fun gameplay experience though. Yes, the game is tough, but as you progress and earn new upgrades (and figure out which ones work best for you) you’ll eventually see the game becoming a lot easier to get on with. You’ll also earn improved enhancements that you can equip at the start of each run, giving you a bit of a head start when compared with what you’re initially equipped with. Honestly, it’s just a whole lot of fun to play and it’s easy to get addicted to all of the bomb-blasting action.
Those hoping for a fix of multiplayer bomb-slinging action will be pleased to see that the game also has a local multiplayer component, allowing up to four players to try blowing each other apart. It comes with a ‘Last Man Standing’ mode that sees the last survivor being deemed the victor (think standard Bomberman rules), as well as a ‘Deathmatch’ which is based upon racking up scores with kills. Both modes are a lot of fun and are spread across multiple environments, so you can easily lose hours to the game when playing with friends.
It’s worth noting that Bombslinger is really pretty to look at too, with the detailed character sprites looking great on the more simplified environments. It might seem like a strange combination, but it adds a lot of character to the game. Best of all, the top down camera angle adds a unique 3D twist to the aesthetic – it’s clearly 2D sprites at work here, but it really manages to snap out at the player with the neat visual effect. It’s impressive.