Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Bloober Team
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
February 25, 2014

Hey, I loved Bomberman . Everyone did. It was the quintessential party game; get four buddies in a room and throw down on a rainy day. It was endless fun and even now, that experience remains one of my most treasured game memories. As a fan of this particular style of gaming, one might assume I’d go a little easier on this horror-themed Bomberman of sorts. Yeah, well, I can’t be lenient when the game is barren, boring, frustrating, never feels nostalgic and fun, and is so devoid of options that even I can’t defend it.

This is a darker, creepier version of the classic puzzle/action series, but the atmosphere isn’t very effective. Some of the arenas are mildly interesting but the overall detail is mediocre and the animations and special effects are seriously lacking. I expected a slick, stylish version of a game I really loved; this is a ho-hum visual presentation that misses the mark on all counts. Thing is, I’m not even sure this environment works, because those who remember Bomberman recall its bright, attractive colors with a great fondness. Going the opposite direction is a turn-off.

The sound is no better. Again, it’s generic and even forced in some instances, and the soundtrack has little to no impact. An exploding trap should come across as satisfying but instead, it’s lost amid the myriad of yawn-inducing effects. I admit I haven’t been impressed with the audio balancing and stability in the new generation, but it’s not the technical aspects that fail an inspection in Basement Crawl . Rather, it’s the audio presentation on the whole that does nothing to complement or bolster the experience. I could’ve played with the sound off and it wouldn’t have mattered.

The game starts with a semi-promising premise: A grandmother cautions her granddaughter about the dangers that await outside the walls of their humble home. She doesn’t go into detail but clearly, those dangers are ominous and evil. The grandmother isn’t depicted as a benevolent character, either, so one immediately has questions. Therefore, you start the game with a certain expectation, sparked by dark intrigue. Then, probably less than an hour later, you’ve realized that the opening cut-scene was completely meaningless and superfluous.

Of course, I wasn’t expecting the story to be a highlight. It doesn’t bother me at all that the narrative is a waste of space. However, if you’re going to take a stab at a storyline, you have to at least attempt a follow-through. That always bugs me. What bugs me more, though, is when a game adopts an old-school mechanic – always great for nostalgic purposes – and then does nothing with it. Yes, Bomberman was great. But you can’t release it exactly the way it was in this day and age and expect a good reception. I mean, this is about as bare-bones as video games have ever been.

First and foremost, there’s no single-player option. You can’t even practice against AI opponents. This sh** drives me insane. Not everyone on earth is hooked up online and even if they were, they wouldn't always want to play against others. It’s true that Bomberman was designed for, and best enjoyed by, multiple players. But even in those days, you could still play against bots. Why in God’s name would you remove that option? There are zero settings with which to fiddle and even when you create a custom match online, there’s nothing you can do. Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch and no way to alter the goals, objectives, arena settings, etc.