Hudson carries on the fine tradition of Bomberman by bringing the classic title to PSN. Those of you that played Bomberman Live for the 360 a couple years back will find something familiar in Ultra. There is no story or backdrop, in fact, Ultra assumes a lot of pre-existing knowledge of Bomberman, from the game options to the page after page of menus.
For those uninitiated, or those too young to remember the NES, Bomberman first hit the scene in the eighties and has made the system rounds ever since. The competitive action is fixed-screen, and you and your opponents drop bombs to clear walls and then use them to blow up your opponents.
As you clear paths on the map you will work to control an area and pin down your enemy. The battlefield is square, you can pick up “power-ups” as well, or items that alter the explosive force of a bomb detonation. Bombing newbies may have a bit of caching up to do, particularly when pitted against seasoned Bomberman fans, but the learning curve isn’t steep – just a little daunting in the sea of customizable options.
With fast-paced multi-player and straightforward gameplay and mechanics Ultra is a breeze to pick up, though still requires a touch of the phenom to master. Local play ranges from one to four players, with a total of eight possible in an online match. When playing locally, bots fill in where necessary to fill out the group to an even four, and since Bomberman is all about the multi-player I encourage you to play with as large a party as possible.
Levels, rules and items are all customizable. There are fourteen unique arenas to play, each with their own pitfalls – like quicksand. Add six different modes to those fourteen maps and you get a whole lot of Bomberman. Certain maps come loaded with more modes than others and you can adjust the length of a level, pick-ups and victory conditions giving each map its own longevity. For example, Zombie Mode gives you a dash of immortality and challenges you to control the most blocks on the map (at one time).
Your Bomberman is customizable, with a few unlocked costumes to start like the latest in pirate garb or the prima ballerina option. Additional outfits can be acquired by picking up Costume Balls during gameplay. The Bomberman customization is not only fun, it is a darn practical way to make the little bugger more distinct in the flurry of explosions.
From menu to your own explosive obliteration, the game has style. Easy on the eyes and true to the Bomberman legacy, the game is vibrantly colored and energetically scored. Cartoonish, it is appropriately light fare for some competitive fun on PSN and runs smoothly, and the girly voice giving you the countdown isn’t even annoying. This is competitive multi-player, so leader boards keep track of wins, losses and even frags.
Pairing classic gameplay with modern accessibility is a winning formula, and Bomberman Ultra delivers an addictive game that will take you back decades to a simpler time of fuse-based destruction. The right mix of fun and frivolous, at $10 Ultra’s retro charms are a must have for any Bomberman fan.