BomberFun is the first offering of a young German development house LightBrain, with whom we've had the pleasure to talk last month (story
). This is essentially a modern day 3D remake of Bomberman, multiplayer oriented, with a few new features put into it. So you think the concept was nice then, but can it still be topical now? Read on to find out...
In BomberFun you control one of the 14 cute characters from all over the world (and beyond it - like Atlantis), who come together and compete against each other in a tournament of BomberFun, a game that somewhat resembles Tenkaichi Boudokai which you might know from Dragon Ball and which requires quick reaction and coordination. The difference is that our little heroes play in different arenas that are built to show all of their home worlds and there's no gore or violence involved - each of the players places bombs on the playing field, and attempts to eliminate the other players by getting the explosion trail to "touch" them.
The graphics are nothing short of spectacular, especially if you have have the hardware to run them - the optimum system configuration is P4 1.5GHz with a GeForce3. The game's engine supports bump-mapping, full screen antialiasing and much more. So if you've got some decent hardware, expect to see some really spectacular explosions and other eye-candy effects (probably the best I have ever seen in an arcade game). For example in Atlantis (the underwater level), LightBrain have skillfully created the atmosphere of blue, moving water... The game textures themselves are very varied and detailed, while the characters look kind of goofy, which gives the game a cartoonish sort of appearance. There are various flare and other effects that really boost up the visuals.. And the EXPLOSIONS
!!! I really don't have the words to describe them. Just tune all the graphics details to the max and you're in for a real treat. Then again, the only real problem of this title is that it wants too much power from your poor machine in order for you to see it in all its beauty. But that's something you should've gotten used to by now, with the current rate of technological progress.
The game has some excellent audio tracks that help boost up the game atmosphere according to the level that you play in. For example, in the Arabic level, the music is indeed Arabic and it varies in all of the levels. The music quality is terrific (it seems the game is using the WMA format for music, which says much for itself). There are also humorous voice-overs for each of the players, and there's an announcer's voice in the game too. There's plenty of varied sound effects as well. Oh, and try not to forget that the game is using Dolby 5.1 surround, so all of the explosions will actually sound like explosions and will rock your world (literally!).
The gameplay is fast and furious, and will surely keep you glued to your monitor for at least a few days. There are various power-ups in the game, which make it all worthwhile to keep playing it - while some will increase the range of your bomb explosions, others will temporarily give you more speed, while others will slow you down or make your character smaller. As well there are cool game options available, such as kicking or punching the bomb when it's placed on the screen, which are especially handy when you try to eliminate your competitors that are located slightly away from you. Imagine kicking the bomb right next to your opponent and he has no time to get away from it... Yes, that feels real good! Speaking of the opponent... The AI is pretty tough: the computer controled players will surely put up a good fight for your money, while running away and hiding from your bombs and kicking their (or your own) bombs right next to you when you least expect it. But then again, to keep it fun they also make some mistakes just like real humans so that the game wouldn't become unfair for you.
You can define the number of matches yourself and number opponents you're playing against. There are around 20 maps in 5 different worlds to choose from in total, each of them with its own environment and objects. The levels themselves are very well designed, each one becoming more and more challenging according to the difficulty level of the map that you will choose. Oh, and did I mention that there are even cheats in the game? Well, there are, and they even let you switch the camera mode into firstperson... Can't spoil all the fun by giving them out to you though, can I? :-) Probably the only problem that I've found in the gameplay department is that you cannot change the preset control keys, but it's really not a big deal since they're really easy to use anyhow.
The multiplayer, however, is what excels in this game. With up to 8 players over network or Internet play or up to two players on one computer while using the keyboard as a controller (with up to 6 computer opponents playing against you at the same time) or even up to 8 players on one computer with the use of keyboard + 6 joysticks/gamepads this game is sure to make up for a lot of gameplay hours with your friends. Hook up your PC to yer good ol' HDTV (if you're lucky enough to have one that is) through video out and who needs consoles? The only thing missing is the support of a big match-making service such as Gamespy, so you'd need to know your opponent's IP address in order to engage in some furious gameplay with him, but LightBrain says we might expect it in one of the upcoming patches for the game. The network connection itself is really smooth, and there are no signs of lag even when playing together with other 3 opponents (as tried with a few friends of mine).
BomberFun is truly a needed fresh breath of fun in the dying arcade genre, with outstanding gameplay, graphics and audio. Everything in it puts it above other Bomberman-styled games and it even sets new standards for arcade games with its excellent graphics and Dolby 5.1 positional audio. The only thing that might scare you away are the steep hardware requirements for the game, but in our technologically advanced age I can't imagine anyone not having enough hardware to run it at least on the minimum detail mode. This is truly one of the sleeper hits of this fall season... My advice is not to miss out and grab this one whenever it comes to a store near you!