Pocket Bomberman – Mario but with bombs

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(Yes I know it isn’t technically Mario, but I’m trying to have a funny inside joke between all three Bomberman Game Boy Colour reviews. Please don’t hurt me <3)

Bomberman is a franchise that has delved into so many different genres, to the point he competes with the big man Mario himself. Kart racers, a series of minigame compilations and so much more. Everyone (or at least, the average gamer) knows about the main games: a man in a funny white suit with a red ball on top in a block-filled maze with enemies or real-life opponents trying to blow each other up. But this franchise goes so much deeper, and that’s what we’re here for today! I’ve played Pocket Bomberman in the past, but really wanted to revisit it for the Twitch streams. What I wasn’t planning to do but what happened regardless, is that I ended up playing all three of Bomberman’s adventures on the Gameboy Colour. So… small marathon time? Small marathon time. Welcome to the first of three reviews in this Bomberman Gameboy Colour Marathon™! Although this one is a miniview which I’ll get to straight away.

The problem with Pocket Bomberman is that it’s a very easy game to describe, and therefore also not one that I could make a long review about even if I wanted to: it’s a 2D Platformer with Bomberman mechanics. I could technically end the review there, but there are some features that make Pocket Bomberman different from other 2D Platformers–for better or worse.

As the game starts, you’re thrown into a small vertical arena with just your bomb that has the same explosion range as a bomb from the normal games. I didn’t lie when I said that it’s a 2D Platformer with Bomberman mechanics, as you can upgrade your arsenal with power-ups. More bombs, larger explosions and of course the god of bombs itself: the Remote Bomb. God bless the Remote Bomb. Despite the shift in planes, you’ll be easily at home here if you’re familiar with the origins. Think of it as a normal Bomberman game but instead of walking through a maze, you jump through the maze. You can even place bombs in the air which makes absolutely no sense. Maybe they’re trying to make us think it’s a platformer but it’s actually just drunk Bomberman crawling on the floor? The world will never know…

Pocket Bomberman stage

Even the main objective is the same as before; get rid of all enemies and make it to the next stage. I do find these stages enjoyable to go through; nothing too special or anything, but they do the job. I did sometimes have issues with the screen crunch, but I can’t say it happened often. It does suck when it happens though, since Bomberman dies in one hit and loses all his upgrades instantly. This can be avoided with a life power-up, but these are pretty rare and will only give you one extra hit. At least you will always start at the beginning of a stage upon death, so the punishment isn’t too harsh.

This becomes a worse ordeal when the bosses show their faces. I’m going to be straight with you right away: these bosses are not fun to fight. The problem lies in that they are pretty big and fast in general, and that their attacks cover most of the screen as well as that they have a tendency to spit out minions. The 3rd boss is an especially aggressive one. They are far from impossible, but there is a serious difference in balance when you go in with a remote bomb and max fire range, or if you die once and lose everything. The former can actually stunlock most bosses which, yet again, enforces that the bosses just aren’t fun–you cheese them, or you’re suffering due to the amount of stuff on the screen.

Pocket Bomberman Wyvern
A wyvern as a boss sure is cool but god did it suck

I… wish I had more to talk about but this is literally all I have to say about the game. This truly has been my shortest review ever huh. But I guess there’s one more thing I can talk about: Jump Mode. In this mode, Bomberman drank way more coffee than a person should drink in their whole life and can never stop jumping as a result. All of Bomberman’s arsenal still remains, but he now needs to make his way to the top of a vertical shaft and destroy three bosses. It’s an alright mode; can be annoying with how big the bosses are yet again, but I thought it was a neat addition. One that unfortunately only lasts a few minutes but hey, it’s better than nothing.

There unfortunately isn’t a lot to say about Pocket Bomberman. If you are familiar with the mechanics from the normal Bomberman games, you just have to convert it into a 2D Platformer and there is your game. Good ol’ Bomberman can still drop bombs with a short radius that can be upgraded to more bombs with a bigger radius, or special variants such as the Remote Bomb. The formula works surprisingly well in a 2D Platformer, with the only seldom frustrations being screen crunch. I can’t say the same about bosses unfortunately, which are big, have attacks that cover most of the screen and since Bomberman is a feeble man, he dies within one hit. At the same time, they’re pathetic when you have the Remote Bomb, so there isn’t a good balance to be found with the bosses. Other than that, it’s a fine but very short platformer with an additional mode that is also very short.

7.0

Nepiki's Rating

Overall rating

Game Score
7.0
Fun Score
7.0
Positives
  • Level design is fairly solid with unique layouts and mechanics per world.
  • Plays exactly like how you expect Bomberman to play in a 2D Platformer.
Negatives
  • Bosses aren't very good due to their big size yet flexible movements- and attacks.
  • Extremely short.

Thank you for reading! I really wanted this review to be longer but there just wasn’t anything else to talk about. Don’t worry though, that won’t be a trend for the remaining two games of the marathon. But yeah, even describing how Bomberman works as a game wouldn’t take me long… as I already pretty much did that too. Hopefully it was still a worthwhile read though!

Next time we’ll be back with the second game of the marathon, Bomberman Quest! Hope to see you then!

Today’s Question of the Review is more of a fun, different variety. More akin to a party game actually.

What game can you describe in one sentence so anyone knows exactly what you are talking about? Feel free to not name the game and have other people guess!

Here’s an example from me:

“If Grand Theft Auto made cheats a gameplay feature”
Answer: Saint’s Row 3/4

About author

Nepiki

A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!

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Alphaxel (@Alphaxelking)

It feels weird to see someone else talk about this game, it’s one of my first games ever but i never heard anyone else talk about it. Never got past the second boss btw, and since i never really liked the game i didn’t try much o/

I’m gonna give several answers for the QotR since it looks fun :

“My gaming console can’t be this cute”
“Of course blowing up a nuclear reactor is going to save the planet!”
“Train animals so you can poach even more”

[…] Boy Colour! This also wasn’t really planned but since I was already planning on playing both Pocket Bomberman and Bomberman Quest, I figured I could do the last game as well which will be published somewhere […]

[…] when we were talking about a 2D Bomberman Platformer last time? Pepperidge farm remembers. And today we’re talking about the game that followed […]

[…] a single game from here on out by the way. Anyway, this is actually my first time playing it! Both Pocket Bomberman and Bomberman Quest were games that I’ve owned for quite a while, but Bomberman Max… to […]

[…] a single game from here on out by the way. Anyway, this is actually my first time playing it! Both Pocket Bomberman and Bomberman Quest were games that I’ve owned for quite a while, but Bomberman Max… to […]

[…] when we were talking about a 2D Bomberman Platformer last time? Pepperidge farm remembers. And today we’re talking about the game that followed […]