Review: Bomberman DS

DS Review

You'd have to have been living in a small cave on a very deserted island to not have played Bomberman before, or at least not even heard of the lil fella. It would probably be fair to say he is up there with many other recognisable faces as Megaman and Pacman. Ok, so he's no Mario or Sonic, but he is a legend in he's own right… he's a master of bombs after all! Over the year's game after game has been released under his name with the original being the pinnacle of its genuine addiction. The concept was simple and introduced the perfect marriage of puzzle and action gaming, with a bouquet of multiplayer goodness to boot. Modifications followed in the incarnations which, in hindsight weren't terrible, certainly none as ridiculous as a 3D attempt not too long ago, but they never quite captured the essence of its birth. What were they thinking? No, this was always supposed to be a 2D game, and you can thank your lucky bombs its back to its origins on the DS… with a few DS quirks of course.

Arenas consist of multiple square blocks; there are a number of set solid ones that, without needing a rocket scientist to work out, can't be blown up, and a number of others that, would you believe it, can be blown up. Bombs explode both vertically and horizontally where they can, causing these to explode and allow you to advance your movement towards your foes. Piece of cake right? It's often the case many believe they can master Bomberman very simply, it doesn't look that hard after all, but more often than not, they are proven wrong as there's more to it than meets to eye. Introduce upgrades, new types of bombs and a range of enemies and it all becomes a pretty frantic affair.

There are loads of upgrades in Bomberman DS, from the simple speed ups, fire ups and bomb ups, obviously making you walk faster, increase bomb fire power and be able to drop more than one bomb at a time, to the more intriguing ones such as bombs that explode through more than one block, power bombs that explode all the way up, down and across they can reach, line bombs that drop... erm, a line of bombs, dangerous bombs that explode out in a square, remote bombs you set off yourself and mine bombs, and that's just the bomb type side of things. You can also kick, punch and throw bombs with the required power ups, become immune to enemy bomb fire and many more.

There are two game modes in Bomberman DS, Normal mode and Battle mode. Normal is where all the single player action takes place where you attempt to kill all the enemies in an arena and find the port hole to escape after they are deceased to complete within the time limit. You collect power ups along the way and can choose how many you wish to use at any time baring in mind any power ups you are using are lost when you die. There are 10 'worlds' each with 10 levels, ranging from haunted houses to deserts, each with a slight change in the fiends trying to hinder your progress, for example ghosts, bats and cactuses. A real shame however is that they aren't all that dissimilar to each other, ok some take more bombs to kill, some move quicker, some are smarter and move through blocks etc, but you see most of that in one world so, there's few surprises advancing to the next other than reaching the boss.

Bosses on each world soon become the main inspiration to carry on with the single player, to put it blunt, they get pretty damn cool and are pretty hard to master the first time you face them. They usually consist of a few minions chasing after you and their selves moving and firing something or other at you too. A few favourites of ours include count Dracula, a giant bubble firing crab and two very odd cactuses wearing sunglasses who throw their sombreros at you... genius! In the early stages it's easy to lose all your lives on these, and the horror of it all is that it takes you back to level 6 of that world for your mediocrity. This soon becomes a pain in the ass but, it's true to the games arcade like nature, as little as you will find that soothing.


Ten worlds, ten levels, quite a feat? Well, not so much, considering 2-3 minutes per level, you do the math; it could probably take you up to 5 hours to complete. Most of it pure enjoyable puzzle action gaming however, that is highly addictive with that desirable 'grrrr one more try' factor games seem to lack these days. Moreover, in Bomberman, you never feel cheated when you die, it's always your fault, you really should've seen that bomb or that evil son of a gun coming so, hitting the start button again is never too hard.

Battle mode is where the real fun kicks in though, blowing up yer mates! Same concept, only the enemies are your friends as other bombermen out to blow you up. Last man standing wins. First to three. Simple as. It's here the DS injects some spice to the tried and tested formula, no longer is 4 players the limit on one screen, its 8 players over two screens now. More bombs, more space, more mayhem, more fun. Throw in the ability to do this wirelessly and with one cart, it's a great choice for some multiplayer banter. There's also a multitude of arenas to participate in, from the classics to some more daring alterations such as one with spikes, one with tunnels, one with seesaws to catapult bombs, conveyer belts and such like craziness. They are all pretty good fun. The other DS inclusion is with the use of the microphone. There are a few arenas you can take advantage of it with, you can either shout at your DS so you hold up a shield to protect yourself, drop a bomb or set off a remote bomb you've dropped. Only one works on its individual arena, which is a bit limited. It would've been cool if it actually recognised what you said as a command to do what you wanted but, saying 'poo' ultimately works just as well to do the job required depending on the arena you're on. You look incredibly silly no matter what you say so, you probably wont play these very much but, it's a fairly amusing gimmick for a while.

Given you can play the Battle mode on your own against a chosen number of computer bots as well as with friends, Bomberman DS earns its right as a pretty decent choice for your DS. It will amuse you for quite some time and it never fails to entice some multiplayer attention from others, as annoying as it is that they might suck compared to your honed up skills, but it's not too hard to get a grip of and be able to play with at least some ability. It's colourful and vibrant throughout and, though the super charged techno themes may annoy you at first, they soon get your feet tapping. The single player is pretty short and lacks in variety but the bosses make up for the aggravation this can cause and the Battle mode is always open to one player excursions too. The lack of any real touch screen perks is a bit of a downer, and the microphone stuff isn't exactly the bee's knee's, but the two screen, eight player battles and the games perfect origins certainly add up to the forgiving factor for wanting to get this DS version of such a classic. Overall, if you love Bomberman, you'll love this, and if you havn't played it before, what you playing at?

N-Europe Final Verdict

There's never a time when you wont want to pick this up and give it a buzz. Genuine good fun.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Back to how it should be.
Simply addictive.
8 Player Battle Mode.


Microphone additions.
Pretty short.
Lack of variety.

© Copyright 2024 - Independent Nintendo Coverage Back to the Top