Super Bomberman R Online is Konami’s attempt to enter the Battle Royale genre. No longer a Stadia exclusive and being free to play, I finally got to try out what Bomberman would be like if it was a Battle Royale. Which I’ve had a lot of fun but at the same time that enjoyment is undercut due to the lack of people playing and the business model.
Let’s get the business model of Super Bomberman R Online out of the way. Fundamentally, Super Bomberman R Online uses the Fortnite business model.
They give you a starter pass which is tied to your level and a bomber pass that you can increase by getting stars by leveling up or completing dailies. Increasing your starter pass and bomber pass will result in gaining new cosmetics ranging from new quick messages to new bomb designs and explosions.
The bomber pass however is divided which will cost 800 bomber coins to unlock the premium side of the bomber pass. The conversion rate is 100 bomber coins to $1 USD. Unfortunately, only by buying the premium side of the bomber pass will allow you to earn more bomber coins. This is fine, but I hoped there would be more ways for free to play players to earn bomber coins.
The reason I hoped there would be other ways to earn bomber coins is because other characters and cosmetics are only available behind the shop which only accepts bomber coins.
Finally, there is the premium pass which will allow players to create private matches and also gives permanent access to all the special characters such as Simon Belmont Bomber. Thankfully, you only need one person to buy the premium pass to host private matches and everyone else can join using the room number system.
I’ve personally been glad to see more games try a battle royale genre that aren’t a third or first person shooter. I had fun with games like Fall Guys and Super Bomberman R Online is no different. At the core, it’s still the great bomberman gameplay you expect but expanded from 16 player standard matches to a 64 player battle royale.
Like most battle royales, the game starts off by dividing players into group of four into sixteen rooms. As each battle phase ends, players are given a moment to move as the outer rooms begin to close and the cycle repeats until there is only one room.
Thankfully, each battle phase only lasts a couple of minutes and even the final round has a limited time before sudden death kicks in. So each match will only last a certain amount of time.
What makes the battle royale mode different than traditional Bomberman games is that each character has different stats. For example White Bomberman is able to have a maximum of eight bombs while Simon Belmont Bomber is only able to have a maximum of one bomb. However, Simon Belmont Bomber has an ability where he can whip players or bombs towards him. These special abilities make each game dynamic as each character has strengths and weaknesses.
One of the best improvements in Super Bomberman R Online is the UI for the battle royale mode. You are finally able to see your health, the strength of your explosions, how many bombs you can lay down, how fast you are, and what powerups you have. This maybe a small change but knowing if you have a powerup like the boxing glove or piercing bomb is an improvement I’d like to see expanded in future Bomberman games.
I greatly enjoy playing the Battle Royale mode. Each match is different where you can find yourself in a room with eight players, the next you can be alone and get an area domination bonus and get a ton of item upgrades for free. However, the downside that I’ve recently notice comes from the player base.
While Super Bomberman R Online offers cross play as well as the option to switch to play with people on your platform. The active player base is not that high. While playing quick match does fill the games with bots, the thrill of ranking up becomes empty as I’ve had matches where there is only one other human opponent in the entire game.
Thankfully if you don’t care about the rewards from the starter or battle pass and if you have a group of friends, buying the premium pass will let you create private rooms where you can play standard mode, grand prix and battle royale.
Each private room supports up to sixty-four people, however standard mode only support up to sixteen players, and grand prix mode supports up to six players.
Standard mode is old school bomberman with each map having their own unique layout. Maps such as speed zone or power zone will start players off with max speed or max flame respectively. If you enjoyed the special abilities of characters like Pyramid Head, you can change the rules where all special characters can use their special abilities. Note that unlike the battle royale mode, special characters will NOT have stat restrictions so characters like Simon Belmont Bomber can lay down 8 bombs at once.
I would recommend the premium pass if you want to play the special characters or have a group of friends and want to exclusively play with them. Thankfully you only need one person to buy the premium pass and they can host the private room.
Super Bomberman R Online is what Super Bomberman R should of been freom the start. You don’t have to grind currency to buy maps or characters. Super Bomberman R Online supports cross play across Steam, Stadia, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Only one person needs to buy the premium pass to host private games. Finally, the battle royale is fun with a UI that I’d like to see in future games.
Unfortunately, the player base doesn’t seem that active and while bots exist it’s a shame that you can’t create bots to be in private matches. Which makes it hard to say if Super Bomberman R Online will be a success long term.
Super Bomberman R Online is a great game that adapts the battle royale formula into Bomberman games and it works. For a free to play game and the optional premium pass to play standard mode, this is a great Bomberman game for fans and newcomers to Bomberman games alike.