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Four Bombs (3DS) artwork

Four Bombs (3DS) review

"Four Bombs is a less satisfying take on a puzzle game that may have underwhelmed you even when it was free."

If you're old enough (but not too old) and you spent sufficient time around a Windows PC in your youth, there's a good chance you squandered a few minutes or possibly even hours playing Minesweeper. It was a simple puzzle game that at one point was included as part of the standard Windows operating system. If memory serves, that was around the time Windows 95 was a big deal, and it probably was included in a few editions after that, as well. In any event, it's gone now.

Although Minesweeper may be gone in the traditional sense, though, it will live forever in the minds of the many people who once played it. There have been a few crummy imitation apps released since Microsoft inexplicably decided to stop including the popular little time waster as part of its ubiquitous operating system, but most of those clones have fallen short in one way or another. Case in point: Four Bombs.

Developed and published by RCMADIAX LLC, Four Bombs isn't as full-featured as its obvious inspiration (which I remind you was essentially free for years), but it still features the core elements. You start with a grid of small squares, and you can tap on them to reveal digits. These digits refer to the number of adjacent spaces that include a treacherous bomb. By looking at the numbers your initial taps reveal, you are supposed to use logic to divine the location of any explosives, which you can disable by placing a flag. If you try to reveal the wrong space as part of your investigation, though... BOOM!

Four Bombs (3DS) imageFour Bombs (3DS) image

Minesweeper made the setup interesting by allowing players to customize the size of the grid and the density of the hazards. You could play with a small field or a large one, with a few simple threats or a menacing wasteland full of potential pain. In Four Bombs, there is precisely one size of field: 8x8. That may sound like a lot of real estate, but it's not (especially when you discover there are only ever four bombs, as the game's title suggests). The sprawling fields that had your fingers all clammy as you clicked away with your mouse in those long gone Minesweeper days are out of the picture, and along with them nearly every compelling reason to ever play the game.

Okay, so Four Bombs is stuck in "easy" mode. Maybe you can deal with that. It all comes down to features, right?

Well, there are no real features. There's an extremely repetitive tune that loops incessantly until you mute the volume, but that's as close as things ever get. There are no leaderboards or systems in place to track your best performances. On the top screen, the game's logo appears and the controls are outlined. And those controls don't feel particularly intuitive. You have to hold Left on the d-pad and tap on the screen to place a flag, or you have to hold Right on the d-pad and tap if you want to try to clear the area where a bomb may lurk. I guess it's about the only way the game could even work with a stylus, and there's no option to play with just the d-pad and the A and B buttons.

Normally, I would keep writing, so this review would look longer and I could maybe trick you into thinking I had something super insightful to say. But Four Bombs is really that simple, a $1.49 game that somehow costs more even at that price than it probably should. If all you're looking for is a half-decent Minesweeper clone, this particular package has a good chance of disappointing you. And if you want something that matches or improves on the experience the old classic offered, well... you're definitely out of luck.


honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (April 08, 2017)

Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.

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hastypixels posted April 08, 2017:

Was this an eShop download? Not that it could have been anything else other than a total waste of money... I almost feel bad for you having to review the thing. Yikes.
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honestgamer posted April 09, 2017:

It's an eShop download, yeah. It released just over a week ago. Reviewing it was my idea, not part of any obligation. I decided to buy the game myself because I'm trying to cover more stuff for Nintendo platforms on the site and it was so affordable. I figured I couldn't go wrong at that price, but... well, you see how that turned out!
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 09, 2017:

This is where the expression "you had one job" would apply. Also, it's difficult to make $1.49 sound like a waste of money, but they managed that. Good review, Jason!

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