Bomberman Land (Wii) review
"Thing is, if you can dig through the gloopy mire of problems that plague Bomberman Land then you can find a decent collection of mini-games to play though. And, if you donít have the patience, then you can simply fall back on the tried and trusted Bomberman game of old where you try the explode fellows bombers in a claustrophobic room rife with power-ups. "
If I were ever to compile a list of video game habits that should have been killed off several generations ago, right at the top would be unskipable cut scenes. It's common practise, for some reason, to punish the gamer for replaying the game by making them have to re-watch the same material countless times, but when Bomberman Land Wii commits this crime, it does so on a whole new level; it doesn't even matter if you're viewing it for the first time, what youíre required to watch is so dull that you're forced to sit and watch a lacklustre plot unfold ever so S-L-O-W-L-Y while you pump the A button in the hopes that it will speed the text up.
You will pump in vain!
We join Bomberman sitting on a beach. Five minutes later, he's still sitting on a beach and one full window of text has painstakingly presented itself on the bottom of the screen. What feels like a lifetime later, the game's opening cinematic is finally over, a cocky new champion presides over Bomberworld (one you and your beach-going chums declare a kind of polite jihad upon) and youíre whisked away from your vacation to do battle. Except whisked is the wrong word to use. That implies some kind of speed.
By now you're probably thinking I'm making far too big a deal over something you've no doubt suffered in countless games already, but Bomberman Land Wii has, by far, the worst case of unskipable syndrome ever diagnosed since the heydays of text-driven adventures. Every time you chat to someone on the overworld, talk to someone on a reception desk or dare try and take part in a mini-game, you watch helplessly as your words move like they're drowning in the stickiest syrup. And there are painful cut scenes every time you achieve anything of note Ė and, often, even when you complete something of no consequence at all. Never before in my life have I had to keep a handheld system nearby to entrain myself while playing a bloody video game!
Luckily I have a DS and a version of Bomberman Land Touch 2 that doesn't cause me to go into a multi-paragraph rant when I try to review it.
When you finally get past the text, you're faced with a few new problems. The control, scheme is a little wacky, asking you to use the Wiimote to point where you want to go and then the B trigger to start you moving, which is cumbersome in a 3D world to start off with, but, eventually, you'll come around to be able to use it at least competently. The areas you need to navigate are split between zones littered with attractions and hub stages that house things like training areas and shopping districts. You have to talk to people often here, but Iíve already complained about that enough. Iíve more than enough bitching left, yet.
The mini-games are usually well mapped to the Wiimoteís motion detector and are, more often than not, a lot of fun to play
On the DS version, you play the mini-games until you break through a set score and get awarded with differing types of tokens which unlock gates into new stages containing new mini-games. The Wii version contains set zones housing new mini-games too, but progressing from one to the other is painful. Rather than make you play each game until you get a passing grade, Land Wii gives you a handful of coins and tells you to buy in to whatever mini-games you like.
And if youíre smart, youíll pick the one out of the half-dozen youíre good at and stick to that.
Depending on how well you do on the mini-games, you will be presented with a score and, once you are out of coins, your score will then be compared to those of all the NPCs playing the zone alongside you. To progress to the next zone, you have to finish in the top third. Finishing in the middle will force you to stay in that zone for another round while finishing near the bottom will demote you back to the zone youíd previously completed. Thereís a lot riding on each mini-game you buy into, so why take risks on strolling into a new one you may suck at when the Bubble Bobble-like game is producing such good results? Fail to get anything but a perfect score at the first time of asking while venturing into the unknown and you may find yourself doomed to repeat a stage youíve just finished beating.
And have to endure the same rows of text drip onto your screen with all the speed and grace of tar.
Thing is, if you can dig through the gloopy mire of problems that plague Bomberman Land then you can find a decent collection of mini-games to play through. And, if you donít have the patience, then you can simply fall back on the tried and trusted Bomberman game of old where you try to explode fellow bombers in a claustrophobic room rife with power-ups.
But though you can battle through the wave after wave of flaws to find some light at the end of the tunnel, you sure as hell canít ignore them.
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