Super Bomberman R, or as the press release would have me put it, SUPER BOMBERMAN R, was a surprise hit on the Nintendo Switch. Launching with the console in March of 2017 and selling over half a million copies by April, the game has been a major competitive success for Nintendo’s little tablet that could.
The newest update looks to double down on the competitive nature of the title with it’s new, free, ‘Grand Prix’ update:
Designed specifically for future eSports initiatives, the new Grand Prix mode is a team versus mode that pits two teams of up to 3 players each to battle it out in different arena stages using new characters with special abilities.
The new modes are:
Crystal Match – two teams compete to earn points by collecting crystals. Watch out for bombs! If you’re blown away you lose half of your crystals. The team with the most points at the end of the round wins.
“Basic Bomber” Match – two teams compete against each other using standard Bomberman rules. Each team begins with a set number of lives. To win, take out your opponents to earn the most points before the time runs out.
Neat. In addition to the new modes, there’s now 9(!) new playable characters, and a brand new story mode world – the 7th – included in the update. You’ll also find goodies from Konami games like Silent Hill, Zone of Enders, Silent Hill, and The Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon(!!).
As to how popular Super Bomberman R is as an esports title, that…remains to be seen. Konami held an eSports tournament at the Tokyo Game Show this year which featured Super Bomberman R, but otherwise, it seems the game hasn’t picked up a ton of steam in that regard.
Perhaps that update could change that. On paper Super Bomberman R sounds like a perfect eSport. It’s portable. It’s quick. Its mechanics are easy to understand, and the goal is clear – blow your opponent to smithereens, and victory is exciting. Those are the ingredients for a quality eSport.
All that’s left now is for someone to step up. With hundreds of thousands of copies owned by players, and millions of Nintendo Switches out in the wild, and a burgeoning 900 million dollar eSports industry, the first person to feature Bomberman in a tournament might have themselves a success story on their hands.
Bomberman debuted in 1983 and Super Bomberman R marks the 39th main entry in the series. Yes, 39th. The title has varied in quality and tone – including a strange foray into ‘gritty reboot’ territory with Bomberman: Act Zero, which looked quite a lot like a Vector Man game.
The update goes live today.