IGN Review of Bomberman Land
If you've played a handful of Wii games in the past, you're more than likely familiar with mini-games on the Wii. Bomberman Land is yet another mini-game collection that takes advantage of traditional controller schemes as well as motion controls to deliver a relatively straight-forward experience, with some goodies on the side. While you certainly won't see anything revolutionary on this disc, there are quite a few notable elements to Bomberman's Wii adventure.
Before we really get into the bulk of the game, I should note that I recently reviewed the
PSP version of Bomberman Land and was somewhat happy with it, but it had some problems that hurt the experience. Fortunately, the Wii version is free of a number of these issues, considering the fact that it sports an entirely different organizational structure from its PSP counterpart (although they do share a lot of mini-games). And because you'll be spending a good chunk of time running around between mini-games, let's take a moment to analyze that structure.
Bomberman Land puts you in control of White, a bland but ever-so-heroic Bomberman with a knack for games. The majority of the title follows White as he attempts to win the Bomberman Land Tournament and attain the prestigious title of Champion, which has just recently been snatched up by an overly zealous and selfish Bomberman of villainous proportions. At the start of the game, you leave your humble vacation spot and head to the tournament, ready to participate in the festivities (as well as save the Director of Bomberman Land, who has been taken captive by the Champion). A Bomberman's work is truly never done.
The great thing about the Wii version of Bomberman Land is the refined lobby interface, which acts as a hub for heading to all the different zones that the competition takes place in. When you're in the lobby, you can train on any of the mini-games you'll find during the tournament proper to receive Training Points. These points are not only used to unlock the initial zone, but you can buy new outfits for your little hero and stylize yourself accordingly.
When it comes time to compete, you head to a particular zone and engage in a multi-round tournament. Each zone has a number of mini-games to play, all of which require tokens. This is easily the strongest element of the Wii version, because playing through a zone feels like a mix of playing in an arcade and participating in a gaming tournament. You enter a zone with a certain number of tokens -- used for playing a game -- and you get points for performing well on the zone-specific mini-games. At the end of, say, four rounds, the highest ranking players move on to the next zone. Intermediate players must repeat that zone again while poor performances are met with a zone demotion. I thought this dynamic really suited the mini-game format and not only provided a challenge but encouraged a mastery of the games at hand.
As for the mini-games themselves, most of what I saw was entertaining. Whether you're hopping across logs on a river, shooting flaming rocks, sorting bombs by color or racing mine carts, you'll be content most of the time. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, most of these mini-games have been "done before" in one way or another, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. Motion controls, fortunately, aren't forced on to any one particularly mini-game -- when they are used, they usually control better than their PSP counterparts.
Similar to the other platform iterations, Bomberman Land also has a wide assortment of classic Bomberman gameplay to enjoy (called Battle Mode), which is fantastic for fans of the original experience. If you're not familiar with this particular type of gameplay, Bomberman puts you in control of a Bomberman (naturally) in a top-down arena filled with blocks. Some of these blocks can be destroyed while others cannot. You move around the arena and plant bombs to not only clear the field but catch your opponents in the fire.
The traditional sprites have been replaced by 3D models, but this is purely an aesthetic change. The style and feel of the classic games have been retained, and item sets can be changed according to the players' preferences. With an impressive variety of map types, skins and a handful of gameplay modes, the customization options can be surprisingly diverse. Of course, Battle Mode can be played with multiple people, which is a lot of fun. Oddly enough, multiplayer elements of Bomberman Land seem focused on this mode, because there are only a small number of multiplayer-based mini-games and they aren't even unlocked at the start. If you're looking for a multiplayer mini-game collection, this isn't the best place to go.
Restricted multiplayer isn't the only issue at hand. The game's cinematics are poorly paced, with slow, repetitive dialogue plaguing the "story" of the title. If you're the type of gamer who wants to jump into a mini-game collection for constant gameplay, you'll be very disappointed. There's quite a lot to do, but it's spaced out. And like any mini-game collection, there are a few rotten apples mixed in with the bunch, so be wary.
©2008-02-12, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved