Developer/Publisher: Mode4 || Overall: 7/10
Bombslinger? Looks like roguelike Bomberman.
::plays it for 5 minutes::
Yeah, it’s roguelike Bomberman.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the Bomberman series, but I got the point of it. In fact, Bomberman is a lot more fun than the evolution of the game into roguelike territory. Bomberman‘s appeal was using the map in such a way to kill the other enemies that were running around while not blowing yourself up. All of these concept carries over, but considering you are in a roguelike, you’ve got procedurally generated room layouts, dungeons, and bosses. Except, in Bombslinger, the game intentionally slows down the pace significantly by adding obstacles you have to blow up. In doing so, Bombslinger becomes much more like a strategy puzzle game than an action game where you go around and put down a bunch of bombs and run around hoping you don’t blow yourself up.
As always in a roguelike, there is loot and powerups you can unlock. Killing enemies nets you gold most of the time, but they can also drop Spirit, which allows you to use the special abilities you find. You also gain XP to earn levels; leveling up allows you to choose one of three bonuses, depending on your need at the time/gameplay style, usually being health, bomb, or spirit-related.
Without bonuses, you only have one normal Bomb and three Hearts. It is very easy to get hit by your own bombs if you’re not paying attention. In general, it can be a bit annoying if you don’t already have a lot of practice in anticipating when bombs will explode, and if you don’t really like “Bomberman” gameplay, you’ll lose the will to play pretty quickly. Especially since you get hurt by your own bombs, and always have to move out of the way, it becomes tedious having to blow up fucking corn stalks one at a time when the map is full of them.
The whole reason Mr. McMean (your character) is on a rampage is because his wife dies in the opening cinematic. I suppose it can be ironic that you also die over and over, and I suppose your wife dies again every time you start over as well. The first level is the main character’s house, known as “McMean’s Ranch.” You’ll be spending a lot of time here as you start playing, and it seems to be an unfortunate choice because the music gets annoying and the map is boring, despite the nice pixelated style. When you get to the second map, you trade the “desert ranch” map with corn stalks and old men in thermal underwear, for “traditional desert” with chickens and bandits. There’s also goats. I’m not entirely sure why you are killing old farmers when it is your old bandit gang that killed your wife, but they look mean so it’s time for murder. I suppose the story really doesn’t matter, but if they’re going to bother setting something up, at least have it make sense in the context of the story created.
The boss rooms are more traditional Bomberman grids, but the first boss, a goat, can charge you so you have time your bombs correctly. They can also push the bombs away which can change the calculation of being in a safe area. Stuff like this is probably where the game shines the most because it doesn’t veer too far away from the original Bomberman formula.
In general, the roguelike improvements seem fun enough for the confines of wanting to play a more “modern” take on Bomberman. There are what seems to be about thirty or more unlocks and power-ups. You can also buy the same items from the randomly appearing shop that you would see in chests. Some chests can be only opened with money, whereas most need a key to open. There are occasionally timed chests that will blow up if you don’t reach it in time. The rooms are randomized and all of the enemies must be cleared out before moving to the next room — this again loops back to being a slow process since you have to clear out map elements to get to the enemies.
At the end of the day, Bombslinger is serviceable. It isn’t terrible, seems to work okay, looks good visually, the controls are fine, and also has a local multiplayer mode that could be fun. It’s about as standard as you could get for a little game like this, and depending on your love for the Bomberman series, your mileage may vary on how much enjoyment you get out of this title.