Contrary to the way most companies handle multi-platform releases, Hudson likes to make sure that every version of Bomberman Land is unique. Unfortunately, that's bad news for PSP owners. This rendition of Bomberman Land is basically just a fleeting collection of single-player minigames packaged together with a multiplayer battle mode that's similar to the one that was included with the PSP's previous Bomberman game.
Other installments of the Bomberman Land lineage have provided a few multiplayer minigames. The PSP version doesn't. Granted, there's a good mix of button thrashers here. You'll shoot at things, you'll drive cars, you'll play minigolf... you'll even attack ninjas. And the 3D visuals sure make the dirt, grass, and water look nice. But, ask yourself this: How many hours can you honestly kill playing minigames alone?
As it is, unlocking minigames is downright painful. There's nothing wrong with the concept of collecting pieces to rebuild a theme park, and watching the bulbous Bomberman characters interact with each other in 3D is nice, but they're too freaking chatty! Some will give you a park piece after spouting a few lines. Some will talk your ear off before telling you to go fetch a specific item. Others will put you through a multiple choice conversation that you have to start over if you make one incorrect guess. Because of all the dialogue, it'll take you a solid 15 minutes before you've unlocked your first minigame and roughly an hour just to earn a dozen of the rest.
The game’s one bright spot (and only multiplayer component) is the classic battle mode that fans know and love. Each player starts out in a corner of an overhead-perspective arena and then proceeds to run around laying time bombs that can destroy bricks and the other players. Forty-seven different arenas offer up hazards such as conveyor belts, trap doors, and blobs that bounce when hit by bomb blasts. However, the real excitement comes from the power up items that you get from blowing up soft bricks. Extenders increase the length of your explosions, bomb packs let you lay down more bombs, and running shoes help you move faster. You can also pick up a boot that lets you kick bombs across the floor, as well as rubber bombs that bounce off walls.
With four people playing, battle mode is an outright blast. Best of all, you don't have to convince your friends to buy the game to get them to play with you. Thanks to the game sharing feature, you can link together four PSPs with only a single copy of the game. It's just a shame Hudson didn't implement any sort of online functionality, because the battle mode on this disc is almost identical to the one that was included with the last Bomberman game that came out for the PSP a couple years ago. Incorporating online functionality would have at least given people an incentive to upgrade.
Ultimately, Bomberman Land isn't bad, but there are certainly better minigame collections out there. Likewise, there are a myriad of alternative ways to play the classic Bomberman battle mode if that's what you desire.
Feb 19, 2008