Old-school gamers have been extolling the virtues of Bomberman for ages. This frenetic multiplayer game saw its popularity peak on systems like the SNES and Saturn and has always maintained a rabid fan following, even through some awful ports and downright bizarre overhauls (the moody, cyper-punky Bomberman: Act Zero for 360 being one of the most heinous examples of this).
Bomberman Live sheds all that for a return to what makes the series so great. Here you’ll face off against up to eight online opponents over a smattering of different levels - all with their own, particular challenges - and try to blow the crap out of each other. Various powerups will help or hinder you along the way. And outside of a handful of extra game modes (none of which are as good as the straightforward, classic style), that’s pretty much it.
A few problems hold Bomberman Live back from greatness, though. First of all, if you’re not going to play this game online, don’t bother playing it at all. The single-player mode is frightfully boring, and there’s no compelling reason to try it at all outside of being able to unlock new outfits for your Bomberman. This is a bit more important than it sounds, however, as losing sight of your character during a full online match is a pretty common occurrence. It's nice to be sure you'll always be able to pick your character out of a crowd.
Second of all, as of this writing, the online play has a few problems. Lag and synching issues plagued most of our online play testing, which ultimately lead to a need to shut down a server and start a new one to continue a game. And why it’s not possible to fiddle with game play parameters after they’ve been set once in an online game is a complete mystery.
But even those issues can’t keep Bomberman Live from being a worthwhile purchase on Live Arcade. Chances are the online stuff will eventually be sorted out through patches and so on, and the single-player mode was obviously an afterthought in the first place. After all, Bomberman’s always been about party-style multiplayer, anyway. And as such, Bomberman Live delivers where it counts.