Bomberman fans turned off by their hero's gritty new look on Xbox 360 have nothing to worry about - on the PSP, the little guy is back to his old bomb-tossing self. In Bomberman, he'll skip around the same flat grids he always has, dropping timed explosives to clear debris and pop open whatever cute monsters are dumb enough to get in his way.
But while the look and basic gameplay will be familiar, we saw plenty of new stuff when we sat down with the game recently. There's a new plot, for starters, with Bomberman hopping between different planets to fight an interstellar villain named Bagular. The game's 100 levels are new as well, and a lot of them feature hiding places, conveyor belts and other flourishes.
But the biggest, most obvious addition was the new inventory window, which took up the left 1/8 of the screen and let us collect and manage our power-ups instead of using them right away. It sounds intrusive, but the new system actually felt useful, and we like the idea of being able to max out Bomberman's abilities to create gigantic bomb blasts or walk through walls.
Of course, a Bomberman just isn't a Bomberman without solid multiplayer modes. The PSP Bomberman 's options sound a little weak at first (only four players via ad-hoc?), but the game makes up for it with a ton of new multiplayer modes. There are standard bombing deathmatches, if that's your thing, but if you're feeling lucky, you can up the ante with maximum bomb distance in Power Trip.
If you enjoy watching your friends get stuck, On Thin Ice lets you bomb out patches of ground, while Totally Warped lets you teleport around the room. There is plenty of variety here, and if you turn on Revenge mode - which enables you to cruise around the periphery and toss bombs after you're dead - you might even turn the tables on the would-be winners and get back into the competition.
Best of all, Bomberman features game sharing, so you don't need four UMDs to get your bomb on. Purists might also want to check the game out for its "Classic" mode, which offers up a 3D version of the original 8-bit Bomberman with all 50 levels intact.