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In the sparse Nintendo Switch lineup, Konami’s new Bomberman game might seem like a big deal. But that’s an optical illusion, and you can safely skip this entry until it gets a price cut.

Super Bomberman R debuted March 3 for $50 alongside the Nintendo Switch. If you’re asking how a Bomberman game can justify that price — well, it doesn’t. This is the same multiplayer action that will make for an OK party game, but its single-player mode is mind-numbing busywork. Even in the competitive modes — where you’re still strategically laying down bombs in an effort to kill your opponents — this sequel feels like a downgrade. This Bomberman looks cheap, and that’s not just an aesthetic assessment because its graphical style has an impact on gameplay.

Super Bomberman R looks muddy and indistinct. It features 3D characters and level geometry, and it doesn’t have enough style in either for the world, Bomberman, or the enemies to pop in an eye-catching way. In motion, you’ll quickly lose track of where you are in the single-player mode. In multiplayer, where the level layouts are simpler, you can follow your character with more ease, but you still can’t get a quick understanding of what is happening on the rest of the map just by glancing. The dark and dank color palette causes the characters to fade into the background.

And this is especially a bummer because Bomberman once looked so crisp and clean. Take a look at the game running on the Sega Saturn:


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Those 2D worlds and the sprite-based characters fly off the screen, and I see that and I can’t understand why Konami continues to choose 3D visuals for this series. It has done that since the Nintendo 64, and it has never worked — although, honestly, the 64 game has more visual panache than Bomberman R.

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