I’ve got to be fair to Hudson when I come down on Bomberman Ultra for having nothing new to offer on PlayStation Network; if they did put new stuff in there, all the Xbox Live fans who shelled out for Bomberman Live and all its DLC would pitch a fit. 360 fans should already be mildly peeved that Bomberman Ultra will cost less than Bomberman Live plus DLC. Exactly how much less, we still don’t know. We do know that Ultra will be out sometime in January, but we’re not sure exactly when. I would have pushed the issue with the producer, but right when I did, the demo build crashed trying to load the Big Top map in arena mode with bomb shelters turned on and I decided the poor guy didn’t need to be bullied.Bomberman Ultra will feature all 14 arenas and 54 characters that you would have gotten should you have bought Bomberman Live and all of the DLC. It’s EyeToy-supported; which means you can use the PS3 peripheral to conduct voice chat or do a live feed of your victory dance at the end of a match. You can also take a snapshot of yourself to send to your opponents should you lose – middle finger extension optional. There are some snags I can see with Ultra – for one thing, the computer isn’t very smart. This starts to feel like insult to injury if you’re playing a match with humans and CPUs and all the humans manage to kill themselves. Then you get to watch the AI move super-slow and walk into its own traps for a while ‘til the match ends (you can skip having to watch this by pressing X).

Only seven local players are supported; the producer says this was to minimize the possibility of lag. As it is, the game felt like it moved a little slow – at least until you got a power-up to increase your speed. You can change the settings before a match to make everyone go really fast (and to me, this is the only way to play), but I often forget that this is a game aimed at kids, not at sadistic competitive jerks who like hiding bombs in tunnels. So I shouldn’t be surprised that there are no tunnels in which to hide bombs in Ultra – only “bomb shelters” where you set bombs to go off after stepped on a certain number of times (hooray for ominous countdowns).

Bottom line: buy this game if you need Bomberman on your PS3. It’s no better and no worse than what you got on the 360, and it’ll probably cost less. My favorite part? The custom-made Hunter S. Thompson Bomberman guy; he was way cute.