Growing up I was always excited to visit my cousins house for the summer, because my cousins Andrew and Anna had a Taiwan bought SNES with multi-tap and the holy grail of then multiplayer games, Super Bomberman. I can still remember the hours of frustration and anger over placing a self-destroying bomb and also the hours of glee of clearing the field and winning the match. Bomb Buddies bought out all of those nostalgic feelings and then some.
Graphically, Balanced Worlds has done an amazing job here. It looks and feels just like Bomberman. Similar to the source material, Bomb Buddies utilizes a slanted top down isometric view of a map filled with various obstacles. The player avatars look very similar to Xbox Live avatars, and like XBLA avatars, they can be dressed various outfits. The only problem that can be found with the graphics is that because this is an online game, there will be graphical issues resulting from slow internet speeds.
Gameplay wise, it's what would you would expect from a Bomberman game: run around blow stuff up, drop a bomb to try to blow up another player, etc. There really isn't anything else to it. I guess it's exactly as the old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Balanced Worlds however have added a few things to the game to spice things up a little.
Apart from purely cosmetic gear for their avatars, players can also purchase various power-ups with both in-game and real world currencies. These power-ups do "unbalance" the game a little but because you can purchase the items with money earned just by playing. In-game power ups include the ability to start off walking faster, planting more bombs, and reviving after death. The amount of money you earn after each game is quite a lot meaning clever players will be able to make up for the imbalance caused by big spenders.
Balanced Worlds also added a series of game modes, including one of my favorites, a zombie mode. After a player is blown up they return to map as a zombie. As a zombie you aren't allowed to drop bombs or move bombs but no ever how many times you die you return to the field. The zombie mode only ends when every player on the map is zombified. The winner is the player with the most kills.
Frequent players are rewarded here with a leveling system. The system as it is right now allows players to gain experience after every match, when a player levels up they gain a prize and extra silver. They also gain more items that they can buy without spending real world cash.
My favorite thing about Bomb Buddies has to be the fact that it's a very fast game. In fact so far I haven't had a match lasting longer than 5 minutes. The gameplay is fast and addicting and lag wasn't an issue in terms of playing the game, just how well the graphics were rendered.
The biggest problem with Bomb Buddies has to be the fact that it's so new. The game doesn't have enough players resulting in waiting forever for a game to start. Other gripes that I had with the game include that right now it's PC only even the Facebook version of the game is PC only (not to mention the fact that Facebook is blocked in China without the use of a VPN).
Apart from reaching out to my cousins to join me in the game, I'm just waiting for more people to sign up. As it stands right now, Bomb Buddies feels like a work in progress—not because it's new but because it lacks players.
Bomb Buddies [Official Site]