Bomberman Deluxe

Light the blue touchpaper and stand back

It's nice to see that in a world dominated by killjoy politicians and political correctness, you can still enjoy a game that's solely predicated on dropping bombs in an attempt to blow other people up.

Because, let's face it, the world would be a poorer place without the Bomberman games. They've been knocking around for what seems like donkey's years but the core of the game hasn't changed a jot: you control a little man who has to run around a maze that's been filled in with explodable blocks, nuke the opposition and find a way out.

As far as ideas for games go, it's up there with kicking a ball around in terms of simplicity. And Bomberman Deluxe, the latest in a long line of mobile versions, is probably the least sophisticated of the lot, employing retro visuals and sounds and controls so simple even an adult could pick it up.

In fact, discerning exactly what the 'Deluxe' part of the game's title refers to is beyond us.

Maybe it's the two game modes, comprising Normal and Vs. play. The former finds you trapped in a series of levels that you must blow your way out of using your handy pyrotechnics. Somewhere hidden among the explodable blocks is a set of stairs leading to freedom, but you'll need to avoid or blow up the wandering beasties that populate the levels first.

It's quite a challenge, though the difficulty comes less from the monsters that are inevitably set free by your explosive work than from the danger you pose to yourself. The first half-hour or so that you play the game will be spent in a state of fuming frustration, as you repeatedly blow yourself up by mistake.

The second game mode, Vs., puts you in a level along with three computer-controlled Bombermen and it's literally a free-for-all as you all try to immolate the others. It's a much more hectic game as there's very little time to think, only to react, and it's this mode that's the most enjoyable aspect of Bomberman Deluxe.

It would have been even more entertaining had there been a multiplayer mode that enabled you to blow up your chums, too, but sadly that's absent. Anyone who's played Bomberman on home console or computer will know how big a loss that is, but there's still enough fun on offer to make this mobile version worth considering.

For instance, the power-ups that are so crucial to Bomberman's progress through the game are present and correct, helping you speed up, increase the explosive power of your bombs, drop multiple bombs at once and more. If you've never played Bomberman before, discovering these power-ups and what they're capable of is very rewarding.

They're cumulative, too, which means that there's an extra incentive to carry on playing through the less exciting Normal mode. Whatever you pick up on one level can be carried over to the next so that before long you're a whirling vortex of combustive destruction.

Whether this is enough to keep you coming back depends largely on your gaming tastes. If you want something that's cerebrally challenging then you will tire of Bomberman's antics in short order.

But if you want an extremely polished slice of arcade action, there are few titles we can think of that come close to matching Bomberman Deluxe. Granted, it's not rocket science but there's something that (to a certain kind of mind, at least) is deeply satisfying about blowing things up.

So enjoy it before the thought police come to take you away: it might be your last chance.

7 /10

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