Bombermine: Addictive Multiplayer Arcade Action

When you think of the classics of videogaming – those games which have survived every format and console that time has thrown at them – what springs to mind? Tetris. Metroid. Mario. And then there’s Bomberman. This brilliantly addictive strategic bomb-’em-up has been around since the days of coin-op arcades, and has been released in dozens of iterations. Sadly, however, Konami (owner of the franchise) has somewhat let Bomberman slide into obscurity.

In response, some Bomberman fans have developed their own free, online version, and they have called it Bombermine. But rather than make a simple clone, the folks behind Bombermine have gone the extra mile, and created a MMO built in HTML5. There are already thousands of happy fans getting stuck in to this relatively new browser-based game, but does it capture the fun of Bomberman’s arcade glory days?

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Retro Eye Candy

In an attempt to become grittier, many current console games are about as vibrant to look at as a dungeon wall. No-one could claim Bombermine suffers from this affliction. Sprite characters and bright colours are Bombermine’s flavour, and the game fills the browser window with detail. It’s a look which very much reminds me of the Pokémon games on later, colour-screen Gameboys, and I’m sure it will stir many memories for folks who played games in the ’90s.

The colourful graphics of Bombermine

The colourful graphics of Bombermine

This style of graphics is not just there for the purposes of nostalgia, though. Yes, the basic retro graphics look great, but they also work well on the web. No matter how hectic the action, I found that Bombermine displayed with complete smoothness, while exerting very little stress on either my browser, or my bandwidth.

Classic Gameplay

Veteran Bomberman players will feel right at home playing Bombermine, and will no doubt appreciate some of the tongue-in-cheek, meme-culture additions. Having said that, there is also plenty here to interest the newbie.

The name of the game is simple – to notch up as many frags and bonuses as possible, each of which can be achieved by the judicious use of some bombs.

Each player wanders the map, which is filled with blocks of concrete, earth and other impediments, as well as your fellow players. Bomb-blasts extend vertically and horizontally, so you need to think quickly to avoid being fried by other players’ bombs (or, indeed, your own). Equally, boxing other players in with your bombs is a great route to success. This game of cat and mouse requires serious quick-fire strategic thinking, and it’s partly what makes Bombermine so engrossing.

Watch out for multiple bombs

Watch out for multiple bombs

To make your fragging spree more efficient, and to earn points in the process, you can also collect bonuses, which you can find by blowing up blocks. Bonuses range from Roller Blades, which allow faster movement, to the insane Nuclear Explosive bonus, which turns your character into a walking nuclear bomb!

Additionally, there are quite a few types of Status (the name for a disease), with which your character can be infected, should you pass too close to an already-infected player. Some Statuses are unwanted, such as the Upside-Down Status, which flips both the map and your controls, temporarily making things extremely tricky. There are Statuses worth having, however. The Nyan-disease, for example, is particularly fun, turning your character into a speedy Nyan cat, and allowing you to plant super-effective rainbow bombs.

A player infected with the Nyan-cat Status

A player infected with the Nyan-cat Status

There are also Structures to look out for; Depots, once unlocked, will throw out bombs across the map, opening up the possibility of multiple frags, whilst Forts hold treasure chests full of serious upgrades.

An example of a Depot

An example of a Depot

As with many arcade-style games, the basic concept of Bombermine is simple, but it has many additional layers to keep the experienced player interested.

Multiplayer Madness

It’s fantastic to have so many fellow Bomberminers to play against, and it means that the action can get frantic, which is when this game is at its best. Hitting the Q key provides a zoomed-out perspective, and only then do you realise just how large these maps are, and just how many people you’re playing against.

Each game, which lasts 20 minutes, has its own leaderboard, and while I’m never going to get near the top, it does add a welcome competitive element.

The Bombermine leaderboard

The Bombermine leaderboard

Should you feel the need for an ego boost, you can, at any time, view a detailed breakdown of your stats by clicking on your username in the top-left corner. This is particularly useful for gloating in the presence of fellow Bombermine-playing friends!

Your stats – ideal for gloating...or being gloated at

Your stats – ideal for gloating…or being gloated at

Each game also has its own chatroom, which, in theory, should enrich the multiplayer experience. Sadly – if unsurprisingly, given the hectic nature of Bombermine – most of the comments are exclamations, expletives or gibberish. This, of course, does not impact on the quality of the gameplay, but a proper community would have enhanced the multiplayer aspect of Bombermine.

The comment section in Bombermine is not for the easily offended

The comment section in Bombermine is not for the easily offended

Conclusion

Bombermine, of course, is not a truly new game in its own right, but that doesn’t matter. The Bomberman-themed gameplay is compelling, and it is as suited to casual, lunch-break gaming as it is to hardcore, extended sessions. For Bomberman fans, Bombermine is simply a must-play, providing a truly authentic Bomberman experience.

It must be said that Bombermine isn’t for everyone – a friend who tried the game very rapidly wrote it off as “dull and repetitive.” But this is just a matter of personal taste, and, judging by the numbers of players on Bombermine‘s servers, there are plenty of gamers who like Bombermine‘s gameplay as much as I do.


Summary

Simple, but addictive, with great retro graphics.

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  • Are there not many web app’s to review at the moment? The quality of posts on here has gone right down lately. Stick to web apps not gaming. Just my opinion.

    • Well, we try to get a mix of stuff, and actually there’s a ton of web apps to cover. What type of apps do you prefer to read about?

      And hey, stay tuned: we’ve got a big new productivity app push coming along soon :)

      • Really Apperciate you sharing this Matthew, been a fan of the game every since ages and playing browser with such a huge multipler is awesome!!

        It’s a great app in browser as well, so nothing wrong with sharing something like this every once a while!!

      • Awesome :)