Sawbuck Gamer


Improvised Explosive Distraction

Bombermine offers up a megaton of chaos.

By Adam Volk • April 8, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Let’s face it, people love a good explosion. Case in point: the original Bomberman, an 8-bit masterpiece that featured enough ordnance to give Michael Bay an explode-gasm. Which brings us to Bombermine, an unapologetic homage to Bomberman. Its ingenious twist is that it allows up to 1,000 players to blast away at one another in a massive online arena. As one of these bombermen, you’re dropped into the heart of the fray. Your goal is to eliminate opponents by dropping timed bombs. Each round lasts 20 minutes. Rather than battling to be the last player standing, however, you’re given an infinite number of respawns and then ranked on your overall performance.

Naturally, to accommodate up to 1,000 would-be bombers, the world is vast. The frenetic action, however, tends to be relegated to one area. You avoid deadly explosions while dropping your own bombs. You destroy chunks of the scenery that can channel your fire or provide cover. There are a variety of classic Bomberman powerups in the mix, including a boot that allows you to kick bombs away and roller skates that increase your speed. The game also has its own quirks. You might find your screen flipped upside down, or you could suddenly turn into someone else altogether—Bender from Futurama, say, or the deadly Nyan Cat. The lightning-fast pace to the madness works perfectly as you jump in, die, and respawn without missing a beat.

The game is still currently in “beta,” but a number of servers are running in North America and Europe, and a healthy community is already in place. (Whenever I logged on, there were usually at least a few hundred players per server.) While the game has no music and a clunky chat system, it’s still an entertaining and surprisingly deep experience. It’s proof that despite getting charred, baked, incinerated, and possibly sued for copyright infringement, you can’t keep a good bomberman down for long.

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12 Responses to “Improvised Explosive Distraction”

  1. neodocT says:

    This game is hard! Or I just suck.

    One of my fondest gaming memories is playing Bomberman ’93, downloaded from the Virtual Console store for my Wii. With three Gamecube Controllers and two Wiimotes, a couple of college friends and I spent weeks drunkenly bombing each other, in between Smash Bros. sessions. Good times!

  2. His_Space_Holiness says:

    Er, you mean the world is “vast,” right? Because I don’t know what “the world is cast” means.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Paper mache molds, I assume?

    • Oxperiment says:

       The die is cast! Now we all go over and blow each other up. Clearly, that was Volk’s intent.


    • The_Helmaroc_King says:

      It’s been changed, but I originally read that line as “the world is cast [as the other would-be bombers]” although in hindsight that doesn’t follow what’s being said.

  3. Cloks says:

    I played this for a little while a few weeks ago and as such, feel eminently qualified to voice my opinion. Webster’s Dictionary defines Bomberman as “The word you’ve entered isn’t in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above,” and I feel that this encapsulates the spirit of the original game more than this homage does. Bomberman, for me at least, was always about “click on a spelling suggestion below” at the wee hours, watching as my player avatar would “try again using the search bar below” much to the frustrations of my friends. In conclusion, the cotton gin helped the South produce cotton faster and took up less need for slaves. I hope this will be helpful.

  4. duwease says:

    I love Bomberman, so I love the idea.  But somehow in regards to Bomberman, I can’t help but think that less is more.  4-player Bomberman matches are frequently chaos until you get down to you and your nemesis, and then it’s more strategic as you try to fool each other into making a mistake.  This is just all frenetic, random death.

    So, a pretty good large scale warfare simulator, I guess I’m saying.

    • ItsTheShadsy says:

      I agree, it’s a little frantic. Part of what makes Bomberman work is that you’re on a closed course, and at least initially, the violence is strategic. But with the maze constantly reforming and people randomly spawning next to you, transforming, setting off nukes, etc., it’s too random to be enduringly fun.

      Instead, I’ve been trying to reach the edge of the game world. I have not yet succeeded. It’s a fun metagame because you have to avoid your way past hundreds of exploding, insane random Internet People who don’t know that you’re just on the run.

  5. stakkalee says:

    I’ve been playing this on and off for the past couple of weeks – it’s easy to get in a quick 20 minute match, then find yourself sticking around for another match or two.

  6. Zach Adams says:

    Actually pretty surprised Konami/Hudson hasn’t gotten around to getting this thing shut down yet.