It won't take long to suss out the inspiration for Crazy Bomber [$0.99]. Its pedigree is Bomberman all the way down. Are we ready for games inspired by Hudson Soft's 1983 series yet? Or perhaps the question is whether Crazy Bomber brings anything new to the table.
The answer is a tentative "yes." Yes, Crazy Bomber has a few tricks up its sleeve, though not many. Yes, it's the nicest rendition of this gameplay I've seen on iOS yet. But without online multiplayer (a feature JoyTouch says is coming), the heart of the modern Bomberman experience is missing. Without it, you're just a guy running around a field blowing stuff up -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
But let's back up a bit. Maybe you've missed that last 28 years of gaming and you're still wondering what this Crazy Bomber thing is all about. So here goes: you control an adorable character (your choice of cute fairy, zombie, vampire or knight) in a rectangular field filled with obstacles, traps and monsters. You move around with a virtual d-pad on the left of the screen, and plant bombs with a button on the right. The bombs can destroy some of the obstacles, kill monsters, and hurt you. So the challenge is to find the right place to plant them that will trap and kill the moving monsters without doing the same to yourself.
If we're all on the same page now, let's talk about how Crazy Bomber gets this right, and where it drops the ball. For the main campaign it sets you up against the monsters, requiring that you blow them all up to complete most of its 60 levels. They don't have bombs, though it'll hurt to run into them. The challenge ramps up nicely, introducing familiar elements like power-ups, conveyor belts and aggressive defenses as you progress. The biggest failing is the virtual controls. They're certainly serviceable, but not as responsive as they ought to be considering how quickly you need to move out of the way of bombs and monsters.
Crazy Bomber offers a good variety of levels. Not only does the challenge increase, you'll also find challenge levels scattered throughout. These include block-pushing puzzles, conveyor belt races and a few other frantic trials. You'll also fight bosses on the last level of each zone. These keep the act of bombing from getting as boring and repetitive as it otherwise would, especially given the short loops of music you'll be hearing in each level.
After playing through the campaign for a little while, you'll also unlock multiplayer, which can be played against any combination of AI players. You can choose from 1 to 3 opponents, select how they team up and set their difficulty. It's fun, but really hollow without the ability to play against friends.
The reason I say you unlock multiplayer after "a little while" is because I'm not entirely sure what conditions are needed to make that happen -- the game doesn't tell you. It isn't finishing single player -- I unlocked it about midway through the game -- so it's probably based on the stars you collect. Each level ranks you out of three stars, with a steep challenge for getting all three. The specifics of improving your score are also a mystery, and Crazy Bomber would do well to lay that and the unlocking mechanic out more clearly.
On the whole, though, Crazy Bomber is a decent game, and it will be much better if online multiplayer is added. If you're craving Bomberman-style play, you won't go wrong picking it up. If you do, stop by our discussion thread and let us know what you think.
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