Company: Hudson Software Company
Title: Bomberman Touch
Compatible: iPod touch, iPhone, iPhone 3G
Hudson Software Company Bomberman Touch - The Legend of Mystic Bomb
On July 30, 2008, iLounge published iPhone Gems: Cards, Gambling + Arcade-Style Games, a feature article looking at seven assorted games developed for the iPhone OS. This review focuses on only one title from the collection; you can read the full article, with screenshots of all of the games together, through the link above.
Previously mentioned in our iPhone Gems column that focused on updates to games that had been released for the Click Wheel iPod, Hudson’s Bomberman Touch - The Legend of Mystic Bomb ($8) isn’t just a remake of the iPod Bomberman game; it’s actually an entirely different title. You play as a cartoony demolitionist called Bomber Jack who walks through single-screen, overhead-viewed mazes, strategically placing bombs to destroy obstacles and roaming monsters. Power-up icons help you make the character stronger, faster, more precise with his bombs, and more capable of moving them around; power-down icons strip you of abilities, and you lose powers by dying, and in some cases just by completing levels.
What we liked about Bomberman touch is the variety of mazes and power ups that Hudson has included this time out. After the first couple of stages, you’re presented with a map that offers three different routes, each with its own additional stages and challenges to conquer; one maze has especially dangerous enemies that can pass through obstacles, while another will have more but less deadly foes to blow up. Unlike the iPod Bomberman, you can kick bombs, as well as find a trigger power-up that lets you precisely time the explosions of bombs; inherently, this is a more advanced and better game than its predecessor. Some of the early levels don’t make you hunt for exits, while later ones do, and time pressures add to the experience.
Unfortunately, the control has some real issues. Like Namco’s Pac-Man titles, navigating the mazes is tougher than it should be because you’re using swipe gestures on top of the screen to try and move Bomber Jack around; even when the swipe gestures are working, which they sometimes don’t, you may find yourself unknowingly swiping into a button space on the screen that’s dedicated to dropping or triggering a bomb. Do this, and you’ll kill your character or mess up the game accidentally; amazingly, this is one of the few games that we enjoyed playing more with the iPod’s Click Wheel than on the screen of the iPhone or iPod touch. Some players will find ways—namely, razor-sharp fingertips placed in perfect spots on the screen—to avoid the control issues, and they’ll be rewarded for doing so, but ultimately, this game was meant to be played with a joypad, not a touchscreen. It also appears as if Hudson forgot about a key difference between the iPhone and iPod touch, as there’s no volume control here for the decent synthesizer music and sound effects; you’ll find the audio a touch louder than safe if you’re listening to an iPod touch with Apple’s earbuds. Hopefully, this will be fixed in an update.
There are also other omissions: the mini-games included in the iPod version of Bomberman have disappeared here, and despite the popularity of multiplayer Bomberman titles, there’s no way to enjoy this one with other iPhone or iPod touch users. That’s a shame, because the underlying game engine here is a pretty good one, and though the graphics could benefit from some of the 3-D upgrades given to the recent Xbox Live version of Bomberman, this is otherwise a pretty good game. We’d rate it as being on par with its iPod predecessor overall, though the benefits of this version are all in the diversity of the power-ups and levels rather than the bonus games.