Bombernauts (PC) Preview

By Nikola Suprak 08.02.2016 1

Review for Bombernauts on PC

It is always a bit difficult to determine which indie titles are going to be hits or not, and the sort of viral sensation certain titles draw can be completely unpredictable. There have been wild successes in the past couple of years, where the star character is a goat or a piece of bread, and predicting failure or success in such a crowded field can be impossible. Every now and then, though, a game comes around where something just feels right. Something clicks, and it just feels like it could be the next big thing. Bombernauts, by Eyebrow Interactive, is one of these kind of games. The current build is a little sparse and looks a little dated, but the underlying gameplay is so fun and addictive that it is hard to put down.

It is hard not to think of the classic series Bomberman when looking at Bombernauts. It is a fast-paced, multiplayer-focused arena battler, where bombs flow like water and anyone that loses their concentration is going to be blown into itty bitty little bits. Fortunately, while it clearly draws some inspiration from the old classic, it does more than enough different to distinguish it into its own thing. What it does manage to stay consistent to, however, is that same level of chaotic fun that made the old Bomberman games so addicting.

Unlike those classics, the goal in Bombernauts isn't necessarily to blow everyone up, but, rather, knock them back into the dangerous lava that surrounds the arena. The entire voxel environment is destructible, and bombs are useful to either destroy terrain or provide enough of a jolt to knock a fellow bombernaut back. All characters also come fully equipped with a handy whacking bat that can be used to bludgeon anyone foolish enough to wander too close. The bat is useful in two ways. First, a swing is just as effective at knocking other players back as the bombs, and it provides a strategic tool for close distance combat. Secondly, it can knock any bombs that come too close elsewhere, either toward enemies or, at the very least, far enough away for them not to be a concern.

Screenshot for Bombernauts on PC

This might sound like a fairly simple core concept, and that's because it is. However, sometimes simplicity is fine when it works as well as this, and something about this simply clicks. It is quick, chaotic fun, with the emphasis firmly put on all things chaotic. Some of the random power-ups to be found in piñatas that pop up in the level can pretty much break the game, leading to mad rushes towards power-ups and then immediately away from whatever bomb-throwing monstrosity comes out of that chaos. There is a certain amount of skill to everything, so it never feels like the winner is being declared by random, but this is clearly meant to be more of a casual brawler. The levels are quick, and once someone is out, they're basically out for good. It is meant to be a last man standing sort of situation, and although players that are eliminated can come back as a ghost from above to possibly redeem themselves, their offensive prowess is significantly limited. Levels are short, chaotic, and bloody entertaining. This is the perfect kind of game to jump in and play for ten minutes at a time, but it is easy for these ten minutes to turn into an hour without even realising it.

Screenshot for Bombernauts on PC

The controls are tight, and just enough is done to reward skill. Bombs are not left on the ground, but, rather, lobbed towards unsuspecting opponents from afar (or nearby, for the more brave out there). Throwing them in certain ways can cause them to explode sooner after impact, and finding the best ways to catch opponents unaware will give a crucial leg up in battle. Similarly, the destructibility of the levels leads to another layer of strategy. Sometimes, the best bomb throws aren't the ones that are aimed directly at another player, but the kind that can destroy parts of the level in a way to give one player a material advantage. The focus is clearly meant to be on wild, insane fun, but those that take time to master the system are far more likely to come out on top at the end.

The current biggest issue is not necessarily a problem with Bombernauts itself, but its current release as an Early Access game on Steam. As this isn't the final product yet, the expected playerbase isn't here and there isn't a way to play with a cast of AI characters. A lot of waiting and patience is required to find a game at times, and there are times where there simply isn't a game to be found. Some sort of AI opponents would be fantastic for someone that either plays at weird hours or has a questionable connection speed, because, as it stands, there really is no good single-player option. Part of this will be cleared up once the playerbase expands upon final release, but, for now, make sure to have something else to serve as a distraction during matchmaking.

Screenshot for Bombernauts on PC

Additionally, the current build is a bit sparse, coming only with a free-for-all mode and a map editor. There aren't any other clever or fun modes to play around with, and whether or not this game becomes a sensation or forgotten about in the depths of the Steam marketplace will be largely dependent on what else comes to fill the game. The map editor is nice and easy to use, but definitely isn't enough to keep people interested for the long run. There isn't a substantial amount of difference between most maps, and, typically, things play out largely the same way, with the exception of a couple of possible hazards. What is here is undeniably fun and the core concept is brilliant and addictive, but, for now, there isn't enough built around it to truly be exceptional.

Screenshot for Bombernauts on PC

Final Thoughts

It is easy to be excited about where Bombernauts might go when it hits its final build. With a little bit of refinement and the right sort of community, this could easily become the next viral multiplayer success. It is the perfect mix of casual random craziness and skilful precise gameplay that will appeal to just about everyone. It is wildly addictive, and one more match can quickly turn into, "Okay, seriously, one more match," which can turn into "Oh, no, is it really two in the morning?" This is pure multiplayer chaos, and something to keep an eye on for anyone even remotely interested in multiplayer gaming.

Developer

Eyebrow Interactive

Publisher

Eyebrow Interactive

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Its a modern day minecraft game

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