When White, the hero of bomberman, gets a plea for help from the famed Bomberman Land amusement park he rushes to the scene to find the park erased off the map. Some mysterious force has caused the park to disappear and it is up to you and your friends to gather zone pieces to put the park back together.
Really there isn’t much more to the plot than that, but then again it isn’t really necessary for a standard mini-game focused PSP release. Pieces are the ultimate goal of progression here, as you talk to befuddled inhabitants, solve minor puzzles or complete mini-games to earn these numbered tiles. Along the way you can earn money through casino games to buy props, costumes, or (more importantly) access to additional areas, which contain some of the yet unplayed minigames. As linear as it sounds, it quickly becomes anything but as you move from the Red to Blue to Yellow zones and beyond; a lot of backtracking between zones begins to wear on the player as it seems unnatural and time-consuming constantly have to check back to beginning zones waiting for someone to finally appear at a location to move you forward. The dialog sections required to get pieces out of park employees is humorous at times, but once again takes on an inane feel as I quickly got tired of the banter and skipped through the dialog to get my reward.
Undoubtedly the mini-games are the high point of this title. Very numerous and quite addictive at times, there is no shortage of replay value that is suited nicely to the portable format. The games go from timed shooters to side-scrollers to racing to somewhat difficult puzzles. Controls are aptly applied to each game whether it is using the input buttons for Whack-A-Gnome or the directional buttons and/or analog stick for driving games. Aimed primarily at the younger crowd, the games vary in challenge, but rest assured there are still ways to buy out of certain mini-games so you don’t get stuck or frustrated.
The addition of buyable costumes is a nice nuance but ultimately it is the addition of the original Bomberman that will have a whole bunch of people dropping money to buy this title. Included as a standalone game, the enhanced graphics of the original help bring this classic back into the mainstream. Add to that the fact you can play four players at the same time using the Wi-Fi option and you are getting a huge bang out of your buck. In that same vein it is possible to challenge another PSP user to some of the mini-games adding to the multiplayer options.
While the graphics of the original Bomberman have been updated, the overall visual quality of this game is not really up to the PSP’s superior output. Sprites are colorful, but there is an almost hokey nature to the graphics that isn’t helped by the sub par sound. The happy theme-park music is cute at first, but due to its repetitive quality it quickly wears out its welcome.
Bomberman Land is not going to win any awards, but its cute and easy-to-pick-up play style make this a game worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of the original.