Bomberman Live: Battlefest

Blasting its way back into our lives

There's a slim chance that you've recently been hit on the head by a cartoon saucepan and forgotten the 78 Bomberman games that have been released over the last 27 years. So let's briefly explain the rules.

Start trapped in a corner. Drop bombs. Bombs destroy soft rocks, opening up the map, and also destroy the softer flesh of your opponents. Pick up the many, varied power-ups that increase your range, number and style of bombs. Be the last man to not get blown up by the overwhelming carnage. Win, rinse, repeat. For twenty-seven years.

Battlefest adds a few mutators to spice up your life - painting the most floor tiles with your bombs, being the Bomber to hold the crown for the longest, and 4 vs 4 team matches. Each (otherwise-identical) map has a 'gimmick' - on Adventure Island, coconut trees drop bombs. Factory drops bonus power-ups in on conveyor belts, and draughts can defuse your bombs in the Castle map. It's not a huge difference, but any variety is welcome.


Although single-player is available against three AI opponents, Bomberman Live: Battlefest is only really enjoyable when you're playing against humans making human mistakes - the easy AI tends to walk into explosions in a way that manages to be patronising, and hard AI leaves you feeling a shade gypped.

If you're a White Bomber virgin, the trial version will tell you everything you need to know about the skeletal gameplay that's on offer here. It's a slice of quickfire arcade action that's survived so many minimal updates because of its appealing simplicity. Yeah, it's lazy. But get together with a few friends and you'll still have fun.

The verdict

As good as ever, but no better

Xbox 360
Party, Sim / Strategy, Puzzle