I have fond memories of playing Bomberman in my youth, mostly on a TI-83+ calculator. When going through the initial tutorial, I felt very at home and comfortable. You go around blowing up blocks, trying to blow up the other characters, and collect power-ups. It’s very simple at first glance. Then, you try to play a game and it’s utter chaos. During the game, there’s the battle phase that is what we’re all familiar with, and then there’s the movement phase where you can leave your map and go somewhere else (sometimes out of necessity) to fight additional people and then the blocks respawn and can potentially crush you. It’s very similar to Pac-Man 99.
Overall, the gameplay of Super Bomberman R Online is fun if you like Bomberman. However, there were some things that I didn’t enjoy about my experience. First, on PC, you need to press spacebar instead of enter to select things which took me a while to figure out as there was no indication of that. This was frustrating, but not a dealbreaker. Then, you get a decent tutorial, but then I found out there are controls they don’t cover and they don’t tell you about any of the powerups. I’m grabbing powerups and don’t know what many of them do. It’s not even in the manual. Sometimes, they show up as a game loads as hints, but this isn’t very useful for people new to the game. Also, for some reason the game supports cross-play for all platforms except Stadia. Once again, this isn’t huge and I’m glad that there’s some cross-play; I just wonder why Stadia couldn’t join in.
My final complaint has to do with the characters. The characters in the base game have no special abilities outside of the Bean Bomber and Old Snake Bomber which you need to acquire from the in-game store. All of the characters from the Premium Pass have some kind of ability to give them an edge. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t know how effective many of those abilities are (although Alucard’s is extremely nice), but at the very least it looks and feels very unbalanced and more pay-to-win. I personally think that maybe the characters should’ve been skins instead of full-on characters. I’m sure someone will tell me I’m wrong though.
If you like Bomberman and the new battle-royale format that many games are taking, Super Bomberman R Online is a great fit for you. Plus, the game is free and you can download it and try it for yourself at no cost, so why not?