And these are only three of thirty different modes, running the gamut from your basic, classic Bomberman to a capture the crown variant that has you all racing for the aforementioned royal headgear. There are maps with see-saws that propel the bombs across the level, springboards that send you from screen to screen, conveyer belts to transport bombs across to unsuspecting players, or spikes that pop up from the floor. And I haven’t even gone into the vast array of power-ups available. There are remote detonation bombs, power-ups that let you kick unexploded bombs towards other players, and alternative bombs with even more varied or violent effects. It’s a scream.
Of course, it all looks pretty dated, the sound is mainly functional, and the music is staggeringly annoying. There’s certainly nothing here that really pushes your DS to its limit. But in the end, isn’t this what Nintendo’s little beauty is about: take classic gameplay, add a mass of innovative features, then let players get together and have some fun? If so, Bomberman DS works very well. It’s no immediate, rush-out-and-buy-it masterpiece, and – let’s not forget – the single-player version kind-of sucks, but it’s going to give some people a lot of solid entertainment this summer, cause more than the odd moment of hilarity, and probably the odd childish squabble to boot. And who can say fairer than that?
Another aging star gets the DS treatment, but this time the changes and extras make the most of the machine. If you have friends and they have DSs, then consider Bomberman DS your essential summer holiday treat.