Updated: Bomberman Touch 2: Volcano Party Review

What a hero! In the latest update, Bomberman has blown up his own awful control scheme. Now, instead of placing your finger anywhere on-screen for a fumbling, imperfect maneuver around each level’s rocky crags, you can use a set D-pad to outrun the approaching lava and bomb your enemies with precision. This D-pad is extremely responsive and makes the control problems neatly disappear.

In this update, we also found the Bluetooth multiplayer to be more stable. We were actually able to play multiple matches in two player mode without the connection dropping. Three challenge and versus maps each are still not a lot of content, but the improved control scheme and multiplayer makes the game significantly better, enough so for us to now bump Bomberman Touch 2 to a 3.

Bomberman has been around for more than twenty years on all systems, and he didn’t survive for this long by putting out an inferior quality product. However, in his last year on iPhone, his two attempts have severely disappointed us. Volcano Party tries to mix up the Bomberman formula slightly, but major oversights mean even the biggest bomberfans should be warned about buying this game.

Bomberman Touch 2 picks up right where the last game left off’” and yes, that means it still has the same stubborn control scheme. Volcano Party offers no introduction to explain events from the first game, but here’s a recap: You’re still stuck in a mysterious temple, with the ego-inflated giant head of your mentor haunting you. Now, however, you have to race through three automatically scrolling levels to get to the boss monster at the end, staying one step ahead of an advancing pillar of flame.

Bomberman vs. The Volcano.

This challenge mode makes Volcano Party a little bit more of an action-puzzle game. Tempting powerups lay just beyond your reach, and you’ll have to do a fair amount of strategizing to make it to the boss without losing too much health or missing out on precious powerups.

Sadly, there are only three of these creative new challenge missions’” one for each difficulty level. After you beat the easiest one, you’ll probably become highly aggravated trying to master the much tougher other two, especially if you fumble over the controls like we did.

Since these challenge levels also lack any checkpoints or even a basic high score at the end, they’ll probably frustrate most players and deny them a feeling of accomplishment. On the plus side, they do have a decent pick-up-and-play appeal, but we still wish there were more than three of them.

The other notable addition to Volcano Party is the classic versus mode, where you fight against three other bombers in a more traditional Bomberman arena. Again, the level design is quite good’” you can pick from a regular arena, a tiny, claustrophobic cavern, or a room that is teeming with powerups. But like in challenge mode, you’ll find a lack of content and other obvious missteps abound.

Bomberman, Bomberman, does whatever a bomber can.

Although the game only supports Bluetooth multiplayer for two people, you are forced to play with four characters every time. Even if you convince a friend to join you on a nearby device, you’ll still have to contend with two computer opponents as well.

The Bluetooth connections rarely hold up well and often have trouble connecting, so while Bluetooth was a feature we were clamoring for, a standard wi-fi option would have made multiplayer much more stable. Instead, you’re stuck with either the shoddy Bluetooth or no multiplayer at all.

The overall lack of content in Bomberman Touch 2 is a major letdown, as is the terrible Bluetooth connectivity. Bomberman is one of the best multiplayer acts around, but not on the iPhone, at least in its current state. Maybe these problems will be patched or updated, but unless you’re eager to try the new challenge levels, we recommend waiting for Hudson to fix the game’s crippling multiplayer hangups first.

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