Basement Crawl

By on on Current Gen, 2 More

It’s times like this I can’t help but miss Bomberman. Here was a series so simple, so divine, so damn lovable that I couldn’t help but eat up every minute. Whether it was the introduction of superb online play in Saturn Bomberman or even the old days of five-player multitap action in Bomberman ’93 on the TG-16, it was cherished with every step. Why? Because the formula worked, and for the better.

That’s why I had such high hopes for Bloober Team’s Basement Crawl. In a time when Konami isn’t even giving a second thought to a Bomberman revival, these guys have gone out and produced one truly strange clone, dealing with creepy characters in an enclosed environment, attempting to drop mines on each other and even kick them out, like the old B-Men did. It was an idea so crazy that it could just might work.

But, unfortunately, it doesn’t. Bloober Team had the concept nailed down, but when it comes to the game’s actual options and execution, it’s possibly the worst thing on the PlayStation 4 to date. And that’s screwing up a simple Bomberman formula, folks.

The first thing you have to realize is the game’s limitations. There are only two modes to choose from – local game and online game. That’s it. There’s no story mode that delves into the psyche of the characters featured here, no way to upgrade your characters, and not even any single player content. You’re stuck with playing against others or not playing at all. I can understand, in some cases, a game dealing with this style, like the just-reviewed Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but the way this game was advertised, we expected something more.

It gets worse. The gameplay itself is decidedly one note, and the new abilities introduced don’t really change it up another level. The bomb dropping is decidedly effective, but if you’re looking for tactics outside of that – creatures to ride, better abilities – you won’t find them here. You can upgrade your bombs and your kick techniques, but, really, that’s…about it.

Oh, but then there’s the worst part of the game – it’s broken. Completely broken. We tried to get online with a match an approximate 17 different times, and out of all of these tries, only once did we successfully connect. And even then, players dropped out like a bandit, leaving us either forfeiting the match or giving up completely. Considering this game goes for $10, that’s completely unacceptable. An online game that doesn’t work, for the first time since SOCOM Confrontation, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, Bloober Team did address the issues, to be fair, and said that they areunder repair. But that’s also no excuse. Why release a game that’s this broken without giving a heads up that it’s in dire need of a patch? That’s inexcusable. Their letter came two days – TWO DAYS – after players went out and bought the game, instead of in a more immediate fashion. That’s sad.

Even if the online issues were addressed in a proper fashion, there’s still the question of level design. Unfortunately, while Bloober Team did try to copy the Bomberman formula, it wasn’t successful. The spaces here are small and cramped, and even if you do figure out a “magic point” on the map, you end up stumbling because of an unforeseen explosion, due to the cruddy camera angle. To make matters worse, glitches pop up way too often, forcing you to try and figure out what’s happening at times. Again, Bloober Team said they would address, but, again, they should’ve done that before the thing released.

Basement Crawl is the worst kind of disappointment – a game that’s initially inspired by the likes of a classic series, but fails to carry over that inspiration into something even close to playable. The gameplay is laggy, the online is busted, and the maps leave nothing to be desired. Plus, the bare bones modes barely give you anything to do, outside of inviting friends over to be as annoyed as you are. Skip this mess and go track down a classic copy of Bomberman instead. You’ll thank me later.

The Good

  • Attempts to recreate the magic of Bomberman
  • Interesting premise and characters

The Bad

  • Completely busted when it comes to online play
  • Severely lacking in modes
  • Horrid map design – even for next-gen

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RETRO

Video Game Magazine concentrates in bringing awareness to RETRO gaming enthusiast about the things happening around this magnificent hobby; topics include: new games and hardware being developed, rare items, unreleased games, as well as retrospectives, articles, reviews, interviews, new indie games inspired by classic ones, and back history of companies and games that marked the industry.

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