PSP Fanboy review: Bomberman Land

(Yes, one of the mini-games in Bomberman Land is to roll toilet paper.)

When did Bomberman stop using bombs? That's the big question you'll ask yourself as you trod through this tiresome collection of mediocre mini-games. Bomberman Land is a horribly misleading title. From the sound of things, you may think there is an adventure of some sort, involving bombs. You'd be incorrect.

There are a number of modes to play through, but the game's focus is its titular Bomberman Land mode. In this story-based journey, Bomberman is sent on a quest to save Bomberman Land by collecting various land pieces, 150 in total. By collecting the right land pieces, Bomberman will be able to unlock more parts of this inexplicably sunken world. To make matters worse, the denizens of this land have seemingly undergone collective amnesia, and will only bestow the "Piece King" (that's you, by the way) a piece when he completes one of the game's 50 mini-games.

Nothing has to be intrinsically wrong about the mini-game genre. However, Bomberman Land fails to entertain due to a number of serious flaws. Firstly, getting to attractions is quite a chore. The extensive world map is littered with dozens of points, none of which are particularly interesting. In fact, many involve partaking in mundane conversations of no consequence. Many scenarios involve Bomberman going to a desolate location, where his sidekick says some rather inane point about the locale. "These boulders sure are big!" And then, inexplicably, you'll be rewarded with a piece. Only with the proper combination of items will players be able to progress, and find points where mini-games can be unlocked. In three hours of play, we were only able to unlock about a dozen games. That's uncool.

But, what makes Bomberman Land even less appealing are the mini-games themselves. They're simply not very good, or fun. These games are necessarily flawed per se; rather, they're uninspired. Whack-a-mole is pretty hard to mess up, but it's also rarely engaging. Being forced to play the same balloon-popping game for the third time becomes really aggrevating. It wasn't fun the first time; it certainly doesn't become more entertaining all of a sudden.

Too bad the game's focus is the awful Bomberland Land mode. The game's best point is still what the franchise has been built on: bomb-based multiplayer. This classic game returns, yet again, and demonstrates the fun and exhileration that Bomberman should provide. The use of Game Sharing is a welcomed addition: with it, you can transfer the multiplayer experience to all your PSP-owning friends, even those that don't have the game.

You can even transfer the minigames you've unlocked to your friends. But why bother? They're not really worth it. At the end of the day, the best use of this UMD is to play a decades-old game that you may already have on another console. Is that worth $30? Certainly not. We're hoping Hudson gets its act together and releases the classic Bomberman on the PS Store. A digital download of this arcade classic would be the best treatment of the franchise they could possibly give it.

PSP Fanboy score: 5.0

This article was originally published on Joystiq.