Somehow a game titled Bombing Bastards was allowed onto the Wii U Shop, of all places, without being required to change its name. With its mix of explosives, power-ups, and frantic multiplayer, the source of inspirations for Bombing Bastards is clear. There's no need to drag Bomberman onto the Maury Povich show for testing, because this illegitimate offspring is most definitely his.
Bombing Bastards offers two gameplay modes--single-player and multiplayer. Both utilize the same basic formula found in Bomberman. You'll navigate a grid-based maze, bombing your way through everything you can to snag as many power-ups as possible, increasing the number of explosives you can place, the size of your explosives, foot speed, and so on. If you blow yourself up, get blown up by an opponent, or let one of the slow-moving single player enemies touch you, you're dead. All of this might be fun were it not for how damned slow everything is. The bombs take forever to detonate, the enemies creep around at a snail's pace, and multiplayer battles can drag on for an interminable length. There's no charm or creativity to be found, here; just boredom and aggravation.
Single-player is as fun as trying to mow your yard with fingernail clippers. There are five worlds to conquer, each containing a series of levels leading up to a boss battle. The levels are all essentially the same thing over and over- beat the dim-witted, boring enemies- and the boss fights are more of an exercise in frustration than fun. You'll probably repeat each level many times, not because of the challenging gameplay (there isn't any), but because of the sheer impatience you'll feel while waiting for the sluggish enemies to wander in range of your explosions. Don't expect to learn any new skills, or uncover new techniques— what you start with is what you get.
Multiplayer fares a little better, but, again, that's only because nearly every aspect of it is lifted wholesale from Bomberman. If it wasn't for the slightly more limited power-up selection and gameplay options, you might swear you were playing a reskinned Bomberman mod that sucked the charm out of the long-running franchise.
Bombing Bastard's aesthetics are nothing to write home about. The visuals are cheap and poorly animated, with the robotic protagonist hovering rather than walking to save on animation costs. The music is all comprised of remixed classical pieces you've probably heard a thousand times before, and they grate on the nerves quickly... though not as much as the idiotic announcer whose quips are so obnoxiously unfunny the game development team had the foresight to let you turn him off.
Few games are so brazen in ripping off other games as Bombing Bastards while simultaneously missing what made their source material fun. Bombing Bastards’ plodding single-player, uninspired multiplayer, sluggish gameplay, and lackluster production values all add up to a game which deserved to be bombed back to the stone age.
This review was completed with a purchased download of Bombing Bastards for the Wii U.