Bomberman Land Touch! 2 Hands-On

We pay a visit to a theme park and numerous bomb-filled mazes as we check out the DS version of Hudson's next Bomberman offering.

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If you're a fan of the long-running Bomberman series, you might already be familiar with Bomberman Land Touch!, which was released exclusively for the Nintendo DS in 2006. If you played that game, then all you really need to know about the upcoming sequel is that it'll offer much more of the same. If you missed out the first time around, keep reading because we've got our hands on a near-finished copy of Bomberman Land Touch 2! and have had a lot of fun with it.

Like its predecessor, Bomberman Land Touch 2! features two primary gameplay options: a single-player story mode and a battle mode that supports up to four players online or up to eight players locally. The story mode is a role-playing game of sorts, set inside the giant Bom-Bom Kingdom theme park, where Bomberman and a number of his friends are enjoying a day out. The park boasts more than 40 "attractions" for you to visit, and each of them unlocks a different minigame the first time you grace them with your presence. Beating preset scores at the park's attractions is the main way for you to earn tokens and various types of "pieces"--both of which are necessary to gain entry into otherwise inaccessible areas of the park.

Much of your time in story mode will be spent playing minigames.
Much of your time in story mode will be spent playing minigames.

Bom-Bom Kingdom is laid out in classic role-playing-game fashion, making you feel like you have the freedom to explore while restricting your movement through the use of obstacles that you have no hope of overcoming until you're meant to overcome them. There are gates that can only be opened when you've collected enough pieces or tokens, there are boulders that can only be blown up with specific types of bomb, there's a river that you can't cross without swimming gear, and...well, you get the idea. Other nods to role-playing games include characters that need simple tasks performed before they'll get out of your way, as well as chests and other items that are hidden only because they're obscured by the isometric camera perspective. There's also the requisite love interest: Cute Pink Bomber.

The meat of the story mode is its collection of more than 40 minigames, and although a good number of them are merely retouched versions of games from the original Bomberman Land Touch!, there look to be plenty of all-new games as well. Like the exploration portion of story mode, almost all of the minigames are played exclusively using the stylus and the touch screen, although we can report that at least one of the games--which instantly became our least favorite--can only be played by blowing into the microphone to push a sailboat through a bomb-filled expanse of water.

Far more agreeable minigames on offer in Bomberman Land Touch 2! include bending spoons by rubbing them with the stylus, playing an air-hockey-like game that uses multiple bombs instead of a puck, fishing for different colored bombs, and attempting to score goals in something that vaguely resembles a penalty shoot-out in a game of soccer. Impressively, a decent number of the minigames that we've unlocked thus far are designed with multiplayer play in mind, and although some of them are specifically designed for two players, others will support up to four. All of the minigames that you unlock in the story mode can be accessed at any time via the "attractions" option on the main menu, which is also where you'll find Bomberman Land Touch 2!'s battle mode.

Fans of the old-school Bomberman battle modes won't be disappointed.
Fans of the old-school Bomberman battle modes won't be disappointed.

Although some of the options found in modern Bomberman battle mode games would've been unthinkable in the '80s, the gameplay really hasn't changed too dramatically over the years. You and up to seven opponents are placed in a maze then tasked with killing each other until only one of you is left standing. Each of you is armed with only one puny bomb at the start of the game, but by blowing up the destructible walls that fill much of the maze, you reveal power-ups that include (but certainly aren't limited to) more powerful bombs, the ability to drop more bombs simultaneously, faster running speed, and the ability to kick bombs away from you. Modern iterations of the game, Bomberman Land Touch 2! included, also feature a number of power-down items, as well as gameplay modes with objectives that are somewhat more imaginative than simply killing everyone.

Bomberman Land Touch 2!'s battle mode features no fewer than 20 different gameplay types. Predictably, some of these are merely variants of one another, but there's certainly no shortage of variety and, yes, you can play the classic no-frills version if you prefer. Those of you who are feeling adventurous will find mazes with pipes to hide in, mazes with conveyor belts, mazes made of ice, and mazes with trapdoors that transport you to other areas, to name but a few. You'll also find stages on which kicked bombs can change direction, a mode where the objective is simply to claim territory using colored bomb blasts, and race-style games that task you with being the first to reach a crown. Or, for example, you may be tasked with being the first to locate a key and then reach an exit. In short, you'll find hours of multiplayer action here, and even those of you who are hardened veterans of the Bomberman series will find plenty that's new. Incidentally, battle mode games are played using the D pad and face buttons rather than the stylus.

We look forward to bringing you more information on Bomberman Land Touch 2! as soon as it becomes available.

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