Originally posted October 25th 2015 on the Seafoam Gaming forums
Thanks to Alkterios Games for the review code.
Title: Explody Bomb
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 9/10/2015
The main game/story
In this high-score game, you take control of a pilot who must guide a bomb through buildings carefully to avoid it from blowing up, while also avoiding any obstacles himself. There’s no story to this game, as to be expected from a game of this genre, and it has a neat concept for using both screens of the Wii U, although the execution isn’t that great.
Explody Bomb tries to have a retro style to it, and for the most part on the Gamepad it looks fine, with the bomb and the background doing the job well and making things easy to see. However, on the top screen the pilot looks like something out of an early Famicom Hudson Soft game, and the obstacles and background tend to clash with the pilot, making it hard to tell what you are doing on the top screen compared to the simplistic design on the bottom screen that gets the job done. This unfortunately let to a few times where I couldn’t see what was going on with the top screen that well, and for a game that requires you to switch back and forth between screens it can get quite disorienting.
Music and Sound:
There’s no music in this game at all, with everything being simple sound effects, such as when you shoot or get a game over. Not too much to talk about here, and while simplicity isn’t always a bad thing, the game does feel a bit empty at times, making me think that some more sound effects would have done the job, even if the developer wanted the game to feel more like an arcade game due to the lack of music.
Explody Bomb tries to use both screens of the Wii U to show a rather interesting concept, which is using both screens at the same time to take advantage of the Wii U’s capabilities. Unfortunately, the execution is really, really poor, which is honestly quite surprising considering the simple premise, and how with just a little more effort it could have been done much better. The main objective is to have the pilot guide his bomb through buildings, being careful not to blow it up or crash into any enemies himself. The top screen is the pilot, while the bottom screen is the bomb, and you move them up and down using the left and right joysticks respectively, while multitasking between both screens to ensure you don’t run into anything.
However, this is much easier said than done, as focusing on two things at once and having to look back and forth can be incredibly tricky, almost to the point of the game feeling unfair. You also have to shoot down every enemy in your path using the pilot’s ship, which can be done with the A button. Unfortunately, you can only fire one bullet at once, and if you miss just one enemy it’s a game over, even if they don’t hit you, making things almost infuriating not far after the game begins. My highest score in this game was 6, mainly due to the amount of looking up and down I had to do just to see what was going on, along with me also having to make sure to fire just right at the enemies in order to defeat them.
This is definitely a game that would work better if you had a friend share the controller with you, but even then it ends up feeling rather bland and cheap. It’s a shame, as despite its simplicity, and despite the fact that I usually love difficult high score games (Like Konami’s Tutankham, by far one of the most vicious arcade games ever made), I just couldn’t seem to enjoy this game.
In conclusion, I didn’t have fun with Explody Bomb, at all, which is a shame considering how I am usually a big fan of arcade games with a focus on high scores, yet Explody Bomb felt more frustrating to play than fun or enjoyable. Instead of having every point feel like a milestone, I felt more and more tired, having to constantly switch views, and combine that with the fact that you can only fire one, slow moving bullet at once, requiring even more focus when you have to look at both screens in the first place makes this game miss the mark entirely. With just a little bit more tweaks, like maybe having you fire three bullets at once, or having a multiplayer mode where the gamepad person controls the bomb and a Pro Controller user controls the pilot, Explody Bomb could be a fun little timewaster that would be worth the price of $1.99. Sadly in its current state, it feels like a missed opportunity. The developer has expressed interest in updating the game to take the feedback into account, however, so maybe this will be the new Blok Drop U for me, a game I couldn’t stand at all transformed into what it should have been in the first place. I give Explody Bomb (Version “1.0” for the time being) a 3 out of 10, and if the update for the game fixes a lot of problems, I’ll add a score for the “2.0 Version” to reflect its current status.