3D Bomberman
| 3D Bomberman

Meeting an old friend when you've not seen them for a couple of years will go one of two ways. If you're lucky, the two of you won't have changed much since you last saw each other and it'll be easy for you to pick up where you left off. They might look different, but they're the same reliable, good-for-a-laugh buddy you fondly remembered.

If you're not so lucky, it's an absolute bummer. The intervening time has seen you both grow up and apart, so much so that neither of you are really recognisable to each other in the way that your memory recalls. It's not solely a physical change but one that's far deeper, almost as though you're two different people. What made that friendship work the first time around isn't necessarily going to do the same thing for you further down the line.

It was with a feeling of such trepidation that we loaded up 3D Bomberman.

Having been fans of the frantic bomber's efforts from our misspent youth, we were relieved when his initial outing on mobile phone stayed true to his roots. But this, this is a different Bomberman.

If anyone remembers the film Sliding Doors, it's as if Bomberman had two roads open to it, each showing how one decision can lead to two very different endings. Bomberman Deluxe was one such ending and 3D Bomberman is the other.

The latter has trod a very different path and ended up looking all the better for it, but does it still offer the same lovably combustive mix of strategy and manic action as the earlier version?

Before we're tempted to explore any more high-concept temporal theories, we have to answer in the affirmative. 3D Bomberman has all the fun of its 2D counterpart and then some and, despite offering a style of play that differs from the classic, it's actually marginally better.

You still play the cutest little bomber ever devised and still have to run around various levels looking for the exit. Along the way you're required to blow up obstacles and enemies whilst avoiding ending up a burnt crisp yourself. So far, so familiar: this is the Bomberman we know from way back.

But where 3D Bomberman has grown up, and not just in visual terms, is where the core of the game lies. In Bomberman Deluxe you faced off against three other Bombermen in a fight to the death. Here you face off against various monsters in arenas that are far more varied than the Bomberman of old.

That they're rendered in three glorious dimensions is immediately noticeable, but they also include gradient changes and many more challenges, including large areas that are impassable and many more narrow avenues to get stuck in.

It's a far less frenetic affair than Bomberman Deluxe and this suits the mobile phone format down to the ground, because you're not frustrated by the unsuitableness of the controls.

It's not that the controls were ever bad – they're certainly not here, even with the added complexity of navigating a 3D environment – but a mobile phone just isn't suited to action that's very manic.

3D Bomberman is just as taxing on the grey matter, though, and you'll be lucky to get through the first three levels without running out of lives. The standard levels are also interspersed with boss levels, where a giant monster will block your progress. These boss levels can be a drag as they're not as much fun as the standard levels but they do serve to offer a measure of progress.

And progress you will. 3D Bomberman is addictive and more than enough fun to keep you coming back, even if it is to the same level five times running because you keep blowing yourself up before you reach the end.

It's like realising that you're far closer to that long-lost friend than you ever realised or had even admitted to yourself. And you'll be happier than ever.

3D Bomberman

With more depth, in all senses of the word, than its 2D counterpart, this is an absolute blast