Available on: PC, PS4, Switch & Xbox One
Though I’ve seen many gamers in recent years lament the decline of couch multiplayer titles in the last few console generations – growing up, as we did, with games such as Bomberman, Mario Kart, Goldeneye and more – it’s clear that they’re missing out on some fantastic experiences that have been available across pretty much all consoles – and even PC. Many indie titles look to scratch that itch with the very specific mixture of laughs and chaos that many competitive couch multiplayer games provide.
Bombfest is another of those titles – and it’s available on all current gen consoles as well as PC. Initially, I thought that it’d be a game that was along the lines of Bomberman’s more ordered arena-based competition, but instead it’s much more chaotic and physics-based than you may expect. In it, you and the other players (or AI bots if you’re short of human opponents to play with) are little wooden figures, placed into different household settings into which bombs continually drop – and to win, you need to be the last player standing in the arena. You pick up bombs of various types that drop from the sky and throw them at your opponents in the hope that they’ll get caught in the blast and be thrown out of the arena; it’s pretty much as simple as that.
Points are awarded for destroying other players and taken away for accidentally killing yourself; the winner is the player with the most points after a set number of rounds (with players who are tied for first place entering into a sudden death face off).
It’s a really straightforward game to pick up and play; there’s just two buttons to learn (jump/roll and grab/throw), with players being in a practice arena that they must all leave (via a catflap!) before the first competitive round starts. This makes it suitable for pretty much anyone of any age or skill level; even when players die by being blown out of – or falling off – the arena, they’re still part of the action, albeit they’re reincarnated as bombs. It’s a great idea that means everyone is involved right up to the last moment – and also prevents there being one player who can run away with the victory in most cases; it’s a great method to level the playing field between experienced and new players.
Also of note is that there’s a steady stream of content unlocked as you play, with plenty of cosmetic items to customise characters with, as well as further stages and even bombs types. The game itself is hugely addictive and fun on its own, but the constant drip feeding of content unlocking makes it even more so. There’s some truly inventive household arenas and bomb types too; sticky bombs, button mines and even 20-sided dice (the explosion effect of which is determined by the number rolled) are just a few examples of the explosive items on offer. Some of the rooms even have a large number of physical objects to play with or use as shields (the Jenga-style block tower and Mahjong tiles are a highlight, as are the dangerous wooden car or protective toy train) too; there’s also an awful lot of ways to customise the battles to personal preference, right down to how frequently each bomb type appears on the stages you choose to play.
It’s an incredibly fun game and one I’d highly recommend. It’s absolutely one of the best couch multiplayer games I’ve played in a very long time; though I was trying to resist using this pun, sometimes, however, you just have to give in and go with it, so here it is: Bombfest is an absolute blast.
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