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DS  header logo

Bomberman Land Touch! 2

For: DS

The big bang

Product: Bomberman Land Touch! 2 | Developer: Hudson Soft | Publisher: Rising Star Games Limited | Format: DS | Genre: Action, Puzzle | Players: 1-8 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Bomberman Land Touch! 2 DS, thumbnail 1
We've grown contemptuous of gunfire. So wrote Stephen Wraysford from the trenches in the novel Birdsong, and such is the condition of anybody who spends his life in a war zone. Once the billionth speck of gunpowder pops, you stop caring. Thankfully for Hudson Soft, the same isn't true of the Bomberman franchise.

Even so, Bomberman Land Touch! 2 feels like the product of a series concerned that it might be outstaying its welcome, determined as it is to remain unobtrusive beneath the stable shelter established by Bomberman Land Touch!

Like Touch!, Touch! 2 is a mini-game collection dressed up as an adventure in which you, as Cheerful White, go to the funfair with a host of other characters from the Bomberman universe. There's Giant Gold, there's Bookworm Green, there's Cool Black. You haven't heard of them? Well, surely you know all about the inimitable Star Bomber.

Him neither?

It makes no odds, as they don't feature too heavily in the action, other than to give you the occasional prompt and, in the case of Star Bomber, to serve as your avatar's role model and mentor. Kiosk-holders and fortune tellers also populate the game, far more usefully, and a transparent limp-hatted figure appears from time to time to goad you about some future calamity.

When you first arrive at the Bom-Bom Kingdom fair, there are only a couple of mini-games you can play, each of which gives you a token that you can use to unlock the door leading to the next part of the fair, and this progression more or less describes the entire game: you have to take part in mini-games in order to earn tokens to unlock new areas that in turn contain more mini-games.

Each area generates its own tokens, and the tokens you collect in the Moon Zone, say, can only be used in gates with moon symbols beside them, for which reason Touch! 2 is far more linear than it might have been if the tokens were generic (like the coins in Super Mario 64 DS). To liven it up, though, there are extra activities littered about, such as treasure chests half-concealed by sand that you can remove with your brush.

Like Zelda: the Phantom Hourglass, Touch! 2 is controlled entirely with the stylus. To access the save/load menu, equip items, check your in-game emails, and so on you have a Bomb Pad, a kind of personal organiser tucked away at the bottom of the screen.

The fairground setting that connects and orders the mini-games is good, but it can only be on the strength of the mini-games themselves that Touch! 2 is worth recommending, and, on the strength of most of them, it is.

While a few of them are recognisable from the original, there's no guarantee that you've played that. If you are new to the franchise there's a lot of variety here, with more than 40 unique games to play, which collectively make good use of the DS's capabilities. To take a random sample, you have to blow into the sails of a boat in one, flick bombs towards a top-screen opponent in another, paddle either side of a raft to propel yourself up a river in another, and free-kick a series of bombs into a goal in yet another.

As you encounter the mini-games in the Story mode, you unlock them in the Attractions mode. This enables you to play them either on your own or against somebody else, which is a nice addition, but not one you're likely to avail yourself of often.

In truth, the mini-game selection and the adventure that strings them together prop each other up. Neither is exceptional, but both are well-presented and playable, and they combine to make something worthwhile.

But then Touch! 2 isn't merely worthwhile. It's actually quite good, and this is thanks to the extensive, exciting, and rightly lauded multiplayer Battle mode.

As well as options to go online against up to three friends or strangers and locally against up to seven, you can play up to seven AI opponents in one of 21 different single-player game types, including Speedy and Escape. On top of that, you can tweak just about every variable you can imagine.

Unfortunately, the multiplayer servers are reportedly barren in comparison with those for Touch!, and when we popped online to take a look we couldn't find anybody to play with us. Whether this will pick up over the weeks and months remains to be seen, but if the sparseness of the servers indicates anything it's that the online world simply doesn't draw as many DS tourists as it does PC and home consoles, and chances are you're one of the majority who prefer to keep things local.

If you're a fan of Bomberman in its original essence, as a game about running about in a maze and dealing anguish to your friends, then Touch! 2 will meet you your needs with almost embarrassing comprehensiveness. Mini-game fans should probably give it a look. Bomberman fans, meanwhile, can stop looking: it's all here.
Bomberman Land Touch! 2
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 17 March 2008
While not exactly a revolution, Bomberman Land Touch! 2 is a worthy successor to a worthy title, with a credible single-player mini-game campaign and a truly superb range of multiplayer options
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