There are two requirements for you to enjoy Bomb Squad. Without either of these two things, half of the game is unplayable, and the other half is just a fraction as fun. No, I’m not talking about RAM or Processor speeds. These requirements are that you need to have friends, and you need to have spare controllers (iPhones, iPads, but PS3 or Xbox are best). Without these two things, Bomb Squad is an empty shell. You may as well stop reading this review now. However, if you do have these two things, then Bomb Squad will be the most fun you have had in a long, long time.
Bomb Squad Gameplay
Bomb Squads sense of humour is refreshing and breaks way from the other serious titles on the Mac App Store. Basically, you are a dude who has lots of bombs. You can throw these bombs at other enemy dudes to try and blow them off the map. Power ups change your bomb type (sticky bomb, anyone?) and also your attributes, like making your punch more effective or allowing you to throw 3 bombs at once.
In the practice mode, you are placed on a huge circular mushroom and your job is to defend it by getting rid of all the enemies in each wave. The waves get increasingly harder though, as you’ll encounter different types of enemies who throw different bombs.
From the way that the little creatures run around, to the classic moments where you manage to attach a sticky bomb to someone’s face, Bomb Squad is hilarious. You can pick people up and throw them off the arena, you can freeze them, set of huge chain reactions that take out the whole group and so much more. My friends and I just couldn’t stop laughing when we played this.
A lot of it is thanks to the music and floaty physics. The soundtrack feels like its been taken out of a circus and it really puts you in the mood for some explosive and comical combat. The graphics prevent the game from being taken seriously adding the whole jokey atmosphere.
You can play the Practice challenges on your own or with up to 8 other players. It’s much better with other players, as it gets so hard that you have no hope of completing it on your own. Bomb Squad has a remote counterpart on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad which allows you to control your character through your Wifi connection. Xbox and PS3 controllers also work and are much better to use. The touch controllers have a virtual joystick that feels horrible and unresponsive whilst moving on the horizontal axis. The game is still enjoyable with a touch device, but a little frustrating when you don’t have complete control over your character. I hope that an update comes out for the remotes that improves character movement.
Team tournament is the second mode that includes no AI opponents. This pits you and your friends against each other in many different game types, from capture the flag to king of the hill. There are loads of different maps in this one (instead of just the one arena in the practise challenges) and it’s a ton of fun if you have a group of friends round and enough touch devices or controllers to equip all. Unfortunately, you can’t play this on your own. There is no option to play against AI opponents or friends which puzzles me as it would have been a welcome addition.
This brings me back to the underlying issue. You MUST have friends and controllers to be able to get the best out of Bomb Squad. Bomb Squad is the best local multiplayer gameplay system that I have ever played and is the perfect ice breaker or entertainer at any sort of party or event. But on the same note, it’s not good for those rainy lonely days where you just want to be occupied for an hour or so. Playing the practise challenges gets repetitive after a while and I really wish there was more single player capability within Bomb Squad. Nonetheless, it’s a cunningly crafted title that will have you and your friends laughing out loud.
Publisher: Eric Froemling
Description: A Fun Local Multiplayer Arena Game
Pros: Perfect execution, hilarious, fitting dramatic sound, absolutely fantastic if you have friends and controllers, compatible with iDevices and Xbox/PS3 controllers.
Cons: Virtual joystick isn’t accurate enough on an iDevice (fixed in an update), you MUST have friends and controllers to enjoy Bomb Squad, very limited single player content (fixed in yet another update).
Update 2: Eric Froemling has once again listened to our feedback and has released another update to Bomb Squad which includes more single player content. This amazing update has boosed the game’s score from a 4/5 to a 4.5/5. Nice one.
Update: An update to the iPhone and iPad controller app that connects with the Mac version now has an optional fixed joystick which makes navigation much easier. The button placement has also been rejigged.