With more than 50 appearances under his belt Bomberman should be no stranger to gaming fans. Since debuting in 1983 Bomberman titles have appeared on just about every platform ever released from the Sega Dreamcast through to the N-Gage and the Nintendo DS. This hasn't stopped Hudson Soft from releasing Bomberman Live for the Xbox Live Arcade. Not all that much has changed and the core gameplay remains the same and this makes Bomberman Live an easy recommendation, as long as you're not playing on your own.
For the dozen or so who aren't familiar with the Bomberman series it's quite easy to pick up. The game is played from a top down perspective and each "level" is a square grid surrounded by blocks. The idea is to find the open spaces, drop bombs and blast away the blocks. As you blast away the blocks powerups will appear and you'll also get closer to your opponents. As things become more hectic there will be few blocks left and you'll want to use your bombs to destroy your opponents. The bomb's explosions will only ever go in two ways so you'll know where to stand to avoid being bombed, but when there are several players in each level it quickly becomes a battle of the quickest. It's the same formula that was such a hit in 1983 and it hasn't aged at all.
Offline play for Bomberman Live is pretty standard fare. Rather than a lengthy single player campaign you simply need to select how many opponents you're playing against and then select an arena and a gameplay mode. For each arena there are several modes. Of course there is the traditional normal mode but there are also a few obscure modes, such as the zombie option which makes you immortal and requires you to try and paint as many tiles as possible. There are eight arenas in total and we wouldn't be surprised if these expanded via downloadable content. For each game you can also edit simple options such as whether revenge is turned off and the amount of time a battle should go for. If you're into customisation you can also customise your Bomberman, which is handy for when there are eight players on a map and you lose track of which character is your own.
Bomberman has always been a game geared towards multiplayer and Bomberman Live is no different. Up to eight players can play online and you can actually partner up with three friends on your Xbox 360 locally and jump online and play against four other friends across the world, which is absolutely brilliant. Bomberman is just a ridiculous amount of fun online, it doesn't matter whether you jump online for a quick battle or whether you play the game religiously Bomberman Live is remarkably simple to pick up and quickly becomes intense online. The game also keeps track of how many battles you've won or lost but you can also play in unranked matches. Achievement points have been well thought out too and there is a mixture of points devoted to single player and the multiplayer aspect of the game.
Bomberman Live is an easy game to recommend. It's worth noting the game hasn't really changed that much and the single player options are strictly so you can rehearse for the multiplayer components of the game, but when you're playing an intense eight player online match and you're down to the last few seconds and just manage to take out your opponent you'll be smiling from ear to ear. We were.