Explody Bomb is an automatically side-scrolling arcade type game for the Wii U. The game nicely explains the general gameplay and semblance of a plot the first time you play. The idea is that you’re supposed to play through town while destroying the airborne enemies that try to pass while also keeping the bomb you’re carrying from smacking into buildings and exploding. There’s not the deepest lore in this game because it’s meant to emulate arcade titles from years gone by… I guess. So let’s get into the gameplay.
This game is actually designed with the Wii U in mind. You use the gamepad to control everything. You use the left stick to move your automatically scrolling pilot on the TV up and down. You can hit ZL, ZR, or A to shoot. You have three bullets that slowly regenerate after you fire them. Your aim up here is to shoot the small set of enemies before they can get past you. Collision will equal death. There are three main enemies you are tasked with taking down, lest they pass you and wreak havoc on the city of Cincinatus. The one that looks suspiciously like a Bullet Bill will simply stay in place awaiting death. The next one, which is rarer, is a small plane that moves up and down in place to make it harder to hit. And the final one that comes after every ten points is a plane that will fire a steady stream of bullets at you. Failure to destroy any of these designated enemies will result in a game over. There are also stars that bounce up and down in place that pop up in random places. These can be destroyed or simply avoided. You might also notice flags showing up near the bottom of the TV screen. This indicated something on the gamepad screen. That’s right, you’re playing there as well. This is where the titular Explody Bomb resides, automatically scrolling along with the pilot. The bomb can be moved up and down with the right stick in order to guide it between the buildings of Cincinatus. The flags on the TV indicate a gap approaching on the gamepad screen. This requires splitting the attention between the two. Collision with a building will also result in failure. Your score is determined by the number of buildings you pass through, so go for that high score.
You’ll also notice that between each set of buildings on the gamepad is a coin. You may also notice coins dropped by defeated enemies on the TV screen as well. Collect these to unlock the two new characters. You start with the standard pilot and a retro version of the same. These two look different but play exactly the same. There’s Jesper, a robotic stork that can charge up a triple shot rather than shooting individual bullets. The last character is Midori, a witch that can shoot three large projectiles in a scatter. There’s even an option to alter the graphics between two palettes. You can also play this game in a few other ways. You can play it with a Wii U Pro Controller instead so that you can simply prop up the gamepad and look between the two screens as you see fit. You can also play it with two people. With just the gamepad you can have one person hold one side and the other control the other, with each person taking responsibility for the actions on one screen. Or you can even use the gamepad AND pro controller together for a more traditional two player experience. Don’t worry, the single and double controller modes each have their own respective high scores.
I think the idea is neat. Splitting your attention between both screens is a bit more difficult than it might sound. You’ll often find yourself getting your alignment wrong on one screen while you look to other and end up crashing into something unexpectedly. It’s a real thrill once you start getting it down and every mistake tends to feel like your own fault for being too slow or too hasty. The pixel art and neat and the chiptune music along with it are a nice little touch with making it feel a bit more in the classic arcade spirit. The simple concept that’s difficult to master makes it a great game to play competitively or cooperatively or even in a party setting while passing it around. Who know, maybe you can make a drinking game out of it. It’s just a simple game with a bit of replay value here and there that won’t run you much money or take up much space. However, I do have some important concerns.
While this can be cool for parties or co-op, it’s not that deep of a single player game. Unlocking the two extra characters takes some time, but doesn’t feel like that big of a reward. Once you get them both there’s really not much reason to go for the coins anymore, but they’ll disappear once you’ve hit the 999 maximum. It’d be nice if they had more purpose or if the game unlocked characters from a number of plays or hitting benchmark high scores instead. That way the extra mechanic wouldn’t feel so underutilized. I also find the shooting planes to be a little rough. To be fair, the only appear every ten points and they generally seem to be near the middle of the screen, but if you miss your one shot at them then you’re screwed because their stream of bullets is constant and will not allow you to move back into position for another attempt. This makes them feel unforgiving, even if technically fair. The player moving the bomb also doesn’t seem to have as much to do in cooperative play, being simply relegated to moving into position every so often to dodge stationary buildings. Maybe more could’ve been done to remedy this. This game is also not exactly one you’ll be able to fully appreciate on your Wii U without others. For solo play it’d be much more fun as a mobile game you could play on the side to kill a few minutes, like on the 3DS or something. However, this is only available on Wii U and, due to the nature of the gameplay, cannot be played in off TV play. The game could probably be tweaked to do that by dividing a single screen, also allowing it to be ported to other devices, but this would admittedly take away from the experience and appeal as well.
Explody Bomb is a neat little arcade-esque game, but it it’s just not that terribly deep. It’s worth checking out for its asking price of one dollar if you have other people to play it with for co-op and parties… possibly the drinking game. However, if you’re just getting it for yourself, though it IS very cheap and a small size, I just wouldn’t recommend it. A dollar can be better spent elsewhere on the Nintendo eshop or saved up to go towards something else. The only reason I got it was because it was on the crazy sale of one cent and… well if you see it for that much then jump on it because one cent will not get you much else there, I promise. So, unfortunately, this game is one I just can’t recommend unless it’s on a crazy sale, you have people to play it with, or just really like what you’ve seen and heard about it. It’s still less than you’d spend in the arcade.