Yahtzee! Why is everybody running away?
If you've ever wondered what you'd look like if an angel had an affair with your grandmother, behold the Aqui-Chan. Well, sort of. Apparently, the Aqui-Chan are also part devil; maybe grandpa got it on with a succubus. In any case, you end up with five grandchildren who have cute faces, horns, wings, a tail, freakish flipper hands, and a spit-curl hairstyle.
The only other things you know about the Aqui-Chan from the Bombastic game manual is that they love fruit, and that puzzle game designers take lots and lots of drugs.
The Aqui-Chan have decided that they need to find their erstwhile angel ancestor, who has returned to Cloud World but never visited his kin. Funny that even an angel can be a deadbeat dad. Anyway, it just so happens that the road between Earth and Cloud World is covered with dice. Not normal dice, either; these dice have a tendency to explode. Never fear, however, because obviously there's a giant with anchor arms named Mr. Machos who is ready to help you understand how to traverse this dice/bomb-laden field.
LOTS of drugs.
Puzzle games enjoy a luxury shared by few other genres: the plot doesn't matter. You can have dinosaurs popping bubbles, squashed anime-bug versions of Street Fighter characters battling it out, or just blocks dropping from nowhere to Russian-themed music. That being said, what the heck is Bombastic about? I mean, seriously. I haven't even touched on the ginsu-wielding chefs who occasionally like to sit on the dice. Maybe the dictionary definition of Bombastic will help me…
BomÂ·bastic (adj.) : ostentatiously lofty in style.
Nope, no help there. Apparently, the name was chosen because it had "bomb" in it. This being a puzzle game, let's switch focus to the gameplay and try to forget about the angeldevilchildren who take advice from a cross between a goon and Popeye.
The main modes for Bombastic are Quest (where you follow the "plot"), Trial and multiplayer Wars. Quest mode is the best one, taking you through a collection of levels that have specific solutions. Trial takes place on a square board with dice constantly reappearing as they explode. One interesting aspect of the Trial mode is the Attack variation, which tells you to head to Capcom's website for codes to unlock specific missions. The more modes you complete, the more open up. There are a ton of game variations to try, providing endless hours of gameplay to dedicated fans.
The basic gameplay in Bombastic is fairly straightforward. The square playing field is covered with dice. You stand on a single die that rolls underneath you while you walk around the field, trying to match up your die with surrounding dice to cause big explosions, eventually trying to get rid of the dice altogether.
For instance, if the top of your die is a 5, it needs to be next to at least four other dice with 5's on the top. Exploding dice will cause a chain reaction with any nearby dice with either the same number or one number lower showing on top, so big explosions can be strung together for big combos. Of course, you better get out of the way or you'll bypass Aqui-Chan Cloud World for a direct flight to Aqui-Chan heaven. While very difficult to explain, the gameplay is amazingly simple.
Too simple, in fact. One of the best things about puzzle games is the fact that they actually make you think about every move you do. In Bombastic, chaos rules the day. While the logic and math can get pretty complex, the actual gameplay moves so quickly that the strategy often gets simplified. Making a mistake usually doesn't affect you too badly, and there are many ways of stumbling through the various modes of play to a good amount of success.
The first time I played, the game lasted 25 minutes and I only stopped because I was getting a little bored. Chain reactions can go on forever; really all you have to do is take any die that is ready to explode and roll it to 6. It will then start the chain all over again. The only time you die is when you don't control the Aqui-Chan (angeldevilchild) properly.
Sadly, the control is where Bombastic suffers the most. You use the D-pad rather than the analog stick, which may turn off some gamers. Also, up on the D-pad moves the Aqui-Chan diagonally to the right due to the perspective. This makes the control hard to get used to and very inaccurate, not the ideal conditions for a puzzle game. Though not horrible, it makes the game feel that much more chaotic.
And it's this very chaos that holds Bombastic back. There's nothing really functionally wrong with the game (besides the crack-induced plot), but it simply isn't nearly as addictive or fun as other puzzle games. It's worth a rental to fans of the genre, but I'll personally be off watching FLCL or some other bizarre anime that makes about as much sense as this game.