Call me old-fashioned, but I like my Bomberman to stick close to the original (you crazy kids with your three dimensions). Thankfully, Bomberman DS keeps things familiar enough--you still plant bombs to reveal powerups and burn opponents--but you'll have to break out the Bombermanual for some never-before-seen power-ups, such as the shield (which, uh, shields you from bomb blasts). They'll come in handy when you solo through 10 areas to find bomb crystals or some nonsense. As you collect items, you'll manage your inventory on the touch screen. It works well and lets you strate-gize with your power-ups: I'd treat myself to a remote bomb or a sweet power-up for a difficult stage...or hit the invincibility right before I was about to eat it. But forget the one-man Unabomber stuff--Bomberman is all about multiplayer. There's the rad crown battle mode, where the first to reach the burger king crown wins, but I hate the voice detonation mode, which had me literally dropping F-bombs. More multiplayer battle modes and creativity with the single-player battlefield would be nice, but, overall, this is a must-have for BomberFans.
This is my first Bomberman, and it's not going to make me a convert. Even when games are primarily intended for multiplayer, I like a good solo experience to help me get my chops before venturing into the competitive fray. Bomberman DS doesn't provide that. The tedious single-player mode can be less than forgiving, and you can't save often enough. For such a slow-paced game, that's unforgivable; in my case, it meant surefire frustration when accidental deaths wiped out several levels of progress. I did enjoy multiplayer--the varied power-ups keep things fast and fun, and with the potential for eight players to get on a single map, it's the best sort of chaos. But I don't think this is a guaranteed good time for everyone.
Ubisoft's promise of "100 puzzle-filled stages" in this latest Bomberman adventure is misleading. Yes, the singleplayer mode does feature 100 stages of play, but to call them "puzzle-filled" is an insult. Aside from the boss battles, not one of those stages offers any kind of depth or variety; 10-year-old Bomberman games were more interesting. Multiplayer, however, delivers. Eight-player wireless play rocks, and this version's got more modes, options, and levels than any other in recent memory. As a multiplayer party game, Bomberman DS simply can't be beat.