Super Water Bomber delivers wet fun with a dose of humor

Posted: September 1, 2009 in Shooter, Strategy

Turn-based artillery games have seen a fair amount of games lately with Star Hogs, KIL.A.TON and the perennial, albeit questionable favorite Worms. My interest was piqued when I came across Super Water Bomber from Digital Chocolate, a different take on the concept. Surprisingly, this game delivers lighthearted fun that in some ways beats out Worms because of the campaign mode. On top of that, the game uses a variety of water balloons as opposed to military weapons which frankly makes it more appealing to a broader and younger audience.

Humor is the foundation on which Super Water Bomber is built, and the storyline quickly establishes that tone. As part of the Discount Retaliatory Measures service, you play the play the role of Splash Bandit, a water balloon-wielding avenger fighting on the behalf of the kids and poor saps who are harassed by the neighborhood bullies and nagging old ladies…seriously.

Graphically speaking, the game is presented in 2D with limited animation. Honestly, this is not a game that will visually wow you, but what is there is presented in vibrant colors with a decent amount of variety and content. The game has minimal sound effects, which is a minor issue, but the music tracks provide just the right amount of charm on par with a Charlie Brown special. The game has 128 levels presented in four different maps—park, suburbs, city, and circus. The game offers single player and hotseat multiplayer for up to 4 players.

The bullies are a sordid and truth be told, funny bunch ranging from jocks and leather wearing punks to vicious dogs and spiteful drunks. One of my favorites are the Boss Clowns and while they’re supposed to be menacing, it’s actually hard to take them seriously when they’re standing on a street corner or in the park. Because this is a turn-based game, the bullies will retaliate with water balloons and cans depending on the class of bully.

For the most part, the controls consist of left and right arrows to move side to side, but by using certain power ups, Splash Bandit can also maneuver over walls and higher locations. In order to aim, a small crosshair is used to set the trajectory, and an action button located in the bottom right corner can tapped and held down to set the power gauge before releasing to launch. Each bully has a health bar, and head shots tend to deplete the health bar more.

One of the things that the game does nicely is in the different environments with numerous obstacles adding to the challenge. As with any turn-based combat game no matter how wet, the environment can be used to your advantage. The locations also become more complex and bullies are located in difficult to reach places. A camera option can be activated that allows you to pan the screen, and you’ll need this because in many cases, the environments become much more expansive.

By default, Splash Bandit has a limited amount of Stock Balloons that provide minimal wetness and spray. However, additional weapons and power ups are provided by accessing random crates found in the levels. Limited in quantity or temporary in effect, these perks can only be used in the level in which they’re discovered so no hording bombs for later use.

Stock Balloon—Standard balloon
Sniper Balloon—High-powered balloon
Jumbo Balloon—High-volume balloon
Timer Balloon—Grenade-type balloon with a delayed pop
TNT Balloon—High-impact balloon exploding on contact
Cluster Balloon—Good soaker with wide wetness dispersion
Antigrav Blanket—Used to reach higher ground
Health Packs—Improves health

The different types of balloons come in handy and require some creative thinking on your part. For example, a TNT balloon can be used to take down walls, and any of the balloons can be used to clear away leaves.

Don’t let the cartoony feel trick you into complacency. In the early part of the game, the levels are relatively easy because the bullies are none the wiser as you clean up the parks. In fact, they have no idea they’re being hunted by Splash Bandit. Remember what I mentioned about head shots? Well, if you miss but get the balloon close enough to a target, they become aware of your presence making it likely they’ll lob a balloon your way. As the levels progress, the turf battle escalates as the various bully enemies start building up their forces in an effort to defeat Mr. Wetness. One neat thing is that these bullies have no loyalty to each other so often what will happen is in-fighting occurs when one member is accidently splashed by another. This becomes important in your strategy because you can play the role of instigator.

As with Digital Chocolate games, there is that pesky load time in between levels. The game could use additional sound effects and online multiplayer would definitely make this even better than it already is. And again, the old school graphics may not appeal to everyone, but in my opinion, they’re more than adequate for this type of game.

Overall, Super Water Bomber is a surprisingly fun game that should appeal to a broad audience. The content and the lighthearted nature of the game make this ideal for both quick and more prolonged sessions. With its own personal charm and humor, this is a terrific game that delivers.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for fans and non-fans for Worms; campaign mode is a huge plus, and the old school graphics work well

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