Bomb Club is a sophisticated game. At first, when I played mindlessly, the game felt nice and simple to play. Once I began to play more consciously, my appreciation of how every nook and cranny of the game is well designed grew.
I believe Bomb Club is a game that is perfect for casual players while still keeping the veteran puzzle solvers engaged, here is why.
The simplistic rules are able to set the barrier to entry low while keeping things challenging. The rules are: You want to detonate all the bombs on the field in one chain by detonating one single bomb and that typically you can use as many, or as few bombs, as you wish.
All you have to do as a player is place bombs on the field, and tap on one of them. The benefits of such simple rules are that, of course, it is easy to remember and simple to perform. But impressively, many levels offer quite a lot of flexibility in terms of how to solve it.
For casual players, the frustration of being unable to find the perfect answer is reduced when they can see the easy way out with bronze or silver medal answers.
For perfectionists and puzzle game experts, it is still a challenging and rich experience if they are trying to go for gold medals.
While the basic rules are simple, the game becomes more complicated when you have to learn how to make use of over 20 different types of bombs and 10 different hats. However, the game is very easy to learn thanks to how narratives and gameplay are combined into one, perfectly.
When the game teaches the player by dryly explaining how the mechanic works, it can feel boring and difficult to learn. The same is true for storytelling, it can take forever to read and you just want to get into the action!
In Bomb Club, however, the game designer perfectly utilized stories to give meaning to the bombs beyond just functionality, while not bore you with needless details. The story is quick and tutorials are efficient in teaching you how it works.
It also helps that Bomb Club has the funniest cast I have seen in any game, which is a very pleasant surprise. The characters have personalities that complement each other nicely from the serious Ian to mischievous Blake.
Sometimes, it is easy to forget how the bomb works. Not only that the user interface makes it easy to learn how the game works, but you can also always check out the “Nitronomicon,” a helpful built-in wiki that can be accessed at all times. It is well organized and simple to use.
Nitronomicon is more than just a built-in wiki, it is a very impactful in-game tool because unlike most games, you can’t view the attributes of the bombs by hovering on them because they are meant to explode! So having a Nitronomicon in the left corner is very helpful.
If you are as bad at puzzle games as me, then you might have experienced times when you are stuck in a level and you cannot seem to pass it no matter how hard you try. The gameplay becomes a repetitive loop of you failing and eventually quitting is the only option.
But Bomb Club’s map has many routes available so that if you are stuck on a level, you can just play a level on another route instead. It definitely made my experience better.
Another feat that Bomb Club was able to achieve is tackling one of the biggest problems with mobile games control, which is when your own finger is blocking the view of the game. In mobile Roguelike Hoplite, I tap inaccurately many times for this reason, and then I lose half an hour of progress with a mistake that feels unfair. However, in Bomb Club, the designer made it so that the bomb is always below your finger, which made the control feel much smoother.
A small annoyance with this design is that it can feel difficult placing bombs on top of the field, due to habits developed from playing other games. But all one has to do is camera panning, which is very easy to get used to as time goes on.
The monetization model is one of the most generous ones I have ever seen. No ads, no gambling mechanisms, just an expansion pack that the game designer literally tells you to only purchase after you complete the full game and still want more. I believe these are the kind of monetization models that we should support if we want the mobile gaming scene to be better!
If there is anything I wish it could improve on, is the innate satisfaction of “bomb triggering,” an incredibly tough thing to get right, a subjective gut feeling that each player experiences differently. I find the explosion animation relatively slow, awkward when sped up, and the feeling of “chaining” isn’t there.
However, I can’t even complain about that because the developer is currently making a lot of visual effects and quality of life improvements.
Bomb Club does many things right: Multi-route maps, hats, built-in wiki, mobile-friendly controls, hats, easy-to-learn tutorial, vibrant stories, engaging puzzles, amazing audiovisual work, hats, great user interface… Hats.
While none of these features I talked about are anything grandiose or extremely groundbreaking, the game designer succeeded in consistently implementing many designs optimally. The result is one of the best mobile game experiences I have ever encountered thus far, and the madman did it all by himself!
You can follow Antoine Latour, the game designer and comic book artist, on Twitter!
Don’t forget to check out more reviews of the large library of indie games, right here on Indie Ranger.
If you love puzzle games, if you want to relax from tiring work, or if you want to recommend a puzzle game to your little ones, I wholeheartedly recommend this game! It currently only has 10k+ downloads on Google Play and it deserves a lot more love!
Art and Sound
Narration and UI
Innate Satisfaction from solving puzzles