Approximate Release Month: August 1992
Even though it is an action game, Super Buster Bros. hits the same pleasure centers in the brain that a good puzzle game does.
What I’ve always liked about Tetris is its simplicity. Blocks fall from the sky, you place them on the board, the game gradually speeds up, and once the blocks reach the top it’s game over. That simplicity is an important part of the game’s can’t-stop-just-one-more-try nature. Even when you lose, you feel like you’re getting better, faster, smarter.
Super Buster Bros. isn’t as timeless or as fun as the flawless Tetris, but its Panic mode shares a lot of those addictive qualities. In this marathon mode, you must move your little guy across the button of the screen and pop bouncing balls with your harpoon gun. This is one-button gameplay. There’s no jumping, there’s no running, there’s just shooting and dodging unending waves of projectiles until you get hit three times.
And then you try again.
Panic isn’t the mode the game puts front and center, though. Tour mode seems to be the real focus by the developers. This mode is all about clearing rooms within a set time limit. Occasionally enemies and powerups will appear or there will be some ladders and other platforming elements to navigate, so it’s more than superficially different than Panic mode, but I didn’t like how this mode had the balls all start in the same place in a recognizable pattern. Tour is fine, but Panic is where Super Buster Bros. really shines.
I can see someone pop Super Buster Bros. into their Super Nintendo and play a few rounds of Panic on a regular basis. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s fun.
Tomorrow: We’re kicking off three wonderful days of Super Nintendo sports games with Super Play Action Football!