A soft block (ソフトブロック sofuto burokku) is a core gameplay element in most Bomberman games. Soft blocks are single-tile walls that can be destroyed with a bomb blast. Some of them hide power-up panels or exits. Destroying soft blocks is often necessary in order to progress, unless the player has an alternate means of bypassing them.
The term "soft block" appears to have been first used in the Super Bomberman 2 Hudson Official Guidebook. Prior to that publication, the term destructible block (破壊可能 hakai kanō) was commonly used. In the original Bomberman for the NES/Famicom, soft blocks were simply referred to as bricks (レンガ renga).
Aside from destroying them with bombs, players are often given other ways to interact with or bypass soft blocks. The block pass allows players to move through soft blocks unimpeded, while certain Louies allow the player to jump across them or even kick them across the screen.
Some variant soft blocks appear as traps.
Flickering Soft Block
The Flickering Soft Block ((点滅ソフトブロック tenmetsu sofuto burokku) is a trap that appears in Super Bomberman and Super Bomberman 5. In stages that contain this trap, all soft blocks alternate between becoming visible and invisible. As the soft blocks act normally regardless of whether they are visible, this purely serves as a visual trick to confuse the player(s).
This is the only trap that appears in the Normal Game of Super Bomberman.
Regenerating Soft Block
The Regenerating Soft Block (再生ソフトブロック saisei sofuto burokku') is a trap that first appeared in the Battle Game of Super Bomberman. It acts as a normal soft block, but when it is destroyed, after a random amount of time, it will respawn. The amount of time until regeneration varies from appearance to appearance. In Super Bomberman and the Normal Game of Super Bomberman 2, Regenerating Soft Blocks tend to respawn rather quickly, but in other appearances, they are generally observed to take more time.
In Bomberman Tournament and Bomberman Jetters: The Legendary Bomberman, Regenerating Soft Blocks appear as isolated puzzles. The player must clear a path through a small, contained field with care or risk being trapped, at which point they are forced to harm themself to attempt escape. The soft blocks that appear in these areas respawn more slowly, giving the player a better chance of survival.
- Super Bomberman 2 Hudson Official Guidebook. Shogakukan, 1994, pp. 15, 97.
- Bomberman Operation Manual, NES-BM-USA, Hudson Soft USA, 1989, p. 5
- Bomberman '93 Japanese manual, 1992, p. 6.
- Bomberman '94 Japanese manual, 1993, p. 6.
- ボンバーマン 取扱説明書, HFC-BM, Hudson Soft, 1985, p. 5.
- Super Bomberman 5 Hudson Official Guidebook, Shogakukan, 1997, p. 15.
- Super Bomberman Hudson Official Guidebook. Shogakukan, 1993, pp. 82.
- Bomberman Story Official Guide Book, Shogakukan, 2001, p. 53.
- Bomberman Jetters: The Legendary Bomberman Official Guide Book, ISBN4-09-106074-9, Shogakukan, 2002, p. 26