Monday, 19 July 2010

'Splosion Man

'Splosion Man is a 2.5D platformer, developed by the geniuses over at Twisted Pixel. I was incredibly hyped for this game after being charmed by their previous endeavour, The Maw. Was it worth the anticipation? You bet it was.'Splosion Man sees the titular character 'sploding himself to progress through 50 single player levels (there are also 50 different levels available for online or local multiplayer), collecting cake and turning scientists into various meat based products. The control system is easy to grasp; press A, B, X or Y to explode. Yes, that's right. Other than that you move left and right with the joystick and to restart a level simple hold Right Trigger to make Splosion' Man take his own life in a 'splosive suicide.

'Sploding never appealed to me, until the first time I made that little fella launch himself through the air, making childish, often hilarious noises as he goes. The development team have a sense of humour, which will become apparent as 'Splosion Man sticks his arms out as he runs, imitating a plane, and to top it off, making childlike plane noises. He is a very lovable character, and although he never speaks (other than the occasional "cake" and "cham-ber") he draws you into his world and you cannot help but fall in love with the crazy little freak.

The single player levels are generally short, allowing you to have short burts of 'splosive fun without having to concentrate too much on what you are doing; perfect for XBLA games. The fact that most of them take around 5 minutes to complete though, means that the game is rather short. Saying that, there are collectables and time trial modes to keep you busy for some time. On top of those are the multiplayer levels to keep you busy for twice the time. The multiplayer levels see 2-4 'Splosion Men completing puzzles not possible for a solo player. The players must time their 'splosions right to pull off certain moves, like 'sploding your partner up to a higher level. Here the player will find a switch which will allow the other player to also reach the same place. The multiplayer is worth the 800 Microsoft points alone, and playing it on local multiplayer is one of the must fun gaming experiences I have ever had.

There are a few flaws but they are not so bad that the game should be ignored. The levels are all quite similar, but the puzzles and level layouts vary enough to keep you from getting bored. Some of the puzzles are infuriatingly difficult, often seemingly impossible. This is, again, not a major problem as there are checkpoints often (although it should be said that the checkpoints are disabled in Hardcore mode), meaning you do not have to complete huge sections of the level just to die again and again. Twisted Pixel have noticed that some players may not be able to complete certain puzzles, and have added a feature that allows you to skip the level if you die enough times (use this feature and 'Splosion Man wears a tutu for the next level. I guess it's only fair...). Whilst it is better to see the whole level, this feature is amazing and so, so helpful if you have a short temper.

The Maw was a brilliant debut title, I did not think it could be bested, but 'Splosion Man has done it, leaving a trail of destruction and sausages in his path.


'Splosion Man is available on XBLA now, for 800 Microsoft Points.

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