Ms. ‘Splosion Man Xbox 360 Review

July 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Features, Reviews, Xbox 360

Publisher – Twisted Pixel Games – Developer – Twisted Pixel Games – Genre – Platformer – Players – 1-4 – Age Rating – 7+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

What can I say about ‘Splosion Man that I didn’t already say in my review? Well, nothing much, so I’ll repeat myself and say that the game offered some of the most fun that can be found on Xbox Live Arcade. This was a game that had so much energy and charisma, that some of its more severe flaws could almost be overlooked.

Now, following Ms. Pac-Man’s lead, Ms. ‘Splosion Man has accidentally burst onto the scene – those hapless lab scientists (who will once again be regularly exploding into a shower of meaty chunks, if you’re wondering) have accidentally created her during a celebration of the capture of Splosion Man. Ms. ‘Splosion Man herself is, like her male counterpart, a character with boundless energy – crazy, hyperactive and she rarely shuts up, with everything from song lyrics to film quotes escaping from her huge, cartoon mouth. In stature, she’s bright purple and comes with spidery eyelashes, a large bow on her head and bright red lipstick. Basically, she’s Splosion Man in drag.

There's a handful of memorable boss fights, and at least there's checkpoints to take away some of the frustration.

In comparison to the original game, you once again get 50 single player levels and another 50 separate multiplayer stages on top of that, and instead of collectible cakes, here there are pairs of shoes to be found. The game also plays very much the same, with animations being the only manner in which the two characters are individualised. Indeed, Ms. ‘Splosion Man shares the triple explosion with Mr. Splosion Man, in which you’ll need to wait to recharge when her colour fades out, of which can be done on the ground, by sliding down walls or exploding off of barrels.

It’s fortunate, then, that Twisted Pixel has added in some extras, which helps differentiate the two games from one another. There’s ziplines to slide down, cannons to fire yourself from, rocket cars to ride, new obstacles to avoid and new enemies to take care of. But fans of the first will also be delighted to learn that all the exploding barrels etc make their return, meaning it’s a wise mixture of old and new.

As the game contains puzzles as well, there are also some great problems for you to solve in the game. Puzzles regularly combine objects and are often more of a dexterity test as opposed to one that will truly exercise your brain power. The Splosion Man games are all about action and movement, after all – these are not games that want you to stop and think for any great length of time.

Once again, though, the game is very much a case of trial and error, and frustration can definitely be expected. With its regularly far off checkpoints, Ms. ‘Splosion Man can be a very tricky game at times, and many will be wondering why they are continuing to put themselves through so much frustration, but the levels are so well laid out (backdrops are less repetitive this time around, which is very nice) and the game is so much spirited and quirky fun, that many of these people will also want to return to it. Also, the game is so fast paced that you just couldn’t possibly know what’s up ahead at times, meaning it becomes somewhat of a memory test as you retry a portion that previously ended in your cruel demise.

There's silly humour in the cut-scenes, the loading screens and even the tutorials. In fact it's all over the place, and it's just something that Twisted Pixel does very well.

It’s possible to cheat on the game and skip to the next checkpoint (you’ll receive a major, and I do mean major, time penalty for doing so) if you are really having a tough time with a particular section of a stage. I actually had a level which could have potentially lasted me just over five minutes, but it took me 70 and upwards to complete. Indeed, there’s so much explosive fun to be had that I felt like I was in the wrong to even think about skipping forward to the next checkpoint. It’s definitely one of the hardest games in recent memory, though.

A certain type of player will return to it time and time again, memorising and skilfully completing levels in order to beat the par time. If you’re not a particularly great player yourself, then it is possible to, for example, download ghosts of the best to see where you have been going wrong, which could assist you in improving your own game, and through practice you could even potentially surpass their skills and beat them to the end of the level. You can also go up against ghosts of your own previous runs.

Local and online cooperative multiplayer is once again a completely separate mode with its own exclusive levels. I’m also happy to say that the online portion performs a lot smoother than the original game, which obviously means it is a better experience. If you aren’t able to play with others, the 2 girls, one controller mode gives you the opportunity to control two Ms. ‘Splosion Men at once, which is just as difficult as it sounds.

Ms. ‘Splosion Man is a great sequel that improves on the original in a number of ways, although it’s also one that is tougher than the original. Maddening frustrations aside, Ms. ‘Splosion Man is a game that offers lots of fun and charismatic energy and value for a mere 800 Microsoft Points.

What comes next for the series? ‘Splosion Man Jr., perhaps? Come on Twisted Pixel, a Google search proves that everyone and their mothers seem to be asking for this game. Make it happen.

8/10

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