‘Splosion Man is the new game from Twisted Pixel the creators of the Maw. Set in the same universe as the Maw you play as the latest experiment gone wrong in the labs. You are a being made purely out of ‘splosions and are trying to escape from the laboratory that made you whilst reducing the scientists themselves to lumps of meat.
The game is a 2D side scrolling puzzle platformer and plays a bit like N+ or Portal. The games controls are incredibly simple, you use the stick to move about the levels and the buttons all cause you to explode. This explosion replaces a jump function and you can chain these together into one move to get to higher levels or get to switches and triggers. After you’ve performed three explosions in one move your character will need to recharge, becoming black and looking a bit like a burnt matchstick, at this point you are at your most vulnerable but you quickly recover your energy and are ready for more exploding. This simple control scheme allows for a great range of play in the levels themselves. There are traps, triggers and plenty of tricky timings to keep you from getting to the end of the level. The difficulty of the levels ramps up pretty quickly with the first couple of levels requiring little more than a couple of splodes, but before long there are more and more challenges to overcome and plenty of sections will require more than one run through. The game does a very good job of introducing new ideas as the levels progress; there are plenty of new traps with new ways to get round them, most requiring quick reflexes and some quicker thinking. To deal with some of the difficulty spikes that the later levels through at you the game has the coward’s way out. This will pop up after you’ve died a set amount of times on a level and gives you the chance to move on to the next level with only a slightly guilty feeling about skipping but with the pad still in your hands instead of in the wall.
‘Splosion Man looks great with clear graphics and plenty of neat effects, the explosions themselves are very well done and there are plenty of moments when the game will take you by surprise about how good it does look. The animations of the main character are fantastic there are multiple animations for just about every action, the animation when you find one of the hidden cakes deserves special mention. The game will also change the angle to give you a better look at the action or to introduce a new trap or enemy to be avoided or beaten.
The game has a wicked sense of humour with the scientists literally turning into cuts of meat, so you’ll splode through the levels leaving chops, burgers, hams, racks of ribs and other joints in your wake. The graphical jokes are helped with great sound effects, the excellent donut song being a highlight. There is some nicely cheeky voice acting with some recognisable quotes being dropped in to keep you asking did he just say that.
‘Splosion Man represents great value for money, 800 Microsoft points for 50 single player levels and then a separately designed multiplayer campaign with another 50 levels in. All of the levels have been designed with speed running in mind and your time is displayed against a par in order to get you to run through again to just do that bit better. There is also a bunch of stuff you can unlock and use on your Xbox, some gamer pics, a premium theme and according to Xbox.com Avatar accessories.
With great graphics, great sound and a whole bunch of interesting and funny ideas it’s impossible not to recommend this game to anybody that enjoys a challenging platform game. You might get frustrated with it at times but you’ll be coming back to it sooner than you expected ready for more ‘sploding.