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‘Splosion Man Review

I finally got to play and review the game and boy was it wonderful.  Despite having such simple gameplay mechanics it manages to keep itself interesting and at times difficult

Gameplay

First of all I’ll explain the control scheme of the game.  Your only real action is the ability to explode aka ‘sploding.  Every face button on the 360 pad activates the same action of ‘sploding.  ‘Sploding can be used for both jumping and for combat purposes.

When using ‘splosions to jump you’re limited to 3 consecutive ‘splosions at one given time.  You can ‘splode at any time, even in the air, which gives you the ability to basically double and triple jump.  Keep in mind though your double and triple jumps do not propel you as far as your first jump.  Your three ‘splosions will usually recharge immediately when walking or running but they will recharge at a slower rate when hanging onto walls.

Attacking with ‘splosions basically amounts to ‘sploding next to enemies.  Some enemies require you to ‘splode behind them where their weak points are located and other times you can just ‘splode right next to them.  It can also be used to repel projectiles back at enemies, which is something you’ll do very often with bosses and some enemies.

Canisters are located in almost every level.  There are two main types of canisters.  Regular explosive barrels and canisters which contain some very explosive green stuff.  Canisters for the most part are used to further expand your jumping abilities.  ‘Sploding next to one launches you farther than a normal jump does, with the green canisters launching you farther and quicker than normal canisters.  You’ll usually have to ‘splode these canisters in succession to get where you want to get to.  You don’t have to worry about not having enough ‘splosions when ‘sploding canisters.  Failure to ‘splode these canisters in succession can usually mean death.  Dieing in this game is almost never a problem.

Checkpoints are plentiful throughout each level and are usually placed before and after major puzzles.  They are implemented in a great way because the platforming puzzles can sometimes be very difficult and frustrating.

The only major thing I disliked about the game were the enemies.  For the most part I felt they broke up the action and tempo of what I might consider one of my most favorite platformers of this generation.  Enemies are usually placed in portions of the level to challenge your platforming abilities.  One very memorable example was where I had to repel projectiles of an enemy while keeping myself above a pool of acid by constantly ‘sploding me up with canisters.  This was actually one of the more fun moments I had with enemies.  My biggest complaint really has to do with one certain enemy and the bosses.

The enemy I’m talking about is the flying robot that shoots lasers.  While these lasers do not kill you in one hit, two lasers from different robots will definitely kill you.  While this doesn’t really sound like a problem they usually stand at certain parts surrounding a platform.  Where they stop to shoot is very random, there’s no pattern.  Again this might not sound like a big deal but at times they will surround you and will kill you, causing you to sometimes restart an entire platforming puzzle.

My only gripes with bosses is that if you die you have to start from the very beginning.  Bosses are usually in stages and it’s pretty obvious you can tell the different stages.  Even if you’re at the last stage of the boss battle if you die it’s most likely that you’ll start from the very beginning of the boss battle.  It’s not a major problem since there aren’t many bosses but it still makes me a bit annoyed.

The thing I enjoyed the most about the game was its level design.  It’s truly amazing how great it is even with so many levels.  I’ve written enough about this portion that it might seem very boring by now so I won’t say much about it.  I will say you’ll get what I’m saying once you play the game.

Graphics/Presentation

The game looks gorgeous.  The style is consistent and the textures are nice and clean.  It definitely keeps the Twisted Pixel/The Maw style, which is something I much rather talk about.

The game is brimming with personality.  The NPCs and enemies all act in a comedic fashion and ‘Splosion Man is really like a rampaging child on an ant hill.  Really he is destroying and killing all in this giant lab, spreading fear to all the scientists, and he doesn’t even get thinking, it’s just hilarious and fun to him.

The game does also make fun of you.  After dieing at a certain amount of times the game offers you to skip the level.  By doing this you’re forced to where a pink tutu for the remainder of the next level until you complete it.

I also want to mention the “Donut Song” when meeting a particular scientist in a level  and carrying him this song plays.  I just found it to be a funny, enjoyable song.

Multiplayer

The game also has a co-op campaign with its own set of levels built around working together.  I only got to test it out with two players but it’s enough to get a grasp of what it’s all about.

Puzzles are usually based around launching one or each other to higher platforms  by ‘sploding.  This could mean launching a player up to a platform or it could mean two player wall jumping  then jumping off each other to wall jump again.  It’s really cool when it works but only when you guys actually work together.  It’s another great thing about ‘Splosion Man that really just increases the value of the package.

Overall

At the price of 800 points  MS points it’s definitely a must-have for any 360 owner.  I’ve payed more for worse games.  It can definitely be difficult at times and for me at least me that makes me want it even more.  If you want a game chock-fulled of great arcade action and just some simple fun this is the game for you.

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