Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ms. 'Splosion Man Review

One of the greatest XBLA titles of all time is the hilarious platformer 'Splosion Man. While Halo is seen as the trademark character of the Xbox, 'Splosion Man would be the closest we have to a definitive trademark of the Xbox Live Arcade. When Twisted Pixel announced a sequel to 'Splosion Man the intrigue started and I wondered how they would make the game worthy of the 'Splosion Man name without seeming like a simple sequel that added nothing to the original formula. Thankfully Ms. 'Splosion Man has taken the one button game to the next level, adding new features and turning the multiplayer into a 4-player co-operative mode, up from the 2-player mode from the original. Beautiful visuals and hilarious movements and sound from Ms. 'Splosion Man herself makes for one of the best games I have ever played on the Xbox 360. The sheer brilliance of this title turns something that is actually quite difficult and possibly frustrating into an addicting experience of sploding joy.


I absolutely loved the original games art style to pieces and this one is seemingly similar. The game takes Ms. 'Splosion Man around an arrangement of areas that have distinct backgrounds as well as many different platform styles that you will come across during the course of the game. While ultimately the areas you come across are the same, you won't notice it at all because they are cool and interesting areas full of scientists and other dangerous items to splode. The real graphical improvement comes with everything Ms. 'Splosion Man interacts with. In the original game everything would splode in an orange explosion of fun, while in the sequel the pink explosions had a new dimension to the game. Sploding scientists now doesn't just cut them up into many pieces, it can throw them at you where they hit the TV screen and slowly slide downwards. This is just one of the little variations which has mixed up the awesomeness of this game and taken it one step further. The menu of the game had also changed, with the level screen of the game now turned into a world screen that reminds me of the Super Mario days. While it doesn't work as good as hoped, the change is certainly positive in switching from the stock standard menus we experience today.

Twisted Pixel managed to take the process of killing countless scientists and made it fun and as something that is encouraged due to the immaculate sound effects. As the character explodes, the action doesn't sound deadly such as an explosion in your standard fighting game but instead as a positive and entertaining process. This sound effect along with the cool soundtrack that would have you bobbing your head along to made up the majority of the previous game. In Ms. 'Splosion Man more of an emphasis has been put on the main characters sound effects than ever before. It is hard to go more than a minute without a funny reference to the 90's. When you fail a section too many times and have to skip past it, you receive a fat ass on Ms. 'Splosion Man. The song that goes along with you after this is absolutely hilarious and will have you in fits as it is one of the best original scores to be in gaming to date. Twisted Pixel has made a hilarious game that is one simply not to be passed up.


Too many things in life are made more difficult than necessary. The same can be said for quite a few XBLA titles that feel the need to assign a pointless task to every button on the controller. Twisted Pixel knows that not every gamer is smart enough to play a game without having the instruction manual next to them to remember every move (UFC Undisputed I'm looking at you). That is why Ms. 'Splosion Man is one of the simplest and best control schemes on the market. All that is required is the left thumb stick to move the character and any one of A,B,X,Y as your button to splode. Anyone can pick up Ms. 'Splosion Man and play, something that an arcade title should be able to deliver with no learning curve.

The aim of Ms. 'Splosion Man is to get from the start of the level to the end in the shortest amount of time. To do this you will have to splode your way past obstacles while battling a number of enemies as well as traps that will do their best to kill you. The variation between objects that you come across keeps the game fresh and even the simple tasks of sploding from wall to wall appears often, you will never get bored by this game. From the massive boss levels that appear right from level 1 to the secret exits you can find which inadvertently give you secret levels to complete, there is so much to do here. After the lengthy single player there is a co-operative mode which can be played with up to 4 players adding to the thinking and planning involved in getting past stages. This mode is excellent because it brings a whole new set of levels as well as providing an online aspect to the title.

New features brought to this sequel include a marketplace that lets you choose your rewards as you progress through the game. Each level you beat will reward you with coins, which in turn can be used to unlock stuff such as avatar items and gamer themes in the order of your choosing. You can also unlock a cool mode that lets you play co-op while playing as two Ms. 'Splosion Man characters at once. I like the idea of this and it has been integrated into the game nicely. The other things added to the game are new objects to use along your travels in the game, including lines of light which you can latch onto while flying through the air. The games difficulty has also increased which means you will die more, but finishing a level will also prove more rewarding. I'm personally glad they didn't make the game easy as that would simply ruin the experience of the trial and error style of gameplay.


Ms. 'Splosion Man and her hilarious movements and sayings have delivered Twisted Pixel a worthy sequel of the great 'Splosion Man. New gameplay elements as well as an increased number of players allowed into co-op has allowed the game to develop into one of the premier titles on XBLA. There is just simply never a dull moment when playing through this title and despite the constant dieing you will never get frustrated and feel the urge to give up on Ms. 'Splosion Man. Simply put, this is one of the must have arcade titles of the year and does well to contend with even some of the better retail releases. Non-stop sploding action is certainly back at it's best.

Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 9.5/10
Overall - 9.5/10