Geek Review: Ms. Splosion Man [VIDEO]
Last Updated on Friday, 15 July 2011 11:33 Written by LoganDX Friday, 15 July 2011 11:00
Time to dust off those platforming skills and ingest copious amounts of energy drinks because Ms. Splosion Man has sploded onto the Xbox 360. Birthed from the manic minds at Twisted Pixel, Ms. Splosion Man is a thumb wrenching, nerve-wracking monster platformer just like Splosion Man. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kinda works here. Not to say that the developers painted Splosion Man Pink and tossed a pretty bow on him but the fundamental mechanics are still here.
The core gameplay of the Splosion games is simple in theory but very tough to master. At their heart, they’re side scrolling puzzle platformers but instead of jumping, the main character “splodes”. Sploding is multipurpose, acting as a means of locomotion, as a minor combat ability and as a general wrecking ball. By allowing the player only three in air splodes, Twisted Pixel keeps gamers on their toes by making them use the splodes logically. This also ties the puzzle aspect in because the missus can’t just go jumping all willy-nilly.
Something I need to stress right away is this game is tough. If you do not have the patience to die, a lot, and to run through large amounts of trial and error, don’t buy this game. Not that I want Twisted Pixel to lose out on revenue but people who don’t stick it out are doing a great disservice to the amount of love and care put into this title. Every torturous segment is rewarded with some off the wall in-game joke or quirky sense of humor. I have two favorite bits so far, both are spoofs of Schwarzenegger films – Predator and Total Recall. In a game chock full of spoofs, these two really had me chuckling. Those alone make me want to push on to the next level, no matter how hard the current one is.
Now that I said that, let’s discuss the gameplay. It really is some of the toughest platforming I remember doing. Split second timing and the reflexes of a speed addled hummingbird are required to progress far into the game. Players have to splode their Pepto Pink alter-ego off of walls, onto barrels of varying propulsive strength and other objects all in the quest to wreak havoc on Big Science. Zip lines, moving platforms and even a fat suit named Mindy are used in some very creative ways to overcome death rays, spiked traps, laser grids and electric lines. Most of the obstacles are quite the devious affair and will test even the most strong-willed gamer.
We need to take a moment and touch on the graphics. Bright, festive, colorful, psychedelic are all apt descriptors here. The backgrounds are full of trademark Twisted Pixel humor, one I find most disturbing is the floating poster of a bearded developer with the slogan “Beard is Watching You”. Creepy yet mocking Orwell. The Big Science scientists look buffoony, the robots look science-y. Which really does suck because players are going to spend so much time focused on hitting those tricky jumps, they’ll miss those great bits of eye candy.
While the challenge is frustrating, it takes a backseat to what I consider one of the worst parts of the game. At plenty of times, the view pans out and shrinks Ms. Splosion down to a very easily lost size. I lost track of the pink protagonist way too many times in the hectic clutter of background and foreground objects. A few of those times, I had to use flying cars as platforms to cross the airspace around one of the antagonist’s building. Not at all fun and was one of the few times I cursed the game. No game is of course perfect and this so far seems to the biggest flaw I’ve found.
In a move that bucks the trend of modern video games, Ms. Splosion Man has only one form of collectible – two if you count secret exits. The little lady loves her shoes and will go to extreme measures to add another pair to her collection. Some of these shoes can easily be found and others are a bit harder to track down. There’s even separate shoes for single player and multiplayer. The collectible pattern lately has been to shove so many different items to find that gamers get lost and lose interest in the actual game. Kudos to Twisted Pixel for bucking that mess.
So far I am approximately half way through the single player campaign as I really underestimated how long it would take me to beat. I refuse to Cheat on the Game, otherwise known as the Way of the Coward, which will send the player to the next closest checkpoint. I insist on beating each level, even if I way over miss the par time. I have yet to hit the par time by the way. I haven’t hit much of the multiplayer yet but I did unlock Two Girls One Controller and am dying to try that out. Among everything else, Twisted Pixel has amassed a bevy of unlockable goodies that can be purchased with the coins awarded at the end of each level. Needless to say, players have a lot of gaming to do.
I want to thank the fine folks at Twisted Pixel for the game to review. Follow them on Twitter @Twisted_Pixel and watch for their next game, Gunstringer. Peep the press release and watch the release trailer for Ms. Splosion Man below. And go pick up Ms. Splosion Man exclusively on the Xbox Live Marketplace now, if you dare.
Global Threat Level Rises On News Ms. Splosion Man Might Have TMS
Game’s Release Coincides With Announcements About Bonus TMS Content,
New Website, and Free DLC for the Original Splosion Man
July 13th, 2011 – Austin, TX – Ms. Splosion Man releases today on Xbox LIVE Arcade, but amongst the joy comes the sudden announcement that her TMS could strike at any moment. TMS, or Title Managed Storage, is a special feature of the Xbox LIVE® service that allows Twisted Pixel to present free extra Challenges for the players on a regular basis. These week-long Challenges appear off of the Main Menu and take a level from the game and give it special rules and new content. There’s no predicting the effects of TMS, you just have to adapt to the new rules and do your best to survive until the end.
Leaderboards created especially for these TMS challenges rank players on their success at playing the level. “From time to time, we will be awarding real prizes and other fun stuff to the top finishers, and sometimes random players, from the Challenge’s leaderboards,” states Jay Stuckwisch, Marketing Director. “We are finding it harder and harder to ‘one up’ ourselves with new ways of giving away free stuff to people who buy our games, but TMS has opened an exciting new door for us.”
Worried that you’ll miss the signs of Ms. Splosion Man’s approaching TMS? Not to worry, the brand new version of www.MsSplosionMan.com launches today, with a wealth of information on story, character bios, game information, and everything you need to know about the next TMS challenge. Free downloadable extras like wallpapers, game soundtrack, and the Ms. Splosion Man development blog are all available there as well.
Ms. Splosion Man has garnered rave reviews in the days leading up to her release and follows the adventures of Ms. Splosion Man as she splodes her way free of Big Science and out into the world. Featuring 50 single-player levels and a separate 50 level multiplayer campaign, this sequel to the award-winning Splosion Man brings a host of new gameplay and features like ghost leaderboards, new mechanics, new bosses, extra gameplay modes, and tons of unlockable content. Ms. Splosion Man retails for only 800 points and can be found on Xbox LIVE Arcade. View the trailer here
About Twisted Pixel Games, LLC
Founded in 2006 by industry veterans, Twisted Pixel is the independent game development studio behind the 2009 IGF finalist and 2008 PAX 10 Audience Choice Award winning game The Maw for Xbox LIVE® Arcade, Steam, and Direct2Drive. Their accomplishments continue with the successes of the award winning Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, and Ms Splosion Man, along with the soon-to-be-released Kinect title The Gunstringer. Twisted Pixel specializes in character-driven, original IP titles that shake up what games are all about. Memorable characters, creative gameplay, and impressive presentation is our focus. Learn more at www.TwistedPixelGames.com. and Twitter @twisted_pixel.
- Ms. Splosion Man Splodes Onto Xbox LIVE Arcade Today (godisageek.com)
- Ms. Splosion Man’s ‘TMS’ system isn’t what you think (joystiq.com)