|System: Xbox 360|
|Dev: Twisted Pixel Games|
|Release: July 13, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Drug Reference, Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes|
by Lindsey Weedston
In 2009, Twisted Pixel Games revealed one-and-a-half words to the Xbox Live Arcade community: 'Splosion Man. It was a game in which the player set about killing scientists who, while playing God, created a childlike sentient being that only had the desire to destroy. What's really impressive is that Twisted Pixel managed to make it not the least bit depressing. 'Splosion Man is a fast-paced 2.5D side-scrolling action platformer that has you exploding yourself off the walls within seconds of starting the game. It's comedic, it's brightly colored, it's full of explosions, and it laughs in the face of grammar. Nothing could be more fun.
It's not surprising that Twisted Pixel is dishing out another big helping of 'splosion with their sequel: Ms. 'Splosion Man. The story of Ms. 'Splosion Man begins with the capture of her male counterpart by Big Science via a booby-trapped cake. As the oddly-shaped scientists celebrate, one knocks over a bottle of champagne, which spills onto some wires just as a mysterious yellow bow falls onto the big platform. This somehow creates a female version of 'Splosion Man. It's a bit more elaborate than the story of Ms. Pac-Man, but still quite a brief introduction, which is good, because we want to get to the explosions!
The gameplay of the original 'Splosion Man was fairly chaotic, and sometimes so quick that it was difficult to keep up with what was happening. Based on the new gameplay trailer released during GDC 2011, it looks like Twisted Pixel has knocked things up a notch. The trailer shows the explosive female jumping from flying car to flying car (killing each passenger in the process, of course), sliding down electric rails in the sky while exploding to avoid deadly obstacles, and battling giant killer robots. If that doesn't impress you, then you should know that according to Joystiq, the trailer only consists of footage from the first level. I can't imagine it's nearly as easy as the trailer makes it look, but if the difficulty isn't frustrating, it should be just as fun as it looks.
Twisted Pixel's John Bear has promised that, in the same way that Ms. Pac-Man was an improvement on Pac-Man, Ms. 'Splosion Man will be bigger and better, and will not resemble an over-priced DLC pack. Although it's only an XBLA game, as long as it is as long and entertaining as the original, fans should be pleased.
The only danger that I noticed is that Ms. 'Splosion Man does a lot of talking. And by talking, I mean high-pitched one-liners. Some of them are amusing, like the ones that make light of gender stereotypes. "Do I look fat in this?" asks Ms. 'Splosion Man, after demanding to know who left the toilet seat up again. Others grate the nerves, such as when she says "word up" in a way that sounds like she's trying too hard to sound cool. Others don't seem to be in English, including "en fuego" and "holy macanoli." The frequency of these outbursts suggest that Ms. 'Splosion Man could quickly become annoying.
On the other hand, it looks like the original game's bizarre humor remains intact. The gameplay trailer shows a brief scene that suggests Ms. 'Splosion Man has a thing for skinny-legged men in tight jumpsuits with giant beards and elbow pads.
Annoying protagonist or not, there's no reason why Ms. 'Splosion Man shouldn't be a success. The original received high praise from fans and critics alike. Since indie games tend to be more about the innovation than the money, there's no reason to expect that this sequel will be anything like a glorified DLC. With the support of fans and some cash, Twisted Pixel should be able to fix the minor flaws found in 'Splosion Man. As long as the difficulty and one-liners don't make it us wish Ms. 'Splosion Man had never been born, we should end up with a better game.
CCC Freelance Writer