Twisted Pixel Games left a great first impression on Xbox live Arcade with the release of The Maw, earlier this year. Six months later, who would of thought that Twisted Pixel Games would out due themselves with their new XBLA exclusive puzzle platformer, ‘Splosion Man. Microsoft substituted the games release date with that of TMNT:TIT Reshelled, allowing it to start off the second annual Summer of Arcade. Even though summer already started, it just got even more fun and more ‘splosive thanks to ‘Splosion Man.
You’d be pretty much dead on if you assumed that you were a scientific experiment gone wrong, which has turned you into a cake loving exploding fireman because that’s pretty much what happens. Although, your not shown or told what happened, but why else would you be in a lab exploding scientist that want you dead. ‘Splosion Man doesn’t give you a movie script to understand the little story it has but short cut scenes tell you what you need to know. Having little story doesn’t prevent Twisted Pixel games from making a very likable and charismatic protagonist. ‘Splosion Man will have you laughing out loud simply by the way he runs, stands, and the things he says, like even quoting Christian Bale “Me and you are done professionally.”
The button layouts for the game are very simple. Move with the left stick and ‘splode with any of the four buttons you want. You’ll be able to explode 3 times before having to recharge whatever it is that stops you from exploding even more times. ‘Splosion Man is a great example of easy to play, and hard to master. Killer robots, scientist, turrets, acid pits, etc. are all ready to bring you down, only your brain and perfect timing can help you move on. The game offers 50 unique levels for both single player and co-op mode, adding up to 100 levels. Most of the puzzles I’ve encountered so far in the game consist of perfect timing and a bunch of trial and error. If things get a little too difficult then you can always take the “Way of the Coward” which lets you skip to the next level but is sure to make you less manly. Only a few levels will have you tearing your hair out, but if its a challenge you seek then ‘Splosion Man delivers with hardcore levels.
Graphically, ‘Splosion Man is similar to Twisted Pixels last arcade game, The Maw. Very cartoony looking characters and great visual explosions. The camera does a good job following you as you scroll from left to right although it sometimes plays tricks on you by not showing you the surface. This can end up killing you when you don’t know exactly where to land or even if there’s a place to land.
When times get rough and lonely, co-op mode is there to bring you 2-4 players together for some ‘sploding good times. Co-op mode brings 50 more unique levels to the game that can only be completed with great team work. Co-op adds new elements of gameplay like being able to jump higher if you and your friends explode at the same time. The left trigger initiates a 3,2,1 countdown, giving you and your friends a time set in which to explode at the same time in order to reach higher places. One would think the game would be easier with more players but no, things only get even more difficult especially when you have to count on more than 2 people to do certain things. Co-op is a great addition to this type of game, just make sure you don’t have dummies playing with you and you’ll do fine.
Twisted Pixel has another Xbox Live Arcade hit to add to their portfolio. ‘Splosion Man gives you a great game, 50 single player levels, and 50 co-op levels for the low price of 800MS Points ($10.) Not to mention some of the unlockables in the game are 2 gamerpics and a premium theme which would normally cost 240MS Points. A great value that can’t be beaten and something to sink your teeth into now especially in a time where most arcade games now cost 1200MS Points ($15.) The pricing is the icing on the cake to a game that I feel is this years best original arcade game so far.