Ms. Splosion Man Makes Splodin Sexy!
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Twisted Pixel brings us back to the world of Big Science which has managed to capture the wily Splosion Man. But never fear! Ms. Splosion Man is here! Our voltaic vixen is on a mission to rescue her fiery beau from certain doom. But does she have what it takes to defeat the cerebral scoundrels?
Taking place shortly after the events of the first game, we find ourselves joining the party at Big Science as they celebrate the capture of Splosion Man. While in the midst of the merry-making, a bow lands on one of their experimental platforms. A quick poof later and Ms. Splosion Man appears before everyone’s eyes to wreak havoc on Big Science and the rest of the world as our pretty-in-pink protagonist quickly escapes the confines of the lab and escapes into the world to ‘splode more than you ever could before!
While the basic game play is the same, Ms. Splosion Man is much more than just a re-skin of the original. Many of the elements that made Splosion Man so challenging and fun have been improved upon. The level designs incorporate many new features to keep even the veteran Splosion player on their toes. As you slide along rails of electricity, make your way through downtown traffic in a floating car, and bounce from background to foreground in the numerous levels, you find that most of the time you have to rethink your methods from the original game to compensate. While at the same time, Ms. Splosion Man isn’t so far departed from the original as to feel like an entirely different game.
The environments are much more dynamic that your standard 2D perspective in a 3D space. Twisted Pixel’s actually added some depth to the levels in a number of ways. Most notably is with objects and enemies that have been “sploded” flying into the foreground and splattering onto the front of your TV screen. Some areas have additional depths to them as well. For instance, in certain areas you may jump into the background in order to access a hidden area or to avoid obstacles in the foreground. While this adds a new dynamic to the 2D platformer, there are times where the screen does get entirely too busy in the foreground or background causing you to lose track of your ‘sploding seductress. Fortunately however, these moments are far and few between leaving most of the game to frustrate you in entirely more fun and entertaining ways.
Ms. Splosion Man has been given a lot of personality to distinguish herself from Splosion Man beyond the pink body and yellow bow. Instead of running across the levels she will instead dance or twirl her way across the floor. She has an insatiable appetite for shoes instead of cake, and quips with lines from popular movies and songs such and “Hollaback Girl” and “Take My Breath Away”. Which, while highly entertaining for most of us, her voice can be muted if less amused players find it too grating.
Big screen boss fights are back as well! However a huge improvement in this area is the use of checkpoints during these battles. Instead of having to go back to the beginning of the boss battle every time you die, you merely go to the last checkpoint which may be halfway through the battle. This alleviates a lot of frustration that was found in the first game.
Another positive is the use of the world map system in Ms. Splosion Man. This Super Mario 3 style world map has a couple of uses. First and foremost, it allows you to not only track your progress through the game, but to also go back and easily select levels that you want to play again. The second is how they label the more difficult levels with a red flag overhead to let you know that it will be a problem area. This allows you to skip over that area if you so choose in order to complete the easier levels of that world, and then go back to revisit the harder ones at a later time.
With the world map comes the World. Instead of being stuck in a laboratory setting for the entire game, you visit areas outside of the labs as well. One of our favorites was the “Tiki world”: Areas set in a resort with the usual Twisted Pixel flair added to it. The additional scenery and themed enemies makes the game much less monotonous than its predecessor.
Levels are different for the Two Player mode as well; however, it seems that they’ve gotten rid of one of the more annoying aspects of the multiplayer by eliminating areas that would require each player to trigger a switch simultaneously. Instead, the focus is on teamwork: Using one player’s ‘splodes to get the second player to a higher area where they can trigger a switch that allows the first player to make their way up in a different manner. This allows you to concentrate on having fun and working together instead of getting frustrated because your teammate’s reflexes aren’t as quick as yours.
Of course, if you’re looking for some girl on girl action and don’t have a partner with you, there’s always the Two Girls, One Controller mode. This mode allows a single player to use one controller to control two Ms. Splosion Mans simultaneously by utilizing the left analog stick and bumper for one, and the right analog stick and bumper for the other. This mode is a true test of your coordination skills as you now have to work both individuals on screen to perform tasks concurrently.
Twisted Pixel has managed to do what very few game companies are able to do with sequels. They’ve managed to keep the formula that made Splosion Man great, polish it, improve it, literally wrap it in a new shiny bow and make Ms. Splosion Man even better. While the game feels a little shorter than the original, you still can manage a good 10 hours or more with all of the different game modes. And if you feel that’s still a little too short, you can add on to it by tackling the Hard Core mode when you’re finished the first run through. A couple of minor annoyances keep this game from achieving absolute perfection, but it comes really damned close. Ms. Splosion Man receives a solid 4.5/5.0.
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