Fans of platforming games, assorted meat products and donuts rejoice; ‘Splosion Man is the game for you. I’ve been interested in playing it since it was announced back in April of 2009. Unfortunately, due to me lacking an Xbox 360 until recently I had no way to do so. The developers of the game, Twisted Pixel, had ported their previous game “The Maw” to PC but ‘Splosion Man did not receive the same treatment, much to my dismay. Now that I do have an Xbox 360 I’ve had the chance to purchase and play ‘Splosion Man long after most of the world has beaten it 20 times over.
The game takes place over the course of 100 levels, 50 in single player and 50 in multiplayer. There’s a good sense of pacing as the game gradually introduces new concepts to you over the course of your rampage through the labs of Big Science. You are given ample opportunity to become acclimated with new gameplay elements before you’re required to use them in a more complex puzzle, some of which require some pretty strict timing later in the game.
Naturally, the gameplay revolves around the titular characters one and only ability: ‘sploding. You can ‘splode three times in a row before you have to recharge, which can only be done while sliding down a wall or while on the ground. Some puzzles require more than your base level of ‘sploding, though. In such areas you are provided with explosive canisters and “fire spouts” to give you a boost or recharge your ability while airborne. The underlying mechanics of the game are solid, the controls are responsive and rarely did I feel like it was the games fault I failed to navigate a puzzle.
Multiplayer comes in the form of co-op levels which are separate from what’s found in single player and scale to the number of players (up to 4) by altering various aspects of the puzzles used in the game which usually consist of players having to simultaneously activate buttons or ‘splode off each other to access otherwise out-of-reach areas. With more than two players it can become a bit chaotic, with people inadvertently ‘sploding off each other or pushing each other into environmental hazards or enemies. That problem is generally in effect twofold when playing with random people on Xbox Live. However, if you can play with friends or find some good XBL players and everybody understands the game mechanics it can make for a very fun experience.
Graphically and aurally speaking, the game packs a solid engine with simplistic but highly effective art design that perfectly fits the tone of the game. Sound design is equally well executed with a small selection of upbeat tunes including the undeniably catchy “Everybody Loves Donuts”. Equally infectious are the hyper-active quips, one-liners and a myriad of mouth noises produced by the main character himself as you progress.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a solid puzzle-based platforming experience with a great lighthearted tone you should give the reasonably priced ‘Splosion Man a shot.