Reviewed: December 3, 2011
Released: July 13, 2011
Twisted Pixel has met with nothing but success, and Ms. Splosion Man maintains their record of excellence. The gameplay builds upon the formula established in the first game, a side-scrolling platformer where the titular character navigates levels and tries to find the exit, aided by the power to explode, or ďsplodeĒ, in the gameís parlance. Thankfully, Ms. Splosion Man isnít bothered at all by sploding. In fact, she revels in it, as each splosion sends her bouncing off in new directions. Sploding stands in for jumping in the game, and like any platformer, mastering vertical movement is absolutely critical to success.|
The original Splosion Man is known for its frenzied action, and Ms. Splosion Man upholds that legacy. Ms. Splosion Man can splode three times, effectively having a triple jump, before needing a moment to recharge her splosion ability. On top of that, she can cling onto walls for a moment and splode off of them, and many objects will send Ms. Splosion Man rocketing off if she splodes near them. Add these to other classic platformer elements like rails to slide down and cannons that launch the character, and what you have is an extremely mobile protagonist. Every level is reminiscent of older Sonic the Hedgehog levels or the more frantic Donkey Kong Country levels. Ms. Splosion Man zooms from place to place, bouncing all over the levels, giggling and doing girly poses all the while as destruction rains down, an aesthetic that, in spite of my initial reservations, never gets old.
Ms. Splosion Man herself is just as animated and lively as the gameís action. Nearly every splosion is accompanied by a pose and funny vocal outbursts, often movie references or maniacal giggling. From time to time, sheíll even start singing. Ms. Splosion Man is extremely feminine, and like just about everything else in the game, itís turned up to eleven. Her girly and lively attitude is a lot like Dee Dee from Dexterís Laboratory, and it grew on me quickly.
In spite of her carefree attitude, donít expect this game to be easy. Early levels give players some room for error, but before long, the title demands expert timing and control from its players. Death is instant, but you can retry as often as youíd like. The game lets you fail as often as you need to before you understand what you need to do and manage to pull it off. If you fail a section enough times, the game will offer to let you just plain skip it. Ms. Splosion Man is difficult, but this is a game more interested in helping a player succeed than in punishing the player.
The single player game has fifty levels and every one of them is polished to excellence. You begin the game in a science laboratory, but before long, you escape and travel to other locales, such as a futuristic city and a resort town. A number of optional and extremely challenging levels also exist, for those determined to completely master the game. As you play, you also earn tokens that can be used to unlock bonus features like concept art, for players who love to collect things.
This isnít even getting into the multiplayer options. A two-player mode exists, and instead of just being a version of the main campaign where two players switch off, itís an entire campaign of its own where two players have to work together to make it through the challenge that every level throws at their feet. For those without friends who might be interested (or for those who have something they need to prove), thereís 2 Girls, 1 Controller mode where two Ms. Splosion Men are controlled by a single player, a feat as challenging as it is absurd. And this isnít even getting into the gameís special challenges.
With those modes, Ms. Splosion Man is absolutely packed with content. The entire game feels like a serious labor of love, and thereís a lot of play time in this title. The gameís $10 price tag is an absolute steal for everything it offers. The graphics are a little on the simple side, but they pack a punch in every place that counts. The sound is fantastic, and Ms. Splosion Manís outbursts are all well-done. The gameplay is solid and polished, and every level is fiendishly designed. Thereís and endless amount of content to conquer. Ms. Splosion Man excels in every way, and it has my absolute approval.