Now, I thought that this game’s predecessor was pretty good, but this is where it starts getting great. If I had to make a list of best sequels in the industry, you can bet that this neon bash of everything good about retro gaming and the best female stereotype would be on top. But if you want a more in depth look, scroll on down. Oh, and this review is a bit shorter, since Ms. Splosion Man is a pretty hard game to stretch into 2 pages after talking about regular old, ‘Splosion Man.
Ms. ‘Splosion Man Review
Release Date: 13/7/2011
Platform: XBLA(Reviewed), PC, iOS
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
An unknown amount of time after its predecessor, Ms. Splosion Man begins with the former lead getting captured. Then the scientists spilling a drink, create a pink and female version of the little firecracker. Story is pretty much just as light, there is no given reason for your actions, just go through a future city, a resort, and a surprisingly interesting looking industrial area, to blow stuff up. You can create your own backstory if you want. I settled on one that had her be a person made of Estrogen and a nuclear bomb, which somehow fits. Sorry, I love it when games can mix my insane ideas into their canon.
The gameplay of ‘sploding 3 times as your only action, you use it to jump, attack, deflect projectiles, and destroy barrels of green turbo gel is just as fun as ever. Although, there are still a ton of new items, which are minor at points, like a car you can ride, or rails you can grab on, or explosive barrels that fall very slowly. Most new mechanics feel more like extras, but the do not feel out of place. I would compare how the new items work with the new moves in Banjo-Tooie. Where you have all the moves you learned in the first title, yet keep on learning more advanced moves to keep the already great gameplay fresh until the end. At times they feel like ideas that were throw from the employee’s brains, which could harm the flow, but nearly all of them enhance it. With the exception to ledge grabbing, which feels very loose at times, with several falls when I should have grabbed the ledge . And these low weight spheres you need to ‘splode to move, and the amount of angles you can approach them from, make puzzles revolving these last a bit longer than they should.
The level amount remains solid at 50, and has a very nice curve of difficulty, it eventually reaches some absolutely nutbar levels of challenge. By the time it does, I was trained by 35-40 levels and was determined enough to get par time, which is not nearly as strict as you would assume, on 45 of the levels. I spent 30-45 minutes on the average stage in the final world, memorizing the patterns, restarting so I do a run that I find to be satisfactory. This is the kind of self-imposing challenge that I would enjoy seeing more often. If you want to just go through, move properly and don’t die. If you want to do a quick run where you get the satisfaction of leaping through hazards without skipping a beat, it is there for you.
Speaking of leaping through hazards, the game is actually a blast to look at when you are leaping through these massive levels. Still running on the same engine as ‘Splosion Man, every object look far more polished and detailed, from the scientists that you are bursting into meat and bones while Ms. Splosion Man makes pop culture references that avoid the common mistake of getting annoying after the 50th time.
From your first encounter with the redesigned version of the first boss, it is evident how much better this title looks, not just in terms of a pallet, but also regarding textures. I really do appreciate the vibrant and lively palate of colors, from the contrast between blues, pinks, and greens that helps the difficulty remain in the reasonable range. Well, the instant death lasers do alternate between yellow, pink, and blue, which causes the occasional split second of confusion, yet that’s barely worth registering. And insert comment about how this is an XBLA title, and it looks better than that influx of brown looking titles that has dwindled in recent times. Seriously, this game is a blast to simply watch.
As for music, the majority of it is a bunch of ohs, heys, buhs, ahs, duns, things that are not actually words, just syllables with long vowels. Well, they are accompanied by a, for the most part calming melody in the background giving it structure. It kept me cool throughout the harder sections, except for one track that contains a very high pitch, which I find to be annoying, and is sadly on a lot of the later stages. There are still some of Twisted PIxel’s trademarked odd songs, like the donut song being the pause music, and a very… unique love song for when Ms. Splosion Man gets into the body of an overweight woman and uses her as a mobile explosive barrel that is immune to certain lasers… This is why I love video games, people!
Ms. Splosion Man is a game that does nearly everything right. Great flow, lovely semi-relaxed atmosphere, fun mechanics, but the occasional bit that does not work, like the balls you must bounce or a dodgy ledge grab, diminish the shine. However, the challenge never gets completely cheap, and whenever I messed up, I could blame myself. Other than a very small selection of things that could be smoother, my only complaint stems from the fact that they put out levels with a limited time to play them by, and don’t even allow people to buy them.
An exceptional product that merely suffers from a few nagging issues that do not distract too much from this experience.
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