Ms. Splosion Man is one of my favorite platformers to date. Like the original, it's charming, engaging challenging, and really put Twisted Pixel on the map for me.
The mobile version translates most of the magic of the original to iOS in favor of serviceable touch controls, and a smoother graphical output. But it also shows the darker side of mobile gaming quite well.
Ms. Splosion Man (iPhone [reviewed with iPhone 5], iPad) Developer: Twisted Pixel Games Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Released: March 28, 2013 MSRP: $2.99 (with microtransactions)
Since we already did a great job explaining the basic overview of the game in our original review, I'm basically going to go over what's new in the mobile version. As you can imagine for a somewhat precision platformer, the controls would probably be your first holdup.
But surprisingly, I actually had little to no issue getting Ms. Splosion Man to do what I wanted her to do on a touch screen. There's virtual buttons for left, right, and 'splode (jump), and that's all you really need, honestly. Other than getting lost on occasion on the smaller iPhone screen when larger, zoomed-out jumps are happening, I never really felt overwhelmed.
Considering a large portion of the game is actually rhythm-based, with a lot of your playtime spent in the air timing jumps without the need for directional input, the move to iOS actually makes perfect sense. There were only a few instances in which I was frustrated with the touch controls -- namely long sections where you're jumping between moving platforms -- but I got used to them fairly quickly, and had little to no issue for the most part.
Ms. Splosion Man looks about the same if not better than the XBLA version on iOS (as confirmed by the developer). The silky smooth action has little to no slowdown. The iPad version runs at a full 60 frames per second, with the iPhone build performing slightly below that. Although this review is for the build running on an iPhone 5, I was able to test out the iPad version as well, and both do not disappoint on a performance level.
So what's new or changed in this version content-wise? Well, there are microtransactions. The good news is the power-ups you can buy are negligible. Level skips, extra 'sploding power and distance -- things like that are purchasable through coins earned in each level.
The best part is you don't even need them to complete the game; they're just there to assist players who may need the help. As is the case with any microtransaction store, you can buy coins for real-life cash, starting at $0.99. The mobile version also contains challenges in the same vein as most mobile games these days that task you with things like "beat the ghost time in this level" or "blow up [x] amount of objects."
So far so good, right? The way Twisted Pixel handles these power-ups is fairly admirable, and doesn't ever encroach on paywall territory since they're basically just an optional, extra layer added on top of the full original XBLA version of the game.
Then we get to my major problem with the mobile build: you have to buy new levels to progress through the game. Now, you can buy them with in-game currency -- the problem is, you need to beat each level two to three times on average to buy each set. (You can buy levels individually, or purchase half of each world in bulk.)
This is incredibly jarring, as one would expect that after paying $2.99 for a mobile game, the full experience would be unlocked -- especially if you're completing each level in order. Sadly, you'll quickly find out that even after beating a level multiple times, you may not be able to progress to the next set until you power through yet again to earn enough scratch.
When you add it all up, buying all three worlds solely through in-app-purchasing amounts to less than the asking price of the original XBLA game (less than $10). But there's something really wrong with the way the system is presented here. Simply put, if it's a paid app, the game should be fully unlocked -- especially if there are microtransactions already in place -- and especially since there is no warning of this withholding of content before you purchase the game.
It's a shame that there's such a weird barrier between the player and actually playing the levels they want. With a bit more tweaking of how many coins it takes to unlock each stage, or the elimination of the system entirely, Ms. Splosion Man would be one of the finest games on the entire App Store.
As it stands, just know that you'll have to field a bit of patience (or the fortitude to pay past the initial asking price) if you feel like 'sploiding on the go.
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.
SpielerDad Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.Nekrosys So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?SeymourDuncan17 Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud!
[youtube]https://youtu.be/JQmZi94cjL4[/youtube]NYCpunk you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything. ChrisHannard Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube]https://youtu.be/qgYAXsDq4Uw[/youtube]StriderHoang I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.The Dyslexic Laywer Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...Mike Martin My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too. OverlordZetta Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.Lawman Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.Dr Mel This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....Shinta Wii U, top selling black friday item on target.com. Take that you anti-Wii U people.
http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/11/27/wii-u-helps-drive-targets-biggest-online-shopping-day-ever?utm_source=IGN%20hub%20page&utm_medium=IGN%20(front%20page)&utm_contenCoilWhine I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!Avoclefo Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?Niero Desu Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.OrochiLeona Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?Nathan D After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now. Pixie The Fairy When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.Confuseddalek I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.Solar Pony Django Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.