Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Splosion Man

Review: 'Splosion Man

2:00 PM on 07.20.2009 // Nick Chester

Twisted Pixel pushed its way onto the Xbox LIVE Arcade scene earlier this year with The Maw. An original title based on an original IP, we thought it was pretty damned impressive for the studio's first effort.

Its sophomore effort, another original Xbox LIVE Arcade title called 'Splosion Man, looks to continue the studio's tradition of working with unique and original IP. When it was announced earlier this year, we thought it was a joke -- the studio pitched it as a game about as an exploding man who does lots of exploding and explodes scientists into pieces of tasty steaks. 

Really. 

It had our attention, for sure. But is 'Splosion Man, the game that kicks off Microsoft's Summer of Arcade, any good? Hit the jump to find out, and excuse how many times we use varations of the word "explode."

’Splosion Man (Xbox LIVE Arcade)
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Price: 800 MS Points
To be released: July 22, 2009

If you’ve already read our preview, go ahead and skip over the next few paragraphs, or excuse the redundancy. ’Splosion Man follows the adventure of an experiment gone wrong: a lab rat is turned into an unstable and combustible anti-hero, hell-bent on escape from a locked-down underground facility. Security, as you’d expect, is tight. And it includes lasers. Killer robots. Moving platforms that move up, down, left, and right at varying speeds.

The road to freedom won’t be easy, as ’Splosion Man’s skill set is limited to walking left and right, hanging on to platforms, and -- as if you should be surprised -- exploding. In fact, ’Splosion Man’s most basic controls are more or less its only controls; every one of the Xbox 360 controller’s face buttons does one thing: it makes ’Splosion Man explode.

’Splosion Man is a platforming game with no jumping per se, which isn’t an issue, as it turns out. Exploding acts as the jump here, launching ’Splosion Man in the air to reach normally unreachable heights. You can explode up to three times before cooling off, in effect giving you the ability to triple-jump. Objects like exploding barrels or jets that shoot fire are sometimes placed about the levels to allow you to reach new areas, or extend your explosion powers to complete objectives.

While the concept and gameplay behind the title is simple -- anyone can pick up the controller and within a few moments “get it” -- it’s the creative and sometimes unexpected level design that makes ’Splosion Man such a joy to play. While each of the game’s 50 single-player levels has a “par time” attached to it, not once did I complete the stages anywhere near the target set forth by Twisted Pixel. Stages require a mixture of quick thinking, impeccable timing, and trial and error to complete, each one more satisfying than the next.

Admittedly, there are many instances of extreme aggravation, with some areas requiring inhuman gaming reflexes and completely out-of-the-box thinking. But ’Splosion Man is rife with those near miss, skin-of-your-teeth, “I can’t believe I finally f*cking just made it” moments that make the angry outbursts and teeth-grinding more than worth it. It helps that Twisted Pixel consistently change up the playing field up until the game’s end, including an unexpected set of bosses as creative and fun to battle as the levels themselves.

’Splosion Man also features a cooperative multiplayer mode, which puts up to four ’Splosion Men into 50 unique multiplayer laboratory levels, playable both online and locally. Controls remain the same, with the hook here being that players must work together to do more than just hit switches for or with one another. (There’s plenty of that, of course.)

By timing explosions properly, ’Splosion Men can explode one another, launching one another to heights previously unreachable. Teamwork and communication is key, and Twisted Pixel even included a button that triggers a “countdown” to help players time their explosions. The multiplayer levels are just as gratifying (if not more so) than the single-player game, requiring players to put their heads together to solve puzzles, as well as engage in some intense, near-psychic levels of communication in order to nail some of the trickier timing.

Like their previous effort, The Maw, ’Splosion Man has character and polish you don’t normally see in Xbox LIVE Arcade titles... or many titles, period. While the game doesn’t feature the same kind of narrative structure as The Maw, there’s plenty of stuff here to fall in love with. You won’t soon forget the ’Splosion Man character, the excitable, flaming protagonist with a penchant for cake and open-faced roast beef sandwiches. Why? Why not? Scientists explode into rib-eye steaks when destroyed, folks -- reality and sense is not one of ’Splosion Man’s strong points.

’Splosion Man is not without its issues, most of them minor enough that most players interested in puzzle platforming challenges will be able to ignore. For instance, seeing as how the game encourages players to nail par times and best their own scores, there’s no way to immediately replay a level for a better time. Once a level is complete, your options are to move on to the next or return to the game’s level select screen.

Either way, you’re subjected to the game’s next minor issue -- the loading screen, a static image of ’Splosion Man that sits on a spinning background and is set to the sounds of a looping drum fill. To call it obnoxious or vomit-inducing is not an overstatement; it's so bad, it simply has to be mentioned.

But little gripes like that shouldn’t stop you from checking out ’Splosion Man, especially at its sweet price of 800 MS Points (or ten human being dollars). For such a small, independent team, Twisted Pixel has proven that it has the chops to hang with some of the bigger studios (think Insomniac Games, even Pixar) when it comes to developing unique-looking and original titles.

’Splosion Man is without doubt one of the most polished, original, and enjoyable games on Xbox LIVE, a great way for Microsoft to kick off its “Summer of Arcade.” If you enjoy stern, sometimes unforgiving platforming challenges, you simply shouldn't miss it.

Photo Gallery: (7 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



THE VERDICT

9

Splosion Man - Reviewed by Nick Chester
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Nick Chester, Former Editor-in-Chief (2011)
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Editor-in-Chief @ Destructoid.com nick at destructoid.com  more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Splosion Man


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Gaming's Beautiful People #3: Waifu Warfare (Bloggers Wanted)

Understanding How Street Fighter is Played

Cblogs of 2/05/16 + Digital Preservation

Music Notes: "Tied Down" by Forever Still

Desert Golfing - The Model Mobile Game

Review: Pony Island

Do you even Bebop?

Cblogs of 02/04/16 + Bayonetta and some other one I suppose

Waifu Wars: Your Cruel Device, Your Blood Like Ice..

Best Kickstarter implosion EVER as dev money is spent on booze and strippers

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
All right, you guys, time for the important questions. Fuck, Marry, Kill: Tharja, Sully and Sumia?
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The time has come for me to play Earthbound.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
As the Ultimate Waifu gazed down upon the Earth from her Celestial Throne, she sighed, for mainly shit-tier waifus were being chosen. But one fairy gazed into the stars, declaring her love, sacrificing dreams and spiders on an alter of glitter for her.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
When a new Destiny article comes out
Alphadeus avatarAlphadeus
Thanks to my girlfriend, we own a PS4 now. ID is Ikaruszino. I don't own any multiplayer games (yet) or have PS Plus (yet :p), but feel free to add me so in the future maybe we can play something.
Bardley avatarBardley
My absolute finest moment in all of Metal Gear. Also, the first time I had driven a truck.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
Ok. That EDF 4.1 game is really really good. You can even sing and shout "EDF!" with your soldiers! Holy crackers.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I want to goad my wife into playing RE Revelations 2 with me but I don't know if she can deal with the whole 3D spatial movement thing, even if she plays the supporting character.
Lawman avatarLawman
Heads-up: Mega Man soundtracks are free right now at the Capcom Store. Guessing it's a glitch. All of them are digital downloads, except for Mega Man 9, which is a physical CD that requires money for shipping. Link in comments.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
My Brawl in the Family books finally came! It took a while but Matthew (guy who made the series) has been super busy so I totally understand. =D
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Here's what a typical dinner with me looks like: Stouffer's chicken parmesan, Lay's potato chips, and a cold can of Mountain Dew, all eaten on a cold set of tiles. That's right, ladies, THIS is what you'd be missing out on. Eat your heart out, @SayWord.
thelivinglegend avatarthelivinglegend
Not digging the difficulty of Xcom 2 so far. I always thought the first one was tough but fair, but this seems that at times it won't matter what strategy you use, you'll end up losing and having to restart. Seems more trial and error than tactical.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
How's everyone finding XCOM 2? My first campaign isn't going well, half a dozen deaths so far and a sea of hospitalised vets in the roster :(
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just tried the SFV kiosk demo. Impressions: Charlie is weird now. Chun Li now down-to-forwards her signature kick. Ryu, Ryu never changes. How to V-Trigger? Hah, Capcom does not explain such things! Needs more Rathalos and Feylines.
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
For anyone wondering: Digimon Cyber Sleuth is pretty good. A bit easy, so play on hard mode for challenge, but it's like playing Final Fantasy 10, but with Digimon. You can even get Black Wargreymon if you buy it this month. Clearly, the best Digimon.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I bought Bloodborne and $30 in PSN moolah to top off my Playstation shopping spree.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
I just made a thing of beauty.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Nordic just saved a bunch of games from being delisted. Some pretty good ones! [url]http://www.nordicgames.at/index.php/article/galactic_ip_rescue_operation_aka_new_franchises_acquired[/url]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Weird brutal death metal song about Majora's Mask (Reminds me of Gorguts)! My life is complete! Lyrics in comments. https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/track/tales-of-the-majora-mythos-part-1
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I SWEAR the Goddess is trolling me. I HATE having dreams where everything's finally okay with my life, only to wake up and realize it's all been a delusional lie. I'm starting to think this is a sign that maybe I should just keep sleeping forever... T^T
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -