Over the last several years, Twisted Pixel has created some of the best and more memorable games in the industry. Likewise, their name has become synonymous with delight, hilarity, and more notably, peculiarity. Since it’s release back in 2009, ‘Splosion Man has won the hearts of many with it’s simplistic yet maddening gameplay style and refreshing sense of humor. It’s hard to think that this not-so-average studio would find a way to out do themselves, yet they have once again exceeded expectations with this explosive (see what I did there?) new sequel.
In case you haven’t heard, the game begins right where ‘Splosion Man left off. Big Science has captured their fiery foe, and in the midst of celebration inadvertently created his female counterpart. But just because the two creatures bear a resemblance doesn’t mean the game is a clone of it’s predecessor as well. In fact, Twisted Pixel added a ton of new features while also including some of the familiar ones we love to hate so much. For instance, instead of beginning each level from the end of the last, the devs contrived three separate world maps similar to that of Super Mario World. Not only does this make it easier to navigate levels, but the player can now choose to move ahead to the next stage or repeat a past stage to retrieve a missed collectible, earn a better score, etc. You can even load a “ghost” version of yourself or a friend and attempt to beat their/your own score. Another new and unique feature is “The Mall”. This hub of sorts is filled with some pretty sweet extras, like concept art, videos, and avatar awards. These extras can be purchased with points that you earn for completing each of the levels, and vary in price depending on which reward you want to unlock.
Local and online co-op make a welcome return. This multiplayer campaign mode consists of a completely separate set of levels. And if that isn’t enough ‘sploding for you, a third mode suitably called “Two Girls, One Controller” has been implemented to cover all your ‘sploding needs. As you may have guessed, this mode requires the control of two different colored Ms. ‘Splosion Man creations using only one controller. You can choose to do this by yourself, or with a buddy, one hand on each side of the controller. The thought of controlling two girls at once may be compelling and fun, but mastering the technique may prove itself impossible. Just like in real life (I assume).
Level design is much more massive this time around. The use of new gadgets and a departure from the monotonous Big Science environment really take advantage of how vast and tricky the new worlds can be. But be wary, Twisted Pixel upped the difficulty quite a few notches. Those who’ve played through the first game should catch on quickly, but if you’re unfamiliar in the slightest prepare to have your patience tested.
Amidst the inevitable video game drought this summer, Ms. Splosion Man is like a frosty 16oz mug of beer. Believe me when I say that Twisted Pixel knows what they’re doing, and they made all the right improvements. This new installment in the the ‘Splosion series is without a doubt one of the top downloadable games you will play this year. Let’s just hope Twisted Pixel doesn’t go for a hat trick and surprise us with “Son of ‘Splosion Man”. Seriously, no one wants to think about Jamie Kennedy.
The Good: You finally get your chance to play with two girls at once
The Bad: Way too many loading screens
The Ugly: You’re gonna need a lot of patience with this challenging platformer
Score: 8 out of 10
Second Opinion by Clint Prentice
Ms. ‘Splosion Man is to Twisted Pixel’s zany platforming mascot as Ms. Pac-Man was to Namco. A wild new adventure that has many of the same parts, all put together in a prettier package with a bow on top. The changes from ‘Splosion Man to Ms. ‘Splosion Man are welcomed to a long time platforming players such as a world map and tighter controls (yet still loose in comparison to a title like Super Meat Boy), and there is a plethora of more ‘sploding fun awaiting gamers. Twisted Pixel has outdone themselves in presentation, this is arguably their best looking game to date. The problems only come in once you dig deeper into the later levels, finding yourself stuck in a “fun-strating” puzzle that may take you a multitude of attempts to solve.
Even though she was genetically created only a short while ago, Ms. ‘Splosion Man is particularly well learned in 90’s pop culture. From spouting Spice Girls and Britney Spears lyrics, to dancing the Carlton, Ms. ‘Splosion Man is packed full of great one liners and animations. If you get stuck on a puzzle, you have the option to cheat on the game by moving to the next checkpoint, only you’ll be taking more than just a time penalty. Ms. ‘Splosion Man’s booty gets bootylicious big and perhaps the most side-splitting song about bodonkadonks there is plays continuously for the rest of the level. If you’re looking for a fun, but difficult 2D platformer for this year’s summer drought look no further than Ms. ‘Splosion Man.
Score: 8 out of 10