My thoughts on the Ms. 'Splosion Man Beta
Ms. Splosion ManSo perhaps the most noticeable change in the sequel is that you do not take control of the enigmatic loony Splosion Man and instead take control of a brand new character, she is a lady. You can tell because she wears a bow. I was a little worried about taking control of Ms. Splosion Man after watching one of the preview trailers for the game, her quoting of bands like the spice girls and obsession with shoes seemed like it could get a little, tiresome and annoying. Splosion Man had the sort of inane chatter that brought the character to life and really gave him a lot of character it perhaps seemed they were just trying to get some cheap laughs here. Well after playing the demo I am a lot more confident that me and Ms. Splosion Man can be friends, she is just as insane as Splosion Man and has a myriad of different animations and chatters along mindlessly just like Splosion Man. The quotes are rare just like the original and she will often just chant "la la la la la la la" while your waltz through the levels. Instead of a mad desire to eat cake, Ms. Splosion Man has a hunger for shoes (she has to think of her figure) a nice touch is that when she collects the shoes she will actually wear them until the end of the level and though it is only a beta all the levels had a different pair of shoes for her to wear. The only real issue I have with the character and this might be a debatable use of the term "real issue", is that her face is weird. Not sexy.
Single PlayerThe single player begins with all the scientists capturing Splosion Man by luring him into a cage with a giant cake and lets face it, that's happened to us all at some point. During the celebration Ms. Splosion is created after champagne is spilled on some machiney and the electrical current flows into a bow in the middle of some scieney looking platform. The game kicks in from the title screen and having played Splosion Man recently I can say that Ms. Splosion Man looks notably better graphically though it still keeps the same unique style. A lot of the textures have been re-skinned with the barrels and platforms having a slight change in appearance and you can now see clouds and sunlight outside of the windows instead of space probably since you will be going outside of the laboratory on several occasions, how dare they mess with the rich tapestry that is the Splosion Man lore! So the game immediatly hits you with a tutorial that I have to admit, is pretty brilliant. It gives you the basics of the game by showing you how to or how not to do things, with your pink character model "Sarah" doing the tasks flawlessly and being praised while the orange character model "Debbie" is berated and killed for failing repeatedly. The first level is mainly more of the same apart from one main new feature which is these new rails which you can slide on and fling yourself off, you also fight a boss battle at the end which was a little uninspired and mainly an excuse to bust you out of the lab. After this there is a little bit of outside gameplay, you jump from car to car using them as platforms and there is some Donkey Kong style launching from barrel to barrel, you travel through the open world back into the lab and so forth. Personally while I thought the outside sections were ok I much prefer just being in the lab on a fiendishly designed level, I personally never really tired of running through the labratories in the first game. When I was outside I found myself sometimes losing my character in the pink clouds and you totally just die if you hit a wall you are not supposed to hit just because that is not the right way, funny that letting you out into the world should take away from your feeling of freedom. For saying this is the start of the game it is definitely a lot more challenging off the bat than the original Splosion Man was, which is fine by me but perhaps might put off some newcomers to the franchise. Also new is a Super Mario World style overworld map which doesn't do much for me because I am not going to skip everything and play every level, so yeah. Overall I am hopeful that I will have just as much fun with Ms. Splosion Man as I did the original because if twisted pixel knows how to do one thing, it's make funny FMV videos but if it knows how to do a second thing, it's design fun Splosion Man levels.
MultiplayerThe first thing I have to get off my chest about multiplayer, player one is the pink model. I am used to playing as the orange model in normal Splosion Man, which is the color of the second player model, this lead to mass confusion for my simple brain. The multiplayer is much the same as in the original which is to say, extremely difficult if you have a douche for a partner/partners. In the same room these levels were doable quite easily and we grabbed the shoes on both levels, I am not sure it would go quite so swimmingly over Xbox Live. A few new features they showed was a new platform raising system which was fairly difficult to use if you did not co-ordinate well with your partner, a new glowing ball thingy that you have to bounce around into holes to open doors and whatnot which was also fairly difficult to get to do what you wanted and some F-Zero like purple strips that let you have unlimited splodes. Unlimited Splodes! The multiplayer seems to be dependent on the same thing as the first game, good co-op partners and if you can't get that then at least be in the same room, which works out nicely for me.
ExtrasOn top of everything else Twisted Pixel has gone the extra mile and added some more extensive leaderboards letting you track a multitude of things, a new gallery section where you can unlock audio files, art and videos in a similar way to you did in comic jumper. This now means that you collect coins based on your performance on levels which I don't really care for but I suppose that is the only way that you can do it and I am hype for some hilarious videos. You may have heard there is a new mode called two girls one controller, I personally think this is completely pointless but maybe someone will find a use for it? There is also a new ghost feature allowing you to rip ghost data from the leaderboards or of your own runs which could be interesting, as far as I could tell you couldn't test it out in the beta. Looking at the achievements secret exits are hinted at, what could this mean? Also there is totally an achievement for completing hardcore mode again. God damn it.
A note about the multiplayer beta: They'll be offering 2 different levels each week. We had a different pair when the beta opened last week, and got a feedback email saying there'll be more as time goes on.
They'll all so far been more than doable with people over XBL, for the most part. Had a couple of occurrences of people being either incredibly impatient or just plain wouldn't listen to suggestions, like say "Don't jump into the big spiky enemy wheel thing." None of them have so far been up to the challenge of the late-game stuff from the original, but with all the new toys the potential for crazy hard stuff is there.
Definitely nothing too hard yet, but generally I thought multiplayer was the easier part of the game in the original anyway, the challenge is mainly from working together which is arguably more difficult than an obstacle they could think of. Yeah I was aware there was new levels next week but I didn't realize I had already missed some. Looking forward to the new levels coming this week because I believe they posted on twitter that it's later game levels so we could potentially be seeing some truly nails levels to try out.
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