By SuperfluousMoniker 5 Comments
Explodemon looks great on the outside. They put out this trailer which makes the game look pretty damn fun. Do not be fooled. This game has several very questionable design decisions.
First of all, Explodemon is part an annoying trend in recent games of having non-configurable controls. This wouldn't be a problem if the control setup hadn't apparently been designed by someone who had never played a video game before. You jump with X, explode with circle, dash with triangle, and square is used to talk to people. I'm gonna say that again, for emphasis. Square is your 'talk' button. That's all it does. Why the hell would you use the second easiest to press button on the controller for such a non-essential function? It's mind boggling.
Explodemon has apparently been in development for five years. In five years, no one thought maybe they should put the thing you do all the fucking time on square and the thing you almost never do on triangle? Five years wasn't long enough to program customizable controls into the game? You can't even move with the D-Pad! What the fuck?
There are exactly three enemy types in Explodemon: Little guys that go from side to side, bigger guys that go from side to side and shoot at you, and flying things that hover annoyingly out of reach. Several times per level, you'll enter an area where the only way to progress is to kill all the enemies, which magically unlocks the door to continue. I guess this wouldn't be so bad if the combat weren't an absolute chore. Since your only method of attack is exploding, and you can only explode once every second or so, any given encounter winds up taking longer than it feels like it should. Most of the enemies are tiny and nondescript, and the bigger enemies are just scaled up versions of the small ones. The blandness of the enemies and the frequency with which you are required to destroy a bunch of them to progress makes it all very tedious.
Note the singular. I haven't beaten this game yet, (mostly because I don't really want to anymore) but I'm 2/3s of the way through and so far I have fought the boss four or five times now. Each fight has been exactly the same. He has two attacks and he teleports around the room randomly. When you get hit by him, he regenerates his health. So yeah, that's awesome. Everyone loves bosses that regenerate health, right?
Because every game needs to have you unlock stuff as you progress now, this game does too. But the order in which you unlock things is a little weird. The first thing you get is a double jump, which sounds great on paper but has a limitation that makes it worthless: You can only activate after exploding in midair, which probably got you enough height to get where you wanted to go already. It might actually be useful to kill the hovering enemies if it weren't for this odd decision. After that, you get an 'aim mode' which lets you see where objects you blow up will fly to. This gets used about twice right after you get it and is then completely forgotten. Much later, you unlock something that lets you combo explosions if you hit enemies with them, which you probably should start the game with because it almost makes combat bearable. After that you get a dash move which also would have been nice to start with.
Now my question here is, why the hell does it take so long to get this stuff? You don't get combo thing and the dash move until the end of the second world. Since there are three worlds, you go more than half the game missing stuff that really should be standard equipment. It's not like this is a Metroid-style game where you're going back and opening up new areas or anything, and it's not like the the mechanics are complex enough for it to be necessary to roll this stuff out slowly. It appears to have been done for no reason at all.
It's a real shame to see how poor this game turned out to be. It's just not fun. Wost ten bucks I've spent on PSN.