'Splosions, t-bone steaks, and donuts.... what's not to like?
'Splosion Man is a 2.5D platformer for XBLA, developed by Twisted Pixel. This is their second game and they don't disappoint. The game has a very, very loose story that is told over 50 insane, stress inducing, hair pulling-ly difficult levels. Basically, you are 'Splosion Man, a failed science experiment resulting in a man made of 'splosions. The entire game revolves around you blowing shit up and eating cakes, the only collectible in the game. It takes place in three different science centers in three different locations: a lava center, an underwater center, and a space center. All these levels look relatively the same, aside from the environment outside the window and the floor you run on. Like the Maw, Twisted Pixel's previous game, there is a lot of personality in this game. Whenever 'Splosion Man runs he is doing some kind of pose, like he's an airplane or a monkey. When loading up each level, 'Splosion Man's face flies towards the screen with the background spinning like a 1960's superhero show and 'Splosion Man yells out some kind of meat. The scientists also react to 'Splosion Man rather well. When they see him they run away for a while and then they either jump into a pit of spikes/blades/acid, presses their back against the wall in terror or curl up into a ball on the floor waiting to be 'sploded. There is one scientist, however, that does not fear 'Splosion Man as much as the others. Danklesfen, a fat donut-loving scientist, is one of the few things in the game that is immune to 'splodes. So 'Splosion Man can grab him and use him as a shield against the machine guns, and when you do this song called "Everybody Loves Donuts" replaces the main music. If you die quite a few times in a row on one level, they give you the option called "The Way of the Coward." This lets you skip the level but doesn't give you the credit for it. After you beat the game on normal difficulty, Hardcore mode is unlocked. This takes away all checkpoints and makes the enemies kill you with one shot. There are a couple of problems I have with the game. When you blow a scientist into a pile of meat, the meat twitches around a bit, especially at the main menu. Also you cannot skip cutscenes which is really annoying Hardcore mode. At the beginning or partway through a couple of levels there is like a 1 1/2 - 2 minute cutscene introducing a new obstacle or enemy or something. These are cool the first couple of times you see them, but if you're like me and die constantly you'll have to watch them again and again and again and it kind of wears on you. The long and short of it, 'Splosion Man is a great game with lots of personality that will put your platforming skills and sanity to the test. So roast up some ribeyes and linked sausages, grab a baker's dozen of donuts and be ready to have that food flung all over your house in frustration.