A Brilliantly Flawed Game
This is a game you’ll love to hate. It is unforgiving, twitchy, frantic, and at times unfair. But you’ll want to come back and get through the game, because you know that if you try just a little bit differently you’ll be able to get through it and defeat that f&#*ing level, and move on.
You’ve probably read a fair amount about this game already, but my to sum up the game, ‘Splosion Man, is a 2.5D puzzle-platform game where your only mechanic is to “`splode” (jump). You navigate 50 levels including 3 boss levels to… well, win the game. In these levels you must time your jumps to solve the puzzles presented to get through the maze and get to the end.
When this game works, it is brilliant. It is funny, challenging, and just draws you forward. However, this game has fundamental broken gameplay as well. This aspect of the game has been little detailed, and I felt it good to explain this to someone who might be considering buying this game.
The game is styled after the old-school game systems that force you to learn the levels by making the game based upon precision timed jumps. Unlike true old-school games, this Xbox Live Arcade game has saves and checkpoints which seriously make the game easier than it could have been. You will be thankful for these, especially when the frantic escape sequences occur.
These are the reason this game isn’t a 4 or 5 on my scale. I haven’t thrown a controller since I was in high school (I’m now well outside of that age). This game made me throw my controller a few times. There are sections in the game where you are being chased by a robot, or trying to jump before the flood waters come, or spikes come to get you, or whatever. In these sequences the “brilliant” developers of the game introduced rubber-band mechanics to keep things interesting. So if you do really well you don’t get anywhere because the thing “chasing” you will catch up. So much so that if you over shoot your target spot by a few pixels and have to back up a step or two, the chasing object will now be closer to you than if you went SLOWER!
This is a fundamentally broken part of the game, and I really wish it would be patched, because it is ridiculous that in this day and age you get punished by a game for doing well.
With so much animosity, why did I score it reasonably well then? Simple when the game isn’t broken, it is brilliant, funny, (reasonably) challenging, and insane. The music is amazing (Everybody Loves Doughnuts!), and the ending… one of the best of all time. It is worth getting to the end to watch the insanity. Just don’t break you controller on some of the unfair levels that happen between the beginning and the end of the game.
edit: fixed a typo