'Splosion Man will provide you with hours of hilarious fun
'Splosion Man is probably my favourite platform game of all time. It managed to entertain me for hours with its crazily complicated and awesome jumping sequences, its great sense of style and the hilarious antics that permeate the gameplay and cutscenes. If 50 singleplayer levels and another 50 multiplayer levels for up to 4 players, just about all of which are awesome, sounds enticing to you, I can assure you that you'll be getting your money's worth for the 800 points the game goes for on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
'Splosion Man's story is simple enough: you play as a test subject that's trying to escape from the lab he's in. No other information is given, but one thing's for certain: the test subject can 'splode. Called “'Splosion Man” for that very reason, his explosive ability allows him to jump on walls, do a triple-jump or fry the scientists that attempt to impede his progress.
There are four mechanics: you can run, you can jump up to three times by 'sploding, you can blow yourself up and you can start a countdown. Those last two are for multiplayer purposes. So, reading that short list, you might think that 'Splosion Man is a very simple game. However, you couldn't be more wrong. With just a handful of gameplay options, the game manages to create insanely fun jumping puzzles that require you to leap around frantically, turning scientists into steaks, barely outrunning spike poles and hitting a lot of explosive barrels. It's a pretty challenging game too. The jumps and leaps that you'll have to pull off force you to make the most of your reflexes and think quick on your feet. Some of them are rather long. Sometimes, you'll spend like 30 to 45 seconds in the air, and once you start failing a couple of times in a row, it can get increasingly difficult to complete the sequence due to a loss of concentration. However, it never seems unfair. You get checkpoints after every series of jumps and you get put back at the start of the series just about instantaneously upon death. There are times when you might feel a bit frustrated, but never to a degree that would deter you from loving the game.
If there's one thing that I hold against 'Splosion Man, it's that I don't like the boss fights. They do their best to make for cool challenges, but with only a single real gameplay mechanic to work with, they felt a bit hollow to me.
With such complicated and tough platforming that always moves at the speed of light, you might be inclined to think 'Splosion Man's multiplayer mode would be a waste of time. There's no denying that things can get very chaotic, especially when you've got four players running around, all with a colour-coded 'Splosion Man model of their own. But it's the kind of controlled chaos that ends up working if you can keep your heads cool. The platform mechanics get an extra layer of complexity in these levels—which are completely different from the singleplayer levels, if you're wondering—because players can also 'splode off of each other. Enormous jumps that let the whole team propel a single player upwards to deactivate the trap are consistently required, and if you've got a team that is willing to communicate, either through speech or through the incredibly handy countdown mechanic, you may just have a fantastic time with 'Splosion Man's multiplayer mode. I know I did. If you fail to work with your team though, 'Splosion Man does end up in those same pit-falls that plague other platformers, such as New Super Mario Brothers Wii. Knocking each other back and off of ledges by 'sploding into your teammates or restarting a countdown by starting a new one of your own is really only funny if you're playing with close friends. That's why playing with people you trust is key to your enjoyment, much like with every other good multiplayer game.
Twisted Pixel Junk's latest is also a really, really funny game. Everything, from 'Splosion Dude's animations, to the way he keeps spouting random Schwarzenegger quotes just kept me laughing throughout, and it elevates the whole game from being a “good platformer to “mindblowing”. Watching the video that accompanies the end credits was almost cathartic in nature, and completely made up for the bad boss fight that fills the final level.
'Splosion Man is awesome. Straight-up, it's my favourite platformer ever, and I promise you that you will love it, if you can take the occasional tough set of jumps and don't get motion sickness whilst playing the game. It's most definitely worth your money, so go buy it.