The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Twisted Pixel’s best game to date takes a fun concept and makes it
better. Splosion Man was entertaining, but limited in scope. Its sequel
draws inspiration from the platforming greats and emerges as a bigger,
funnier, more ambitious title. The developer has also crafted a unique
and hilarious new protagonist. Like a Looney Tunes character come to
life, Ms. Splosion Man is a brilliant parody of teenage girl
stereotypes. Like those great classic cartoon characters, your
willingness to play along with the joke will determine whether the game
works for you as it did for me.
I wouldn’t worry too much about
story in Ms. Splosion Man – another science experiment gone wrong
creates a feminine version of the exploding protagonist, and she runs
amok, blowing herself up again and again to navigate the dangerous world
before her. As she runs, she’ll tiptoe like a ballerina and prance like
a pony, spouting her favorite lines from Britney Spears, Madonna, and Dirty Dancing.
the control mechanics are as simple as one button press (Splode!), the
platforming challenges are anything but easy. In a lengthy 50-level
single-player campaign, the game continually throws new devices and
environmental hazards your way. Exploding barrels that fling you into
the background of a level, saddles that rocket you across the sky, giant
tentacled bosses – plenty of diversity keeps you on your toes, even if
the background environments could use more variation.
With one or
more buddies along for the ride, you can enjoy the equally excellent but
wholly different multiplayer campaign, which demands careful timing and
smart cooperative play to progress. In either campaign, you’ll move
between levels in a convenient overworld map. There, you’ll head to
special levels unlocked through secret stage exits, and even visit a
mall of unlockable content filled with movies, art, and extra game
Ms. Splosion Man is at its best when the pace is frantic
and unstoppable, just like its manic heroine. Large chunks of the game
do just that, keeping the action fast and just challenging enough. At
other times, the game stalls out due to tedious and overly precise
platforming sequences and infuriating checkpoint placement. Doing the
same 30-second sequence 12 times over just to get to the section you
keep missing halts the relentless pacing. The normally amusing voiceover
turns grating, and the fun level design becomes stale. The frustration
is made worse by the character’s small size on the screen and the way
she’s often obscured by the crazy action. Luckily, a handy in-game cheat
lets you skip past checkpoints when you’ve had enough.
Even when I
was annoyed by Twisted Pixel’s latest game, I remained impressed with
the grand scope and well-realized vision the team manages to convey,
from the smallest motion of the characters to the breadth of design
ideas and levels. Though the silly humor and high challenge curve could
scare some players off, everyone should try one of the best downloadable
games this year.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.