Ms. Splosion Man
Like Ms. Pac-Man before her, Ms. Splosion Man looks to take everything that made her male-dominated prequel great and blow the lid off of fans' expectations. The twisted minds at Twisted Pixel took us on a tour of the first few areas of the game at this year’s GDC, but this brief glimpse has us practically bursting with excitement for this year’s downloadable XBLA title.
In 2009’s ‘Splosion Man, players controlled a zany science experiment who escaped from the lab in order to wreak havoc on his creators. By detonating his own body, ‘Splosion Man could jump through deadly obstacle courses and other platforming challenges. Ms. Splosion Man follows this same formula. This time, however, the crafty scientists have captured ‘Splosion Man, so it’s up to their newest accidental creation to work her way out of the lab and save her man.
When Twisted Pixel released the first ‘Splosion Man, the studio was so small that it didn’t have an environmental artist, as evidenced by the fact that nearly every level was composed of the same three background patterns. Things have changed a little bit since those days, and Ms. Splosion Man is filled with a variety of colorful backdrops. From the classic laboratory environments to futuristic hovercar skyways to watery resort towns, Ms. Splosion Man’s adventure will take her through an odd mix of locations. Each world has its own hub map, similar to Super Mario Bros. 3. If a player runs into a level that they find too challenging, they might be able to skip past it by working through a different path along the hub map.
‘Splosion Man was full of platforming sequences involving exploding barrels and rising water levels, and Ms. Splosion Man retains these basics, but it also introduces many new gameplay mechanics to the series. Ms. Splosion Man can grab onto ziplines or bounce off trampolines to help her reach her destination. Twisted Pixel was a fan of Donkey Kong Country Returns, so the team added a few cannon sequences that are reminiscent of Donkey Kong’s barrel blasting moments. Ms. Splosion Man can also use some enemies to help navigate her environment. A new enemy called Mandy is so fat that Ms. ‘Splosion Man can jump inside her body and control her like a puppet. While Ms. ‘Splosion Man is inside Mandy, a catchy song plays and Ms. Splosion Man can walk through environmental dangers such as lasers.
Near the end of our demo we got to see Ms. Splosion Man’s first boss fight. In the first ‘Splosion Man, boss battles were mostly just long obstacle courses that players raced through. For the sequel, Twisted Pixel is working to make the boss encounters more varied. Ms. Splosion Man’s first boss is an enemy called The Mighty Eternal, a building-sized robot that fans might remember from the first game. After chasing Ms. Splosion Man through a series of ziplines and exploding platforms, The Mighty Eternal faced off against the female protagonist inside a large laboratory. Twisted Pixel has made enemy weak points a little more obvious this time, so players won’t have to fumble around as they experiment to discover how to defeat each boss. After dodging a few homing missiles and exploding into The Mighty Eternal’s eye a few times, the battle ended with a quick time sequence that showed Ms. Splosion Man taking the giant down in cinematic fashion.
Like the first game, Ms. ‘Splosion man is filled with charming offbeat humor. Ms. Splosion Man rattles off quotes from Beyonce, Jane Austin, and Arnold Swarzenager. In the first ‘Splosion Man players collected pieces of cake, but they’ll now be collecting shoes for Ms. Splosion Man to wear through the level. Twisted Pixel doesn’t have a release or price point planned for this XBLA only title, but we’ll likely see it before the end of the year.