'Splosion Man Review

By Jake Gaskill - Posted Jul 22, 2009

'Splosion Man is a quirky, challenging, stylish platformer with tons of replayability that every Xbox 360 owner should check out. There are few minor issues here and there, but overall, it's an absolute blast.

The Pros
  • Quirky and stylish presentation
  • Simple controls yet complex platforming
  • Lengthy single-player and multiplayer
  • Tons of replayability
The Cons
  • Zero narrative = missed opportunity
  • Fickle camera
  • Not enough enemy variety

Developer Twisted Pixel made a bit of a name for itself thanks to their first Xbox Live Arcade title The Maw. That game featured a quirky sense of humor and quality gameplay, and the same can be said about the team’s sophomore effort, the 2.5-D platformer ‘Splosion Man. If you’re looking for the bastard child of Psychonauts, Portal, LittleBigPlanet and Earthworm Jim, you’ve come to right place.

‘Splosion Man/’Splosion’ Man/Blowing Up/Because He Can

'Splosion ManAs the title suggests, this game is all about one man, one ‘Splosion Man, who, after getting loose from his confinement area, wreaks havoc in an underground research facility, and encounters an ever increasing number of challenging puzzles and deadly enemies. Sadly, that’s the extent of the story. No set up as to who the guy is or what the research facility is up to. Nothing. And while it doesn’t necessarily take away from the overall experience, a solid little story would have taken the game from good to unbelievable.

Fortunately, the game sports an incredibly quirky sense of humor that spills over into everything from the character designs, enemies and even deaths (when you destroy the countless evil scientists throughout the game, they explode in a flurry of various meat products). And be sure to watch the entire credit sequence. Utter absurdity to the max.

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Funny Man Go Boom

The game mechanics honestly couldn’t be any simpler. Every face button causes your combustible character to explode and, as physics would predict, jump. You only have three jumps before you have to recharge yourself, which you can do by simply running a few feet or sliding down a wall for a certain distance. You’ll come across exploding barrels and fire spouts that can be used to instantly recharge yourself, giving you the ability to clear large gaps and pull ridiculously long combos off walls, across vats of acid, spike pits and other nasty deathtraps.

The platforming can be a bit slippery at times, and it takes some time to get used to the varying distances that each explosion propels you. But once you get a hang of it, you’ll be flying around levels with relative ease. Don’t think this will be some casual platforming jaunt, though. ‘Splosion Man features some very dastardly puzzles, but they’re compelling enough to keep you from throwing in the towel. Some of the sections are more frustrating than enjoyably challenging, but for the most part, the puzzles are well balanced.

The only other major issue is the camera, mainly when the perspective either shifts to the side or when the camera pulls back to show more of a particular section of a level. Both of these instances screw up your depth perception, and often result in pointless deaths.

“The Splode Beneath My Splosion”

'Splosion ManThe five-to-six-hour single-player mode features 50 levels, each of which can be replayed, giving you the chance to beat your best score. The game also includes 50 co-op multiplayer levels that can be played with up to four players locally or over Xbox Live. The multiplayer is especially enjoyable because of the various co-op mechanics that let players pull off ridiculous combos, and just have an all-around blast.

The Proof is in the ‘Splosion

‘Splosion Man is a quirky, challenging, stylish platformer with tons of replayability that every Xbox 360 owner should check out. There are few minor issues here and there, but overall, it’s an absolute blast. Microsoft’s ’09 edition of “Summer of Arcade” is off to a very good start.