Ms. Splosion Man First Look Preview -- Bigger, Badder, SplodierBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Mar 02, 2011
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Ms. Splosion Man is not just some cash-in sequel, or some overpriced piece of downloadable content for the original Splosion Man. Like Portal, a franchise that happens to share some odd similarities to Twisted Pixel's blow-up-to-go-there platformer, this is a full blown sequel in every sense. Bigger levels, new mechanics, epic boss battles, diverse environments, and, yes, more than enough brain-twisting platforming to satisfy your rampant splode lust.
Ms. Splosion Man begins just after Splosion Man has been captured, via a cake trap, by his evil scientist creators. Of course, in their drunken celebratory revelry, the scientists accidentally knock over a bottle of champagne, which causes a massive electrical surge to blast an innocent looking yellow ribbon, and, voila! Ms. Splosion Man is born.
Over the course of the game, Ms. Splosion Man will venture through a variety of different locales in order to track down and free her beloved. The journey will take her from the familiar lab setting from the first game to a tropical island paradise to a futuristic cityscape complete with flying cars (all luckily driven by scientists who don't mind being blasted out of the sky) and beyond. Twisted Pixel CEO Mike Wilford told us during our GDC 2011 preview session that one of the things the developers really wanted to do this time around was expand the scope of the game and to give players the chances to see more of the world of Splosion Man beyond the confines of the laboratory.
For our preview session, we jumped around to a few of these new locations, and one of the first things you notice about the game this time around is how fleshed out the environments are. The depth-of-field details and effects are great, whether it's a towering volcano in the background, or speeding hovercrafts passing by in the extreme foreground, there' s a wonderful sense of scope and variety to the settings.
From what was shown, the core mechanics of the first game are in tact.
Jumping and exploding are your only two abilities, but of course, these are then combined with explosive barrels, and, new for the sequel, trampolines and zip-lines. Zip lines are a fun new feature that behave just like you'd expect they would, but they add even further to the game's signature sense of flow, as now you're quite literally gliding from one jump to the next.
While Splosion Man was quite the character, and he had some funny things to say, he didn't have too many actual lines, so the majority of his charm came by way of his body language and animations. Well, Ms. Splosion Man has the luxury of not only having an equally hilarious character design, but she also has tons of one-liners (oddly enough, she makes a ton of references to a ton of pop songs from the 90s through to today). Another minor difference is that instead of cake, Ms. Splosion Man is obsessed with shoes, and there are pairs hidden through each level for her to seek out.
One of the big new features is the new Super Mario Bros. inspired game world map. From here, you can see all of the stages and worlds, and you freely jump to any of them at any time. The more challenging levels are marked with skull and crossbones, which was the dev's way of making sure more casual players weren't caught off guard by the game's steep difficulty curve. Each level also now features multiple paths to get to the finish. So if you're a hardcore player, and you feel like trying to pull off nothing but the craziest moves, you'll find the hard exit. If you want to just jump around and have a fun, more laid back time, then you'll be lead to the normal exit.
Mutiplayer will be returning for the sequel as well, but we won't be seeing anything about that until PAX, so check back then for more. In the meantime, Splosion Man fans, and anyone who digs hilarious, fast-paced platforming with buttery controls, should definitely keep a close eye on this one. If for no other reason than the myriad of Arnold Schwarzenegger references it contains. Just in our 30-minute session, we saw three. Who knows what glorious bounty awaits us in the full game!