Every now and then something comes along that shines brightly and separates itself from the rest of the pack. Whether it be a Blockbuster movie, New York Times bestseller or Twisted Pixel’s ’Splosion Man. This game is something that should not be missed.
At first glance, I didn’t give ’Splosion Man much thought. Curiosity, however, got the better of me and I downloaded the trial from Xbox Live Marketplace. I just had to see what that goofy title was all about. In less than a minute, I realized that I had my hands on a real gem. I finished the level I was on, paused the game and immediately dialed a good friend to rave about what I had just discovered. I was in a trance — a state of platformer euphoria if you will.
’Splosion Man was created in a laboratory by bumbling scientists and is attempting to break free. This task, however, will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. The laboratory is full of robots, traps, pitfalls, etc. that are designed to keep ‘Splosion Man from ever seeing the light of day. Alas, your love for gaming, technical prowess and ‘Splosion Man’s uber tight controls will assure your inevitable success.
‘Splosion Man is armed with three jumps or ‘splodes. You can perform these three ‘splodes by pushing the A, X, Y or B button on the controller. It doesn’t get much simpler than that, which allows for ’Splosion Man to be an immediate pick-up-and-play game. The learning curve is very short on this one.
The single-player campaign offers up a whopping 50 levels for you to sink your teeth into. They start off basic, allowing you to build up your chops and end in some of the most grueling platforming you’ve ever played. Well-placed checkpoints assist in keeping you sane along your journey, and by the time you’ve reached the later levels, you’ll notice a vast improvement in your gaming skills. Along your journey, you will most certainly become a better gamer and likely be amazed at the stunts you are pulling off. *Insert your current occupation here by day*, well-oiled machine by night!
Completion of the single-player campaign offers up a new challenge: the addition of “Hardcore Mode.” Hardcore Mode offers the same 50 single-player levels with a couple caveats. Enemies will now kill you with one shot, and those cherished checkpoints are removed. For me, the decision to start this mode wasn’t difficult. I enjoyed the game so much, I gave this mode a chance and if I started destroying things around my house, I would simply stop, right? What I learned in Hardcore Mode was that it was simply a test of patience. I had already completed the levels, just not in one swoop. So … the only additional resources I required were patience and a firm recollection of that level. If you enjoyed the game, I highly recommend starting this mode. The bragging rights alone are well worth your time.
Next order of business are the hidden cakes within the levels. Some cakes are hidden quite well while others are right out in the open. There is a slight twist here from your usual hidden collectible hunting. Locating these hidden cakes is one thing while obtaining them is another. Some are placed in highly dangerous locations and some sit in areas that will leave you scratching your noggin questioning how you’re expected to get there.
Now, as if that wasn’t enough, there are 50 completely different co-op levels to complete with a friend or friends. These co-op levels support 2-4 additional comrades. These levels don’t just add additional friends to the mix. They require your cooperation in order for your success. If you lack the words “team player” on your resume, you will certainly be using this new skill if you intend on conquering all 50 levels. It is virtually impossible to advance by your lonesome. This style of co-op adds for some extremely gratifying experiences, camaraderie, high fives, jumping up and down, hugging, jumping up and down while hugging. I think you get the gist. Oh, and the co-op levels contain the infamous hidden cakes as well.
As if this weren’t enough, Twisted Pixel has thrown in Gamerpics, a Dashboard Theme and Avatar accessories at no additional cost. These are all included in the price of the game.
’Splosion Man offers up some great gaming for the serious gamer, the casual gamer and for the younger gamer in training. There is something for everyone here, and I assure you that you will not be disappointed.
This platforming masterpiece can be yours on Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 MS Points ($10.00), which you can immediately add to your journal as some of the best money you have ever spent. I assure you, there will be no buyer remorse here.