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When science goes wrong, things blow up. It’s all part of the cycle of life – at least for ‘Splosion Man. Accidentally spawned from the experimental tinkering of his fellow lab coat-adorned scientists, the titular protagonist of this inventive 2.5D platformer takes psychotic glee in his newfound ability to explode himself at will. His fiery enthusiasm is infectious.
With the powers of detonation at your command, you immediately set off on an explosive rampage through the maze-like scientific compound, uttering spastic gibberish and flailing your limbs the entire the way. Other than basic walking and running movements, self-immolation is your sole means of overcoming every obstacle thrown in your path. The tap of a button makes you explode and sends you flying into the air a short distance. Detonating yourself next to a wall launches you skyward in the opposite direction. Chaining together explosions lets you ping-pong yourself up steep vertical climbs and across long chasms. You can blow up three times in a row before your powers require a few seconds to re-charge, which plays heavily into the puzzle elements that beef-up in later levels.
The extremely simplistic gameplay holds up over time mainly due to the increasingly crazy array of laser turrets, sentry droids, donut-chomping scientists, whirling platforms, spike traps, force fields, explosive barrels, and other dangers thrown at you. As the difficulty increases, you’ll graduate from slow-paced puzzle exploration to intense levels filled with complex strings of traps that require a series of perfectly timed explosions executed in conjunction with other quick maneuvers to survive. Checkpoints are liberally placed to keep the frustration levels to a minimum.
‘Splosion Man’s many humorous moments and generally pleasant silliness counteracts stage design that doesn’t really offer enough visual variety through the game’s 50 levels. Rather than guts and blood spray, scientists you’ve blown up spew neatly-packaged deli meats from their wounds. It’s simply brilliant. Also, dying too many times in a row unlocks the option to take the “Way of the Coward” and immediately skip the next level. Your punishment for wimping out is wearing a pink ballerina tutu until you beat another level. You’ll laugh. You’ll swear. You’ll explode. Twisted Pixel has another downloadable winner on its hands and a compelling reason to blow 800 MS Points.
Jul 29, 2009