Plot: What’s it about?
‘Splosion Man was an immense success, a puzzle platform game that required quick thinking and even quicker reflexes. The game also had a offbeat sense of humor, which made it a little easier to take when you missed a jump by a fraction of an inch (again and again). A sequel seemed to make sense and now Ms. ‘Splosion Man has arrived. Not content to just slap on a pink bow, Twisted Pixel has crafted a game that is superior to the original in all aspects. The core premise remains the same, ‘splode all over the place, avoid traps, and survive to reach the level’s conclusion. But as tricky as ‘Splosion Man was, now there are numerous additions that make success even more of a challenge. You’ll navigate trampolines, zip lines, precarious flying cars, and even more mechanics that have been included. These new elements are familiar to platform players of course, but few times have we had to use them with such split-second precision. And most importantly, the added game mechanics mesh into the experience flawlessly, enhancing what was already an insanely fun ride.
The sense of humor is still here, in fact it is ramped up quite a bit. Ms. ‘Splosion Man is even more talkative and animated than the original. More dialogue, more dances, more cut scenes, and of course, more beards really bring the entertainment value through the roof. Back are separate campaigns for single player and co-op, offering different levels, story, and end sequences. You can once again ‘splode with up to four people, collecting golden shoes instead of cakes this time. As you finish levels, you unlock tokens that allow you to purchase all kinds of bonus content. Avatar awards, videos, concept artwork, still photos, gamer pics, just a wealth of all things Twisted Pixel. As if the game needed more replay incentive, this system really makes you want to go just one more time, to get that next item unlocked. A new mode is also included, Two Girls, One Controller, which lets you control two characters with one controller. I seriously can’t imagine getting much more for your money, as Twisted Pixel has loaded Ms. ‘Splosion Man to the brim and the game itself is one of the Live Arcade’s true triumphs.
Video: How does it look?
The visuals are remarkable, with great attention to detail. The screen is sometimes filled with movement, as bearded science dudes, hover-cars, and the title character flitter about. The animation on Ms. herself is great fun, as she has tons of dances, special walks, and just a general sense of mirth about her that never gets old. The design is on the same wavelength as the original, but the ante has been upped substantially. A colorful, kinetic visual style that is a pleasure to soak in as you repeatedly fall to your death.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is on the same level as the visuals, as again, the attention to detail is impressive. The quirky music really sets the tone for the experience, in addition to the offbeat sound effects that chime in often. But my favorite audio element is our lead character herself, with nearly constant dialogue or vocals of some kind. She’ll tell you not to chase waterfalls, that she’s a hustler, hell she even talks on her cell phone. As often as she vocalizes, she has a deep enough reservoir of lines to keep things as fresh as possible, which is nice.
Supplements: What are the extras?