Twisted Pixel's latest effort is a follow up to the much loved arcade game 'Splosion man.
For those of you who have not played the first one it was renown for being addictive and frustrating in equal measure, the latest instalment takes this up a notch in every way possible. Think 'Splosion man on steroids, or perhaps I should say Botox.
The story this time around is that the scientists are celebrating having finally captured 'Splosion man, and amidst the euphoria some champagne is accidentally spilled on an electrical device, which somehow leads to the creation of Ms. 'Splosion man, although I fear her beauty belies her true nature. To my understanding her goal is to try and rescue 'Splosion man, and casually commit mass genocide along the way. So the story's not going to win any awards but in its defence this is not the type of game you play for the story any way; and to reinforce that defence there are some amusing cut scenes, and what has to be one of the most enjoyable boss battles and endings I've ever witnessed in a game.
As for the mechanics it plays very similar to the first one, you still get around by utilizing your rechargeable three 'splode function. Most of the contraptions and enemies make a return, however a bunch of new ones have been added, such as a zip-line, rocket car, the doughnut man's counterpart, Mandy, and Wilfred (an old guy in a wheelchair). They are all a welcome addition as it leads to a more diverse gaming experience. Just keep in mind that the more components you put in a game the more complex it can become. And this will reflect in the difficulty, with this game being more challenging than its predecessor, which was difficult to begin with.
Also there seems to be a greater emphasis on timing, which further adds to the games difficulty in my opinion. These factors combined will likely lead to a great deal of frustration for most gamers, with many deaths and subsequent retries taking place to pass some of the trickier sections of the game. However the checkpoint system does make it a little easier, and is necessary considering the trial and error nature of the game. The key to progressing in this game is memorizing the level, and finding out the most consistent way to make it past the more difficult sections.
There are some things that will help you in your arduous struggle. The graphics are slightly more polished than the previous game and for an arcade title are up there with the best. Also there is a noticeable change of scenery between the three different world's, instead of the same regurgitated and depressing factory levels throughout the whole game.
The music is catchy and suits the game well, and in times of controller throwing rage you can pause the game to listen to the therapeutic doughnut song. Ms. 'Splosion man's dialogue is likely to keep you entertained as well, with several humorous references to films and music, if however this is not to your taste you can shut her up if you so desire via the options menu.
If none of this is enough to keep you hanging in there then the satisfaction this game has to offer might just keep your interest. It is incredibly rewarding to finally clear a checkpoint that has been tearing you a new one, and in doing so the sense of accomplishment should outweigh the frustration.
The game has been given a new mini map to make it easier to navigate the levels, and to highlight certain features. The single player portion still consists of three different worlds each with its own boss, and there are again precariously placed collectibles to find in each level, this time in the form of shoes. The mini map helps in highlighting certain features, with more difficult levels appearing in red, and hidden levels appearing in gold. To get to the hidden levels you must find a secret exit in a certain level, these are often very difficult to find, but at least you will know the levels that contain the secret exits as they are marked with a ? on your mini map. There are 50 single player levels in total.
Now on to the multiplayer. Which contains 50 levels also that are completely different from the single player portion of the game. Again they are separated into three different worlds, and there are secret exits that lead to hidden levels, and countless footwear to be collected, however there are no boss fights in the multiplayer. If single player isn't sadistic enough for your liking, then you can share the pain with your friends in 2 - 4 player local or online co-op. A lot of effort has been put in to make the multiplayer a unique experience, with the levels being tailor made to require teamwork in order to progress.As far as the online play is considered, there is a bit of lag, but not so much that it will stop you from playing it, just enough to blame any screw up you make on it
and with practice it can be compensated for.
If you have no friends who play this game, have no friends in general, or your friends hamsters are having to work overtime to maintain a decent connection, then there is the unlockable 2 girls 1 controller mode. Although it must be said that this is for masochists only, to say that it is difficult to control 2 Ms. 'Splosion men with 1 controller is a massive understatement. Although it is a great novelty for anyone who plays the game.
The achievements in this game are a mixed bag and are very similar to the last game. There's a few easy ones, a time consuming one, and the rest range from moderately difficult to very difficult, definitely not an easy 200.
The game now offers ghost replays off of the leaderboards for you to try and mimic the best. And with par times shown at the end of every level it spurs you on to do levels faster, and get competitive with your friends. There are also a whole host of unlockables that can be earned throughout the game such as gamer pictures, themes, and avatar items. Add to that 50 single player levels, 50 multiplayer levels, and a plethora of collectibles, and you are left with a game that is oozing with replay value, and for only 800 MSP it is an absolute bargain.
In summary this is a difficult but rewarding platformer that will keep you entertained for many hours with its addictive gameplay. It has improved on the first one in nearly every way. Definitely one of the best arcade games out there and a must buy for any fans of the first one.