PAX East 11: Hands-On with Ms. ‘Splosion Man
One of my favorite downloadable titles ever was Twisted Pixel’s likable outing ‘Splosion Man. Whether you believe it or not, this title was developed in six months; they were definitely on a strict deadline at the time. This time around, they had more time on their hands to work and perfect a new title based on the ‘Splosion Man franchise, and they decided to switch up the character a bit, and focus on Ms. ‘Splosion Man.
I got some hands-on time with the title at PAX East and I wasn’t disappointed. The important thing to remember here is that there wasn’t really anything wrong with ‘Splosion Man‘s game play, therefore I got a very solid sensation of “been there, done that”, but it wasn’t a bad feeling in any way. It felt very comfortable to someone who has played the first game.
What they did add in this time around, however, are more devices that can be thrown into the level design mix, making things more interesting and a bit faster paced, it seems. Two of the devices I came into contact with while I played through the first couple levels were zip lines and Donkey Kong Country-like shooting mechanics.
Zip lines were pretty simple. you either jump on them or shoot yourself onto them in some manner, then just ride it to the end. Naturally, at the end, there’s a high probability you’ll have to explode yourself to make another jump into, onto or through something, but they do contribute to making the levels seem to have a more rushed, faster feel to them, which I enjoyed.
The “barrel mechanic”, like you find in Donkey Kong Country, was in play here too, except they were just arrows that Ms. ‘Splosion Man hung out on. Some of these arrows moved by themselves, and you had to wait for it to get into the right position to shoot yourself off. Others were controlled by the player and you could spend your time aiming it in the right direction.
The whole feel of the game play was very familiar, like I mentioned, but there’s an old addage that says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? Ms. ‘Splosion Man seems for sure to be another hit by the guys from Twisted Pixel, not because of it’s innovation, but because it’s more of the quirky platforming and thought-provoking puzzle mayhem that we enjoyed so much from the first title. It’s due to release later this year on the XBLA.