Splosion Man, from the makers of the Maw, combines explosive humor and off-the-wall action. The game boasts both a fairly long single player and a co-op mode for double sploding fun. The question remains: is Splosion Man a gimmick or an explosive platformer? I would say the latter fits Splosion Man, in more ways than one.
Splosion Man works off the premise that you play as a botched experiment escaping his captors by doing the only thing he knows how to do, which is sploding — essentially blowing himself up to reach areas that couldn’t be accessed in a single jump. There are no deep gameplay elements to be found in Splosion Man, the variety is all level based. Splosion Man has only one action, and that is simply splode. Keeping things simple makes Splosion Man fun and addicting, and brings back that “one-more-level” mentality to the platformer genre.
One element that is important to note is that Splosion Man is completely based on timing. A split second can mean the difference between an acidy death or an incredible victory. “By the skin of your teeth” is a term that very accurately describes Splosion Man. There were many memorable moments where I was literally at the very edge of death only to emerge by sploding at the exact second required. This might seem like the game asks too much from its players, and don’t get me wrong, Splosion Man is very difficult at times, but utilizes checkpoints extremely well as to not frustrate players.
While playing Splosion Man, my favorite parts were when I was cruising through the levels as quickly as possible. Throughout the game, there are a few different types of enemies that Splosion Man must face, and unfortunately there’s an enemy in particular that slows the pacing down. It’s slightly irritating when it comes up, forcing you to stop and deflect saw blades back to him three or four times in order to defeat it.
I normally do not mention sound, but Splosion Man deserves a mention for a few reasons. The music is memorable, funny and had me humming a few songs after completion. One track in particular, “Donuts, Go Nuts” is particularly hilarious, and is heard several times throughout the game due to it being tied to a gameplay mechanic involving a fat scientist who loves donuts.
The multiplayer in Splosion Man is unique because each level is specifically designed around it. You and up to four friends online or locally must use each other to splode your way through the levels. The biggest problem comes in the form of lag when attempting to play the game online. About halfway through many levels the lag becomes unbearable to the point of unplayability. It’s unfortunate, because it’s very fun when lag is not present.
In the end, Splosion Man is a very fun game. For the small price of $10 (800 MSP), no one should pass on Splosion Man. The levels are varied, fun, and addicting and will keep you coming back for more. Online play should be avoided unless it’s patched, but it’s not much of a detriment because the solo play is so awesome. Splosion Man is not only one of the most fun Xbox Live Arcade games, but one of the most fun Xbox 360 games I’ve played this year.