XBLA Review: ‘Splosion Man

Without any irony, this game is a blast to play…

Splosion Man is one of those rare games that challenges you to the point of madness, yet still manages to keep you entertained and determined to see it through to the end. It’s a crazy game and one that I can see myself playing for quite some time…
You obviously play as Splosion Man, a creature on fire which has only one function…to explode. But instead of just being a massacre against a bunch of scientists, the game is a platformer on acid. Splosion Man can trigger 3 explosions in a row to propel him over objects and obstacles that will get in his way. The game starts out quite easy, but then it gets incredibly difficult over the 50 levels. One thing is certain with Splosion Man, you will die a lot…sometimes cheaply, sometimes deservingly, but each time will make you more determined to finish the game.

Splosion Man is funny and insane. I love it when you pick up a fat scientist and this mad song starts playing about donuts, it’s kinda catchy. There’s also a few moments where you activate switches which kill scientists, but the game slows down and does a Kill Bill moment with the Ironside music, it’s classic.

Alongside the insane single player is a very good multiplayer which also contains 50 levels and 47 pieces of cake to hunt down. Cake is the hidden object in each campaign with both having 47 to find, they aren’t always easy to get either. It’s great value for money and the achievements will take you quite some time to do. One tough achievement is to make it through a level without blowing any scientists up. It requires precision timing between explosions so you don’t accidently kill them…it took me ages.
The hardest achievement I can see is completing the game in Hardcore mode as all enemies can kill you in one hit and if you die in anyway, you have to restart the level from the start. No checkpoints! Checkpoints are the saviour of Splosion Man, otherwise I might have gone insane…so that achievement may end up putting me in an asylum.

Twisted Pixel have a good sense of humour with some of the achievement names. Collecting all 47 cakes in single player is called Not a Portal Reference. Get Over Yourselves is earned by watching the credits for the game and Lay Off the Caffeine unlocks by exploding 300 times in one level.

The visual style for Splosion Man is cartoony, yet it’s not afraid to be a bit brutal with exploding scientists and turning them into filets, sausages and other meaty products. It’s typical but hilarious nonetheless. The music is catchy, but the voice work for Splosion Man can be kind of annoying at times. It’s perhaps the only downside to what is an amazingly addictive game.

The Verdict

Splosion Man is a treasure chest of value for an XBLA game. It has 50 single player levels and 50 multiplayer levels, 94 collectables and a rock hard mode which will test your sanity. It’s a crazy game, it’s challenging beyond belief and is brilliant in every way. It’s a must-buy, no question.