The Average Gamer

Ms. Splosion Man Review (XBLA)

If my thumbs could talk, they would probably speak of all the terrible things I have put them through. At the top of their list of lies would be 2 games in particular, Team Meat’s dastardly Super Meat Boy and the rather manic Splosion Man from Twisted Pixel. Twisted Pixel recently released their follow-up to the addictive assault that was Splosion Man and my thumbs cried metaphorical tears.

The game is set in a world seemingly ruled over by BIG Science, an aptly named science corporation with seemingly bad luck when it comes to keeping experiments restrained. Ms Splosion Man is one such experiment. Created deep in the labs of BIG Science Ms. Splosion Man escapes during a celebratory mishap and rampages through BIG Science like a woman on a mission.

If you think of platform games as long boring treks through levels with scarce checkpoints and more frustration than fun then you would be half right thinking the same of Ms Splosion Man. Whilst all the platform staples are there – spacious checkpoints, moving platforms, rising lava in the form of various gels and a horde of obstacles – Ms. Splosion Man adds a touch of… well, ‘splosion to the menu.

Mr and Ms. Splosion Man are, despite being different experiments, highly explosive. You need to ‘splode off a surface in place of a traditional jump. In turn, this allows you fling yourself from wall to wall until you reach your destination. Of course the ability to ‘splode infinitely would be too kind to the noble gamer attempting to master this title. Twisted Pixel has imposed a limit on ‘splodes; 3 in succession is all you get. After that you are forced to wait out a 3 second recharge or run through one of the many boost points scattered around.

This is where my thumbs come in. ‘Sploding is initiated by pressing any of the 4 face buttons (X,A,B,Y) and after a few levels your thumbs will be feeling the pain as you are ‘sploding constantly! Levels gradually get more difficult as you would expect and are generally a nice mix between twitch reactions, puzzles and perfect timing. Boss fights lie in wait at the end of each world so as not to miss out on the fun. Strangely Boss fights can be skipped using the cheat option that becomes available if you die too often. Skipping is great but do you really want to risk the Curse?

Don’t worry there isn’t really a major Curse for skipping boss fights. From what I have seen it just alters your final times and adds the word CHEAT in dominating red letters across the end level screen.

Check out the launch video here for a peek at what I’m talking about:

Of course no platformer would be complete without collectibles. Each level houses a fiendishly evasive pair of shoes to add to your collection. Throw in the multiple level exits and goal times for level completion and you have a recipe for addictive re-playability. As usual Twisted Pixel have pulled off some excellent sound design with a great soundtrack available to download (head to downloads to nab your gooodies) and a gem of a pause menu which leaves you hungry for doughnuts. Just trust me on this.

I really can’t fault a game like this. Twisted Pixel have taken the hyper-simple platform base of Splosion Man and made it smoother, faster and even more fun. If you like fast-paced and considerably vexing platform games then Ms. Splosion Man is definitely worth a purchase and if it doesn’t burn your thumbs off first, it will keep you coming back for more.

Splosion Man and Ms. Splosion Man are both available now on XBLA for 800 Microsoft point (about £5.70 if you buy 2100 points from


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