Monday, August 29, 2011

Backlog Assault: 'Splosion Man

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains:

Title: 'Splosion Man
Platform: XBLA

Bought: 26 November 2010
From: Xbox Live Arcade
Price: 160 points
Beaten: 14 July 2010

Backloggery Dump:
  • 20/06/11 - I'm up to level 3-10 now. Really enjoying it so far.
  • 21/06/11 - Beat the last nine levels tonight. Cool game, bosses were a bit annoying though.

A really solid, lengthy platformer, so much so that I feel slightly guilty for having paid so little for it. :D In it, you play as the titular 'Splosion Man, a mass of burning embers, whose only ability is to explode, which allows him to jump, bounce off walls and kill enemies. You can only explode three times in a row before needing to recharge though.This limitation, along with the rather excellent level design calls for some satisfyingly high-level platforming skill and ingenuity  to get through the game's fifty or so levels. The game does get quite difficult as you get further into it, but the levels are pretty well-checkpointed and deaths rarely feel unfair, which both help to keep frustration to a minimum.

On the other end of the rage-o-meter though are the handful of boss battles you run into at the end of each set of levels. The zoomed-out camera and the dark surroundings during these stages make it pretty hard to keep track of where you are, making it harder to avoid getting hit boss patterns you've yet to learn.Get hit once and you die, forcing you to replay the boss fight from the start - not fun, especially when you're doing it for the tenth or twelfth time.

Boss battles aside, the only other thing that really didn't do it for me here, despite how much it's been talked up, was the game's humour. Maybe I didn't give it a fair chance, but the bibble coming from both Splosion Man and the bosses immediately turned me off and It wasn't long until I headed to the options menu and issued gagging orders all round. The ending FMV and the credits songs are the parts that seem to draw the most praise though and frankly, all that stuff had me staring blankly at the screen and thinking "that's it?"; Tastes differ I guess. None of that stopped me from enjoying the game itself though, which I did quite a lot.

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