Ms. Splosion Man

Year: 2011
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Genre: Puzzle
Review Date: 8/25/11
Rating: ***

Just as fun and infuriating as the original "Splosion Man", with some welcome improvements and added variety. After recapturing Splosion Man, the scientists at Big Science Labs unwittingly unleash another creation - a Splosion Woman, complete with pink skin, a big bow, and an obsession with shoes. Ms. Splosion Man must make her way through fifty hazardous levels using only her ability to explode three times in succession. The gameplay and structure are identical to its predecessor, but the areas are more diverse and there is more variety in how you can navigate and solve puzzles. (e.g. trampolines, jet cars, zip lines, warp canisters, and an overweight woman named Mandy that you can use as a shield against lasers)

The majority of the game revolves around getting from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time while avoiding deadly traps and environmental hazards. There are also hidden shoes in each level which provide an extra challenge (similar to the cakes in the original), and some levels have secret exits that unlock optional areas to play through. "The Way Of The Coward" returns, which allows you to skip to the next checkpoint if you're having a really hard time and dying a lot. To bear this shame, Ms. Splosion Man sports a gigantic ass accompanied by a hilariously rude theme song. Much like the first game, there were 2-3 levels that I simply could not complete and I had to resort to this method to make progress. I applaud the system, which allowed me to finish the game rather than abandon it half-way through.

There's no story to speak of until the final boss fight when we learn that Splosion Man is being forced to marry another hideous abomination from the lab. Apparently Ms. Splosion Man has feelings for her counterpart, as she decides to duke it out with his would-be suitor in order to free him from captivity. This showdown is a strange and silly homage to "Punch Out", but thankfully it's much easier than the other boss fights. Finishing the game unlocks a "hardcore" mode for those who are truly masochistic, as well as some bonus production material in the virtual shopping mall.

"Ms. Splosion Man" is an improvement over the original on nearly every front, except for the character herself. Her inane Madonna and Gwen Stefani inspired quips are immediately grating, and not nearly as endearing as Splosion Man's incoherent babbling and maniacal giggling. Fortunately you can turn her voice off, but that removes all personality from the game. One of the more curious elements is the ESRB rating which states there is "drug reference" in the game. Huh? I have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, unless they're referring to the bottle of champagne that's responsible for Ms. Splosion Man's creation. Very strange. It's definitely a fun and furious "love it or hate it" puzzle game with enough hooks and variety to keep you coming back for more abuse.