James Ireland On February - 23 - 2011

The audacity that Twisted Pixel threatened to sue Capcom for a very similar iPhone game to Splosion Man was probably one of the biggest joke news posts of 2010. Why? Well, it was actually Curve Studios whom came up with the exploding platformer idea – so who’s copying who? Explodemon which has finally seen a PSN release has been sitting around waiting for a publisher or funding since 2008 and was a design competition entry. Unfortunately between that time Twisted Pixel got XBLA funding and the rest was history – Explodemon would have to release with the public perception that it was an unoriginal game – despite it held that originality. So how the uninformed general portion of the gaming medium would take to it, god only knows. Either way , there should be a market for it as it’s found itself nestled nicely as a game to offer a Splosion Man experience on the PSN platform.

The big question I would imagine that you would be asking is that can Explodemon live up to the quality bar that Splosion Man offers? The simple answer is, no. Whilst Explodemon feels different in that the timed explosions within the game serve up a slightly different experience, it still manages to feel rudimentary, awkward and if I am honest, quite boring! The game models itself on the 16bit Japanese platformer and the game tries desperately hard to replicate some of this with the blatant spelling mistakes used as a quip to the ‘all your base are belong to us’ moment that became slightly iconic. The opening levels to the game are pretty pain staking too, tutorial messages are littered throughout and any character interaction also acts to either tell you about how to use your powers or just present an unfunny quip about something that is going on in the game world. The story found within the game washes over you like emulsion it’s not even worth thinking about. This sounds like a complete slagfest doesn’t it? I can assure you though that there are several good things about the game that i’ll go onto but let me just clear the air first. You can’t play the game using the D-Pad and you need D-Pad accuracy to avoid frustration with this game, that out and out sucks! It’s also been a few weeks since the game has come out too so it hardly looks like it’ll be patched into the game either. Lastly are the enemies – your fighting the same enemies throughout the game and they are very basic designed aliens that looked to be spawned from snot – least to say the enemies are all green and about as interesting as bogies themselves.

The main premise of the game is to use the exploding properties of Explodemon to traverse, destroy and navigate the landscape until they reach the end level checkpoints, solving puzzle elements which are very much tied to restrictive access areas that need to be tackled by killing a set number of enemies or exploding objects to propel them into areas that would press switches. Annoyingly the game is very much stop and start as certain areas are quarantined from progression until you kill all of the spawned enemies, something that feels like a dirty tactic to increase longevity. The boss fights are more entertaining though if not a little finnicky because of having to use digital analogue, but they show the most creative part of the game.

Whilst the game hasn’t particularly served up too well in competing against Splosion Man, what it has done is find a nice little niche and unique experience on the PSN. Explodemon can be pretty entertaining at times, whether it be exploring the collectables on offer – or finding a new move set that you were not told about by the game. Timing your explosions are key to finding the harder areas of the levels and there is also a nice use of puzzle elements too – if not a little easy and already over used in previous games such as The Undergarden. I hope Explodemon II does get a release, it’s a game that has unfortunately been hit by the torment of not having a release for so many years and has suffered because of it. I spoke personally with Jonathan Biddle at the MCM Expo in 2010 relating to the creation of the game and there is no question of unrivalled passion about the game, we just feel that new game play elements are needed to be added and that the upgrades system with the in-game shop needs more relevance – it would also be nice to see some more interesting environments instead of the futuristic looking buildings throughout a good portion of the game.

Explodemon then is a game for those that enjoyed Splosion Man but can’t get access to an Xbox. It doesn’t have the most enigmatic character and the controls aren’t quite as polished but there is fun to be had here. Anyone whom already has Twisted Pixel’s creation need not apply when picking this game up.

Review

ProsCons
Nice boss fights and the game opens up once you grab the double jump powerup.Extremely repetative, no D-pad function, stop start gameplay,
Rating
60%

Categories: Feature, PS3 Reviews
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