This action-platformer is the sequel to Microsoft's choice for Best Original XBLA Game of 2009, 'Splosion Man. The events of this game take place immediately after the first: At the Big Science party celebrating the capture of 'Splosion Man, Ms. 'Splosion Man emerges after champagne is spilled and shorts out some machinery. A brief prologue kick-starts the explosive platforming action that's very similar to the original 'Splosion Man, with gamers using this new title's self-combustible female star (is she 'Splosion Man's wife? Sister? Daughter?) and some new gameplay elements to complete levels. Aside from 50 single-player stages, Ms. 'Splosion Man also offers 50 co-op levels, gamer pics, avatar accessories, unlockables, and ghost replays.
Much like its predecessor, Ms. 'Splosion Man offers great platforming fun. Using explosions to bounce off of surfaces and manipulate environments gives the game a retro feel, but its execution is completely modern. The in-game action is just as enjoyable as 'Splosion Man fans would hope for, but some new unexpected elements (trampolines, quick time events, etc.) also pop up to keep gameplay fresh.
The game's presentation is first rate. The graphics are bright, colourful and show great attention to detail. If you're not careful, you'll miss some goofy things going on in the background. The audio -- from music to voice over to sound effects -- has been created with care, and really enhances the gameplay.
The most enjoyable aspect of Ms. 'Splosion Man, however, is its sense of humour. There are sight gags galore (enemies being blown up and turning into steaks or skeletons, the occasional scientist being blasted at gamers like a creature from Piranha 3D) but most of the laughs come from what Ms. 'Splosion Man says. You'll hear more random pop culture references in this game than you'd ever hear in any Dennis Miller rant. I heard song lyrics ("Take My Breath Away" by Berlin, "Vogue" from Madonna, and even "Whip My Hair" from Willow Smith), lines from movies (I won't ruin it for you, but Dirty Dancing, When Harry Met Sally, and Princess Bride are just a few flicks represented) and even popular TV show catch phrases.
Ms. 'Splosion Man is certainly one of the funniest video game characters I've seen in some time, and with her strong "girl power" slant, she comes across as equal parts Gloria Steinem and Chelsea Handler. I enjoyed Ms. Splosion Man's dialogue so much that I turned up her voice in the Settings menu to better catch her frequent one-liners -- if I hadn't, I might have missed her singing a verse from Kelis' "Milkshake."
I honestly can't think of too much that I didn't like about this title. Even the in-game "Mall" marketplace where gamers "buy" content with tokens earned by playing the game, while clichéd for the shoe-loving Ms. 'Splosion Man, had a ton of great content to choose from, from concept art to videos and more. It was a blast to fiddle around with.
There's always something to keep Ms. 'Splosion Man bounding around and exploding in her environment, too. The single-player campaign lasts a robust 8-12 hours. Throw in 50 co-op levels, which can be played locally or online, the ability to race against the ghosts of top gamers on the Score and Time leaderboards, and the challenging 2 Girls, 1 Controller mode (where one player controls two 'Splosion girls simultaneously with the same controller) and gamers will rarely find themselves wanting.