For a sub-genre that never really existed before a few years ago, explosion platformers have really taken off. Between ‘Splosion Man, MaXplosion, and the recent Explodemon!, there are more than enough excuses to get out there and start blowing stuff up.
At first glance, it would seem like Explodemon! is trying to capitalize on ‘Splosion Man’s success. However, most people aren’t aware that Explodemon was actually in development years before ‘Splosion Man was ever announced. Because of this misconception, I’m sure it will get some undeserved flak: which is a shame, because it’s a pretty fine game, and actually quite different in concept.
Much to a Mega Man fan’s delight, Explodemon! has Mega Man X written all over it. In the distant future, on a metropolis heavy planet, an alien race threatens the destruction of the capital, and only one robot can stop it. No, not Mega Man – Explodemon! Much unlike the blue bomber 2.0, Explodemon was sealed away in a stasis chamber due to a mass destruction spree. It’s not his fault of course, as he’s only trying to be heroic: he just can’t help it!
If you like quirky characters, you’re going to love the game’s presentation. Explodemon loves instant noodles, saving innocent citizens when they don’t need to be saved, and of course, blowing stuff up. Often times this won’t sit well with the various NPCs you’ll find throughout the game – nothing substantial ever comes from these conversations except to make you chuckle on occasion. The story does not contain any spoken dialogue (or even gibberish), but instead is presented in a comic book type fashion, which helps add to the charm.
If you’ve ever played an old-school platformer, you might find some familiar elements throughout Explodemon!’s gameplay. Remember those collectible flowers in Yoshi’s Island you’d keep going back for? Explodemon! features collectible Explodicons in each level to go and hunt for, if you’re so inclined. Remember those end of level mini-games from Donkey Kong Country, and Super Mario Land? Curve Studios included that little nuance as well. The more you play, the more it becomes incredibly apparent that creator Curve Studios really has immersed itself in the history of classic platformers, which really adds to the experience as a whole.
Explodemon himself moves and jumps around like any other 2D hero out there, except for the fact that he can use a single button to explode for higher jumps, and attack enemies. You’re allowed one explosion before your 3-5 second timer has to reset. As you progress through the game, you’ll gain a few abilities such as a double jump and aiming apparatus, in addition to cash you can spend on some smaller upgrades, like more damage or a higher damage threshold. Another very cool detailed addition is the fact that Explodemon is in a volatile state, and needs to constantly eject some explosive energy every so often. If you aren’t exploding all over the place, Explodemon will do it for you, so be sure and cut loose!
Everything gameplay wise is excellent, except for the surprising lack of d-pad support. For some reason, Curve Studios forces you to control the action with the analog stick: considering the obvious old school feel of the game, a lot of hardcore fans will no doubt demand use of the d-pad. I can only hope that this gets patched at some point.
However, the level and enemy designs never seem to match the quality of the gameplay. Just like Sonic, the game is divided into three “acts” that feature four levels apiece. Unfortunately, most of the level sets within the act feel very similar to one another, and there are only a handful of (uninteresting) bug enemies in the game. Considering how unique Explodemon and his arch-nemesis Absorbemon are, it’s a tad disappointing to see that the same effort wasn’t put into the game’s minions or stages.
Similar to most classic platformers, Explodemon! is short. There are only twelve levels, which take around ten minutes each to beat (less if you’re speed running and ignoring the secrets). While this was the industry norm for platformers out there, games like Super Meat Boy have gone above and beyond to make sure there are myriads of secret bonus worlds and extra characters: so it’s a shame to see a missed opportunity here.
If you’re thinking about purchasing Explodemon!, you basically need to ask yourself if you enjoy the platforming genre at a basic level. If you do, it might be a new classic in your yearly speed run repertoire. If you don’t, do some looking around before you buy it, because other than a heap of oddball charm, it doesn’t really stray from normal genre conventions.
Some of Explodemon!'s enemy designs aren't all that original, but overall the game has a unique feel, and a hilarious presentation.
|How does our scoring system work?|
Blasting around is really fun (and easy to do), but the level designs don't really offer that much variation. D-Pad support also NEEDS to be patched in at some point.
Explodemon's soundtrack is almost worthy of Mega Man fame, and the sound effects themselves are crystal clear.
While the game is a blast (!), Explodemon!'s 12 stages don't last long, and there really isn't much to do after completion unless you're a speed run junkie.
Explodemon! is a must own for old-school platforming fans, but anyone else should do a bit of research for they drop their hard earned cash on it.