What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ms. Splosion Man is a downloadable side-scrolling platformer available only through Xbox Live Arcade; and that it has moderate violence and mild sexual themes. Players control a bright pink sentient female science experiment that can “explode” herself without dying. However, her explosions prove lethal to evil scientists, transforming them into cartoonish cuts of meat should she happen detonate in close proximity to them. Also, the game’s hero exhibits some stereotypical female personality traits, including an obsession with shopping and a generally flighty personality, though these characteristics are clearly meant to be humorous. Note that this game supports open online communication in multiplayer games, a feature that Common Sense Media does not recommend to pre-teens.
What's it about?
The scientists who invented 'Splosion Man have created a match for him in MS. 'SPLOSION MAN, a sequel to the 2009 Xbox Live Arcade hit that stars a bright pink, highly explosive female protagonist. Players take control of this bubbly science experiment as she charges through flat environments, exploding herself to shoot into the air and turn any unlucky white-coated villains who happen to be nearby into sausages and hams. She can also grind rails, leap between flying cars, and even enter and possess the body of a portly scientist to make her way past deadly turrets. Players can take the game online in a multiplayer mode for up to four people and use the points they’ve earned to unlock dozens of goodies, including an additional play mode.
Is it any good?
Ms. 'Splosion Man offers terrific value for a downloadable game, including several hours worth of original levels and scads of fun little extras (a video featuring a pair of bearded programmers in mildly come-hither poses is a particularly humorous treat). The explosive platforming shenanigans remain just as compelling as they were in the original 'Splosion Man, and new abilities help keep things fresh -- like being able to jump into the body of a waddling scientist named Mandy, which will cue up an amusing little 50s-style background ballad.
Our only beef is difficulty. Players will frequently encounter obstacles that demand impeccable timing, and it doesn’t take long for Ms. 'Splosion Man’s failures to outnumber her successes by an enormous margin. Checkpoints are frequent, it takes only a second or so to restart, and you can skip forward to the next checkpoint if you’re really struggling, but these aids do little to mitigate the frustration of not being able to pull off the right explosions at the right time. It can still be great fun, but patience and perseverance are mandatory.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about female characters in games. Can you think of any examples of strong female protagonists that display no overtly sexual or stereotypically female characteristics?
Families can also discuss violence in games. In this game, scientists get blown up and transformed into cartoonish sausages and hams. How is this different than games in which characters bleed or are dismembered?