Ms. 'Splosion Man

Common Sense Media says

Fun but challenging side-scroller with moderate violence.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The light-hearted narrative tells a fluffy, funny tale about science run amok and scientists getting their comeuppance, but it furthers a few unflattering female stereotypes along the way.

Positive role models

Though powerful, the lead character is flighty, uses nothing but girlish zingers and pop song quotes for communication, and has an obsession with shoes and shopping. If the player chooses to skip to the next checkpoint Ms. 'Splosion Man will experience “the curse,” meaning her hips and buttocks will suddenly inflate.  

Ease of play

Though the concept is extremely simple -- the left stick moves Ms. ‘Splosion Man left and right, and an action button causes her to explode and take off into the air -- some levels can be extremely challenging. Failure is the rule, not the exception. After several failures in a row, players can skip to the next checkpoint if they like, though the game will punish them by reducing points and rewards and stating multiple times that they are cheating.

Violence

Players can explode Ms. 'Splosion Man over and over again. This doesn’t kill her, but instead just leaves her a bit crispy. However, if she explodes near scientists, they will die, violently transitioning into cartoonish sausages, hams, and various cuts of cooked meat. Some briefly take the form of skeletons before disappearing. There is no blood.

Sex

Ms. 'Splosion Man frequently quotes pop songs, belting out mildly sexual lyrics such as “like a virgin” at random. Some of the game’s songs also sport mildly suggestive words and phrases, including “thighs,” “rump,” and “big mounds.” Ms. ‘Splosion Man can take possession of a female scientist with large, torpedo-like breasts hidden under her coat. 

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The phrase “heroin junkie” is heard in a tutorial video.

Privacy & safety

Some safety concerns: The game supports open online communication in multiplayer games so players could hear unwanted language and questions.

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. 

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Price:$15
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Twisted Pixel Games
Release date:July 13, 2011
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Superheroes
ESRB rating:T for Cartoon Violence, Drug Reference, Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes (Xbox 360)

This review of Ms. 'Splosion Man was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byBlendercat August 18, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

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