Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Lately, it seems that titles released on PSN have been borrowing elements from other games and trying to give them their own spin on things. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. One game that borrows a particular element from another is Curve Studios’ side-scroller Explodemon. This 2.5 dimension action, platform and puzzler tries its best to be creative with its blatant homage to Japanese action games of the 80s and 90s, but ends up being one game that only a small group of people will enjoy from start to finish.
You are Explodemon, a bumbling superhero who is accidentally awoken from his cryogenic sleep and tasked with saving the galaxy from the evil Vortex invasion and his arch-nemesis, Absorbemon. In order to do this, Explodemon must traverse through various planets and environments, defeating the oncoming Vortex forces and preventing Absorbemon from getting away.
Levels are fairly large, offering various branching points and all require you to do a number of different things in order to advance. While this is clearly a platformer, most of your time is actually spent fighting various foes with your namesake exploding ability and solving puzzles, most of which coincidentially also require the use of explosions to complete. As expected, Explodemon’s knack for explosions plays an important role in the game, so much so that he will automatically self-destruct after a period of inactivity. This mechanic can be both an enjoyable part of the game and a really annoy crutch.
With so much of the game relying on our hero’s blasting nature, it can cause frustration since its mechanics are often context sensitive. If you’re moving in a straight line from left-to-right, then the explosion acts a boost, moving Explodemon quickly across the screen. Other times, such as jumping, rather than getting a massive boost when you explode, the assist is actually not that significant. What hurts it even more so is that Explodemon, in most cases, needs to recharge after each explosion, so chaining them only occurs in certain situations, such as when engaging enemies. If timed properly, you can re-tap your explosion button to dish out combos. Unfortunately, this only happens at specific times and requires a marker to pop on the screen that signifies a combo is possible. It’s never a certainty a combo option will be available, so paying close attention is key.
As I said, Explodemon borrows a lot from Japanese games from the 80s and 90s, notably in a number of key areas. For starters, the dialogue is very Japanese in its delivery. I didn’t notice any grammatical mistakes, but the awkward diction and delivery, while it can be funny, will only appeal to a small audience. Even the graphic style is reminiscent of those in the genre; Explodemon himself looks like the designers borrowed Mega Man’s style and tweaked it a bit. Another element it copies is the ridiculous and poorly played-out boss battles.
You will square off with your key foe, Absorbemon, many times and each encounter introduces another head scratching element that puts you at a massive disadvantage. In one particular meeting, you must aim missiles in order to hit him; since he jumps around so often and quickly, it requires both patience and an incredible aim to get a hit. Even when you do manage to strike him, it take a few before he opens up for an explosion attack. While you may be able to reduce his strength in one attack, he also has the ability to absorb your health and recharge back to full strength. Thus cheap frustration ensues.
Boss battles such as this also show off another problem with the game. After completing the first third, Explodemon earns the ability to aim projectiles that come his way. Although you get to aim, this mechanic is all over the place with its execution. There will be puzzles that require you to aim and explode colored blocks into specific slots. When attempting this part, the projected path of the blocks is very sensitive and the actual path is never identical to what it shows at first. Because of this, more time is spent just aiming in a general direction and hoping for success rather than hitting the target on your first try.
Explodemon tries its best to bring back fond memories of games that are nearly twenty-five years old, but its geared towards such a niche audience that most gamers will be hard pressed at finding any long-term enjoyment.
+ Some humor in its dialogue
+ Simple controls...
- Although interesting presentation, too many aspects are borrowed from other games
- Really bad boss battles that are longer than they should be and against the same foe
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Release Date : 2011/02/08
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Curve Studios
Developer : Curve Studios
Category : Platformer
ESRB : E
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