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Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension [PS3]





Awesome graphics that interact weird Dumb jokes but good voice acting And puzzles that don't give you a headache!

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Mixed reactions"

Summary

Pros:
1. Beautiful coloring
2. Excellent artistry
3. Puzzles that aren't too complicated or way too simple
4. Plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to modern day
5. A 'Save Game' feature which allows you to save with one click
6. A 'Load Game' feature which doesn't force you to scroll to the end of the line for your last saved game, since the most recently saved game is first in line
7. Interesting cut-scenes
8. Separate adjustable volume levels for music, voices, and atmosphere
11. Almost no puzzles where one must hit the right sequence at the exact right time. This is great for those of us with no rhythm or those who are terrible at timing things. The one I recall, actually just involves one click at the right time and the character keeps trying until she gets it so a few minutes of persistence was all that was necessary. (and perhaps a hint from a walkthrough)
11. An overall fun game to play!


Cons:
1. Jokes are constant but tend to fall short of being funny.
2. Load time between scenes isn't too long but juuuuust long enough to be the tiniest bit annoying.
3. Characters' lines can overlap, making conversations sound strange. Also, when this happens, the subtitles will also overlap, making them difficult to read.
4. Sometimes, the characters or objects they interact with will be placed wrong. Such as, when the bat, Froderick, (not Fredrick), is supposed to be sitting on Mona's shoulder, at one point in the game, he is about a foot behind her, hovering in the air, though still clearly sitting and interacting. This doesn't -seem- hurt the game but it's annoying.
5. Character physical reactions and interactions don't often seem to be appropriate or sync up quite right. Object usage can also look unnatural in how something flows or moves.
6. When characters are interacting with other characters or objects, several times the scene will freeze for a few seconds but the scene continues on in the game and in the voice-acting. When the scene unfreezes, it may have skipped ahead to catch up. This also happened at least once to me in the cut-scenes.
7. Sometimes, the game would freeze without warning for a few seconds and I would worry that it'd crash.
8. It is tedious to have four choices of interaction available at all times and to have to click on all of them to make sure each item or person can't be used in any way. I think only the possible interactions should be available.
9. To unclick an item your pointer is holding, you need to right-click the mouse. Unfortunately, if you do this while the pointer is hovering over a place where Mona can go into a new scene, this takes you out of the scene you were in as well. Very annoying having to remember never to have the mouse hovering in the wrong place during a right-click.
10. I thought the game would go from the castle all the way back to Paris before it ended. Apparently, it's a game where you have to buy the second (or more?) installment to continue the storyline since the game is finished with her still in 'Draxsylvania'. I hated being mislead.



Although the game has many faults and flaws, it was still enjoyable to play, however the graphics problems were a pain-in-the-butt.

My favorite parts (and actually funny to me):

1. When the harlot and the band leader start throwing slurs back and forth. The number of names seemed endless and pretty creative at some points. It took quite a while for them to start repeating themselves.

2. When Froderick says he used to play the slide-whistle at camp and then echoes the famous half-line "This one time at band camp…"




Vampires becoming trendy

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Worth playing"

Summary

I haven't played a good adventure game in quite some time, so i must say that this game really came along just fine. "A Vampyre Story" let's you play the role of Mona, a young opera singer, in her quest to return to Paris. Mona has been trapped by Shrowdy von Kieffer, and turned into a vampire. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, so in order to reach Paris, first, our leading lady must escape from Shrowdy's Castle.

The story takes place in Draxylvania, which is a cartooney version of the real Transylvania. The place really is appealing. Personally i thought the scenes were very captivating, nicely colored, and they really keep you in touch with the story. The interface is easy to use, it's a simple point and click game,and it makes it very accessible.

The puzzles are mostly of common sense. If you're a fan of the genre, you'll ease through the most part of the game. Though there are a couple of puzzles that got me a bit stuck,it's nothing to harsh, so all and all it's an average difficulty game.

The characters that you get to interact with vary quite a bit from gargoyles and horses to witches and ghosts. They are not to well defined, but still they make a good impression.

The story....the story in my opinion was great. It really kept me in front of my computer for a while...but the end...i certainly didn't see that one coming. It really feels like the story has a big gap, and it definitely needs to be continued.

All and all i thought the game was quite good, but the ending really pissed me off.(that's why i only gave it 8). Hope you'll enjoy playing it






Ms. 'Splosion Man boasts extreme difficulty and an annoying soundtrack but has enough content to redeem itself.

7.5

Great
Difficulty:
Very Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Mixed reactions"

Summary

Ms. 'Splosion Man's gameplay will feel very familiar to those who have played the first one. You can still splode with A, B, X, or Y and you can still blow yourself up with the right trigger. The main thing that stands out in the core gameplay in Ms. 'Splosion man is its difficulty. If you don't have significant platformer experience, get ready to be confronted with the "Forbidden Checkpoint" quite often. The fast paced, death filled levels often don't leave much room for error until you get to a puzzle. Sometimes the screen will be cluttered with barrels and lasers that it will be pretty difficult to spot our protagonist.

But with so much difficulty, there is so much reward. I have often taken a sigh of relief after finally making it to a checkpoint, and it is a great moment. The game gives you such a sense of accomplishment, that you will almost never want to use the forbidden checkpoints, instead deciding to earn some coins (the forbidden checkpoint makes it so you don't earn any at the end of the level) and earn some relief-sighs.



While the gameplay is enjoyable, the soundtrack is not. When I first got the game, I did have a few chuckles at Ms 'Splosion Mans pop culture quotes, but now they act more like a salt in the wound mechanism. I hate dying again and again only to respawn and be greeted with "Don't go chasing waterfalls".

Aside from Ms 'Splosion Mans lyrics, the rest of the games soundtrack isn't much better. The menu screen, albeit the same music from the original just with a different tone, is much worse. I believe that the only good music is at the pause menu screen, because at least it reminds me of the first game where the soundtrack wasn't so bad.


Ms 'Splosion Man did succeed in improving over the predecessor in many ways. The world design is now more than level to level, but also a path that you can navigate. This path also has things like the Mall where you can buy a lot of surprisingly cool things. Another gem is the arcade, unfortunately all this is for is to direct you to demos of their other games. All that being said, this is still a really good way of adding even more sense of accomplishment, as you do sort of feel yourself progressing.

Ms 'Splosion Man also adds a few other new things. A blue zipline can speed you accross the map in a way you never could back in 'Splosion Man. A scientist that can be propelled forward by sploding next to him is also a welcome addition.


All in all, Ms Splosion man can be very frustrating, but it's still very fun.




Pink. Bow. Splode.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"Rocks"

Summary

Twisted Pixel Games is becoming a force to be reckoned with on the Xbox Live Arcade scene. Of their most famous games, Splosion Man, was renowned for its new take on platforming mechanics, comicy visuals and amazing humor. Taking a cue from the Pac-Man games, Twisted Pixel has decided to follow up its game by adding a bow to create an entirely new female character, Ms. Splosion Man. Ms. Splosion Man is prettier, harder and loaded with more content than its predecessor.

Ms. Splosion Man is a product of carelessness. The egg heads in the laboratory that birthed Splosion Man have finally succeeded in securing the spontaneously combustible character. They throw a party to celebrate, but one such scientist accidentally knocks over a bottle of champagne on a cable, triggering a reaction at the same time a bow glides down in the middle of the rig. Ms. Splosion Man is born, and with a single kiss, every scientist in the room is vaporized by her radioactive affection. Escaping from the laboratory, she's now on a quest to rescue Splosion Man and marry him.

Ms. Splosion Man assumes that you've already played Twisted Pixel's previous 2009 game, as the opening level will throw an old friend right in your face. Newcomers may be wondering what the heck is going on, but shortly after, the game will then play an entertaining instructional video. The first handful of levels will help gamers get acquainted to the gameplay, but the difficulty curve will quickly spike. Some of the gameplay mechanics in the first half of the first world have been taken from the later stages of the first game.

In most platformers, you jump. In Ms. Splosion Man, you splode. She can splode up to three times and each splosion puts out less force than the next. She can recharge while on the ground, sliding down a wall or sploding off of a barrel or other explosive object. She can get more distance from her explosions by sploding off walls, enemies and of course barrels, and that's where the majority of gameplay lies. There are barrel dispensers strewn about the levels that will need to be sploded off of to cover great distances, but it's easier said than done. Some dispensers have to be triggered in midair leaving only fractions of a second to splode before the barrel falls away leaving you out to dry.

Along with the returning switches, new platforming elements have been introduced. There are now trampolines that spring Ms. Splosion Man high into the air, and will usually involve her chasing barrels to splode off of. There are vibrant pink panels that supply her with a constant recharge allowing her to keep herself airborne for as long as need be. There are zip lines and rocket cars and barrels that glide gently down to the ground and catapults, all introducing a wealth of new platforming puzzles. The donut eating scientist from the first game has been replaced with a new overweight female scientist named Mandy that Ms. Splosion Man will posses. The scientist still serves the same purpose of blocking off lasers, but now the gamer can use her for an extra boost when she's no longer needed. There are also gun toting scientists you can use against each other, and wheelchair bound scientists you can splode and send barreling down the level to clear a path.

Ms. Splosion Man excels when the gameplay moves at the speed of light. Being jettisoned across the screen sploding off barrels and walls and avoiding hazards is a thrill, but the flow of the game is interrupted several times. There will be moments where you'll need to slow down and study a series of switches and experiment with timing to see what works. It's akin to riding a bike in top gear down a sidewalk and having to come to a complete stop for a traffic light, then waiting to get a cross signal. The difficulty of the game has also increased, but that's thanks in part to dying more often because of trial and error. There will be times where you simply won't be given any time at all to react and you'll die. You then learn from this death so you can prepare for next time, and slowly but surely you'll start to become frustrated with the game.

It's still fantastic fun and still fantastically funny. Just as with the first game, it's loaded with pop culture references. The cutscenes will pay homage to Total Recall and other sci-fi action films, and Ms. Splosion Man will spew off tons of pop music quotes, but to a fault. Whereas Splosion Man uttered a lot of whimsical gibberish and references actually relevant to the ongoing action, Ms. Splosion Man overdoes it with her references. Most serve no purpose at all, making the gamer wonder why she's quoting Lady Gaga and Willow Smith. The game still retains its great sense of humor and charm, but because Ms. Splosion Man herself is such a chatterbox, she comes off a little shallow and annoying.

Ms. Splosion Man's graphics look a good deal better than its predecessor, not really due to any technical improvements, but due to the fact that the artistic direction is far greater. For the first time, the game takes itself out of the sterile laboratory environments of the previous title and places the gamer in sky cities and beach resorts. There's a lot more visual stimulation thanks to fresh new foregrounds and busy backgrounds. Also, there's special barrels that will actually launch back and forth from the foreground and background, taking a cue from Donkey Kong Country. Enemy death animations can be somewhat gruesome from a decapitation to being reduced to a skeleton, yet they can still be hilarious as they burst into piles of meat, or strike a pose before they collapse. The presentation of the game also has been revamped, and Ms. Splosion Man now walks around a world map to access her levels.

Since Ms. Splosion Man is prettier than its previous title, it would only make sense for the audio to be improved as well. The standout facet of this department is the soundtrack. Not only are the songs terrific in of themselves, there's also a lot more of them. Each world has their own themes, so you'll very rarely get bored of the music. There's also a new song written specially for Mandy, but it can't hold a candle the classic Nuts for Donuts song of the first game. The sound effects sound pretty much the same as they did in the first game, but some like the kicking of barrels seem a little more crisp. As for voice acting, the scientists still invoke chuckles with their incoherent mumblings, and the voice of Ms. Splosion Man is a perfect combination of cute and ditzy. As mentioned earlier in this review, however, there's a great chance you'll become annoyed with her thanks to her incessant rattlings of female pop singer quotes.

So what's most attractive about this title? The price. At only 800 points, you are getting a single player game longer than most. You're also getting a multiplayer game with its own levels and ending. You're getting a federal reserve's worth of unlockable content ranging from concept art to movies to even a Two Girls One Controller mode that lets you play multiplayer controlling both characters with one controller. 800 points also gets you an improved sequel in almost every way, and a much harder game for the masochistic gamers out there. If Twisted Pixel Games continues to prove their mettle with Xbox Live Arcade games, then every product they make should be considered an automatic purchase. Ms. Splosion Man already is.




Ms. 'Splosion Man will 'splode into your heart in an instant, but only after tearing apart your thumbs first.

8.0

Superb
Difficulty:
Very Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Amazing"

Summary

During the Summer of Arcade in 2009, Twisted Pixel burst onto the indie arcade scene with a cleverly designed and captivatingly funny platformer featuring a hyperactive combustion-based hero called 'Splosion Man. With an unbelievably short attention span and the power to detonate himself on command, 'Splosion Man became an icon on Xbox Live Arcade. But while 'Splosion Man has the perseverance and combustible dexterity for success, even he can have an off day. Enter 'Splosion Man's equally destructive female love interest, Ms. 'Splosion Man, ready to bail out 'Splosion Man from trouble. The amount of humor and cleverness in Ms. 'Splosion Man is some of Twisted Pixel's best, even if the difficulty of the gameplay remains very challenging throughout.

After running about the Big Science laboratory, molten maniac 'Splosion Man is lured and imprisoned by the scientist staff, who falsely appear apologetic for trying to capture him. The workers of Big Science throw a party, celebrating the incarceration of 'Splosion Man. Thanks to a bottle of champagne on a computer and a conveniently placed bow, 'Splosion Man's other half is born. A perky and equally wacky heroine, Ms. 'Splosion Man embarks on a journey to rescue the captured 'Splosion Man, all while causing as much damage to the facility as possible. Ms. 'Splosion Man may not seem as revolutionarily goofy as the original did, but it's tough to fault the game when it puts so much effort into making the player laugh.

…and that's really what'll happen. Making a game truly funny is a difficult task for game developers, but Twisted Pixel just make it look so damn easy. If hearing 'Splosion Man's goofy quips in the original game had you reeling in laughter, Ms. 'Splosion Man will leave you floored. This is a hilarious game, mostly thanks to its bizarre heroine. While 'Splosion Man stuck with airplane noises and quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ms. 'Splosion Man goes far with random dancing, quoting female musical acts from the last few decades, and giggling in her high-pitched, Valley Girl tone. By anyone's standards, Ms. 'Splosion Man pulls zero punches in making its protagonist entertaining. Yes, her quips on unicorns, cocktails, and "dra-ma" do get a bit obnoxious after a while, but Ms. 'Splosion Man is such an enthusiastic and energized heroine that it's damn near impossible to not crack a smile after hearing at least one of her mindless one-liners.

Ms. 'Splosion Man is, at its core, the same gameplay you'll find in the original 'Splosion Man. Using any of the face buttons, the hyperactive heroine will "'splode." A 'splode will cause the wacky woman to jump with a combustible burst of destruction. She can 'splode three times in succession before having to recharge her 'splode power, can wall jump by 'sploding, and can attack enemies by 'sploding. This is no different than her male counterpart's skillset, and for better or for worse, you'll find yourself using the simple commands to navigate through Big Science without much complication. The overall design of Ms. 'Splosion Man focuses on reflexes and rhythm instead of precision, making it a different kind of platformer. It can, however, boil down to level memorization at times, but the amount of reflex-demanding 'sploding stands out amongst the many other XBLA platformers available.

The environmental framework, on the other hand, is startlingly different than what 'Splosion Man had to contend with. The overall stage items are different and there are plenty of stages that will test your 'sploding skills in brand new ways. You get the typical barrels, some that launch you skyward, others to kick toward obnoxious scientists, but that's not all. Some barrels will send Ms. 'Splosion Man to the background, while other environmental quirks allow for multiple 'sploding without the whole three-splode limit. Treadmills, bouncy energy spheres, and big-boned women to use as transport devices all make their appearances, and remarkably, keep the variety going at a solid pace. Solving puzzles demands you keep your thinking caps on, as many stages will intricately mix into a Rube Goldberg-esque menagerie of contraptions and well-timed 'sploding. Overall, though, Ms. 'Splosion Man is a more creative game. The design of stages has an astonishingly high sense of flow; you might even find yourself solving a puzzle by complete accident, thanks to a rhythmic pacing to the fast-paced platforming.

If you played through the original 'Splosion Man, you'll fondly remember that it was not an easy game. From toxic pools to spike walls, there were plenty of things out to get you. Chances are you died frequently in each stage, succumbing to a trial-and-error momentum run instead of precise, think-it-out platforming. Ms. 'Splosion Man has taken notes from her male counterpart's odyssey, and know this: Ms. 'Splosion Man makes 'Splosion Man look like a joke. It's difficult and will more than likely put you in a grumpy mood. Unless your reflexes are spot-on, pristine, and without any trace of misstep, you will die in every stage. This cannot be stressed enough: prepare yourself for an uphill battle. The game does let you "cheat" on the game by allowing you to skip a stage after repeated failures, but where's the reward in that? Yes, Ms. 'Splosion Man will frustrate thanks to a huge mix of one-hit kill hazards, timing-based puzzles, and rather distantly placed checkpoints, but like all tough-as-nails games, the payoff is rewarding beyond belief. Ms. 'Splosion Man perverts challenge, roping you in with a goofy heroine, but pushing your gaming skills to levels unseen even in Twisted Pixel's previous combustion-based platformer.

Unlike her captured other half, Ms. 'Splosion Man follows a Super Mario Bros. 3 hub, where the heroine can travel across a map to get to different stages. In addition to the main stages, players can also find hidden shoes (the counterpart to 'Splosion Man's cakes) scattered across each level. Even better are secret exits, which can take some craftiness and observance to find. Finishing stages quickly, thoroughly, or by just being a destructive diva nets Ms. 'Splosion Man coins to spend on concept art, videos, dashboard themes, or even extra modes of play. Though the overall amount of levels is a tad low, returning to stages to find hidden items or exits remains fun. Players can also download ghost runs from the leaderboards to try and match their time. If you have a friend, you can also tackle the multiplayer campaign for even more levels. Ms. 'Splosion Man is a comprehensive package all in all, and at a meager 800 Microsoft Points ($10 US), it's very difficult to pass up.

The graphic design of Ms. 'Splosion Man takes plenty of goofy cues from the original, but the amount of diversity in the aesthetic definitely is appreciated. The backgrounds are much more creative and the level themes stretch beyond the white and grey walls of 'Splosion Man's Big Science adventure. Ms. 'Splosion Man will traverse abandoned cities and tropical vistas, a stark contrast from the original's almost stale aesthetic design. The animations ooze character as well; everyone from the heroine herself to the scientists throughout the facility has a playful charm. A collection of catchy level themes and wacky voice acting compliment the graphics immensely. The shrill giggles from Ms. 'Splosion Man (voiced by long-time anime and gaming voice actress Monica Rial) add even more charm to the game. It's not too different from the original game from a technical standpoint, but there's just so much character and goofiness in Ms. 'Splosion Man that you'll want to continue, even through the toughest of challenges.

Pros
+ Plenty of fast-paced, reflex-testing platforming
+ More diverse graphic design
+ Humor is even wackier and referential than its predecessor's
+ Good amount of content for a reasonable price

Cons
- Can get extremely difficult, especially in the later levels
- Some environmental quirks are reused from the original

Ms. 'Splosion Man treads a good deal of familiar ground, but the new aesthetic design and engaging level construction are noticeable improvements from the original 'Splosion Man game. Some clever environmental objects keep the gameplay flow consistent while also introducing plenty of Twisted Pixel creativity. Ms. 'Splosion Man follows its predecessor's tradition of high difficulty. Though obstacles demand superb rhythm and split-second timing, the challenge never reaches impossibility. But it's Twisted Pixel's knack at humor that is second-to-none. The overall character of the heroine is goofy, surreal, and parodic all at once. Simply watching Ms. 'Splosion Man's idle animations is purely entertaining. The high amount of content for a more-than-reasonable price is simply icing on the cake. Twisted Pixel has constructed a familiar, but purely fun sequel that could very well surpass its already great predecessor. It's more of the same 'sploding action you've come to expect, but that action is what makes Ms. 'Splosion Man one of the best XBLA titles released this year.
7.0

Great
6.3
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