Platforming experiences in today's games usually consist of a developer trying to innovate on a genre that once dominated the videogame world. While some amazing titles have come out of this trend, I'm always impressed when a game like Explodemon comes along that can bring this innovation while still tapping into that nostalgia factor seen in platformers of a gaming age passed.
The situation of Explodemon being labeled as the PSN's answer for 'Splosion Man is a poor comparison at best. Yes both characters make themselves explode, but where 'Splosion Man leans drastically in the puzzle department Explodemon leaps toward classic platforming with puzzles strewn about.
The plot revolves around an invading alien force named the Vortex. The Nibian Gaurdians, who once guarded the planet, have been destroyed and all hope seems lost until an accidental crashing ship releases the final guardian named Explodemon. Seeing as Explodemon is an unstable hero who can't stop himself from exploding, some of the citizens see his release as a bad thing. Throughout the game you encounter different people from different planets, and you engage in some of the most hilarious dialogue I have ever seen or heard in a game. This is due to the fact that Explodemon isn't fully capable of streaming together coherent sentences. Instead, what you're left with are some ridiculous phrases. The story itself is generic, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for with some extremely rewarding gameplay.
The basic movements of Explodemon consist of running, jumping, and, you guessed it, exploding. You don't just explode though. You can use your combustive abilities to conquer many platforming and puzzle related feats. For example, if you explode while running you propel yourself forward at great speeds. While rocketing forward, any enemy in your path will get hurt as well. As you progress through the game you gain new maneuvers such as a double jump or the ability to hit enemies with a combo explosion.
One of the most rewarding features of Explodemon is simply battling enemies. When you explode next to an enemy you obviously damage them, but the closer you are to them when you explode the more damage you do. If you are very close to an enemy, the screen will pause slightly right when you explode to give you that gratifying sense of power as you demolish your foes. This is such a slight inclusion, but chaining together explosions and seeing your screen react to each power shot really does illuminate how powerful of a hero you are.
After you complete any of the levels of the 3 different worlds, you can visit the shop and spend your hard earned points on upgrades for your character. These can range from a more powerful explosion to more health returned when you blow up an enemy. Yes the more enemies you blow up, and the better the explosion used to do so, the more health and points you receive back.
The many different abilities of Explodemon lead to some interesting puzzles. Each puzzle uses explosions differently to keep the game fresh and new at each stage. At one point you gain the ability to aim what you explode with the R2 or L2 buttons. An outlined object appears showing the trajectory of the object you intend to move. This precision ends up increasing the difficulty of the puzzles and therefore requires you to pay much closer attention to what's occurring on screen. I found each puzzle to be quite fun to overcome with no gimmick really being repeated too often.
Explodemon is a very colorful game, and sometimes this intense palette can become overwhelming when a lot of action is occurring on screen. Even so, I didn't experience any slowdown throughout my time playing and this is impressive considering how hectic the game can get at times. The music choice is fitting with some techno beats blaring out while you play, but I did find myself getting sick of it after a while. The style and choices do work very well with the story and gameplay.
If you've been longing to scratch that old-school platforming itch, Explodemon is definitely what you're looking for. The action is constant and gaining new abilities is reminiscent of games like Metroid or Megaman. Plenty of secrets scattered around each level will have you surely coming back for more, and at only $9.99 you really can't go wrong with this one.