“I’m a power load, watch me explode.” – Explodemon
It has been said many times that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Nearly everything from the 20th century thought to be an original idea was derived from some other work. Homages, remakes, tributes all of these words apply to the same thing, the philosophy that originality is dead and everything is a rehash. Charles Caleb Colton is famous for the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” which brings us to Curve Studios’ effort, Explodemon.
In Explodemon you play as a robot experiment that is frozen in a cryogenic chamber because you are deemed far too dangerous to exist outside the confines of that icy tomb. The reason for this, big surprise, is that you explode, sometimes on command, sometimes just because hey it’s been 30 seconds and you haven’t exploded lately. A great evil befalls the planet and your creator believes that you are the only hope to save the civilization that has so far shunned you. Explodemon is thawed and released into the world, given instructions by a helper program and expected to take every enemy out using his one and only power of blowing up like an Irishman at a football game. The main character has the ability to launch himself into the air-jumping and then exploding and then jumping again. If you do not explode yourself within a set period of time, around a minute possibly less, you automatically explode.
Explodemon must travel through 3 different worlds and 12 levels to take on the same generic enemies that were in the last level. Occasionally the player will encounter purple-green versions of the same enemies which become tougher to beat. The game also features collectables to find to give you power ups in each level that grand you the ability to explode more quickly.
The 2.5D world you inhabit is too big, and the characters and enemies are far too small. This creates a problem not only of scale but a loss of depth when attempting to immerse yourself into the game. Explodemon looks okay, but is jaggy and mostly unimpressive. Also the game has a problem when it comes to puzzles possibly having a direct correlation to the design of Explodemon. When attempting to shove green box “A” into green hole “B” the player must somehow manage to properly angle the box in a way that defies every bit of the games programing code, which more often than not becomes so infuriating that you will want to throw down the controller in frustration. This is not a matter of difficulty this is just bad game design and needs to be addressed.
Dialog can sometimes cause a bit of a chuckle but often comes in the middle of pressing a wrong button when attempting to take on an enemy which as opposed to humor causes frustration in gamers.
Then we have the sound design. The music is great, and is a wonderful callback to the original source material the game is designed after and quite possibly the best thing about the entire experience of Explodemon. The sounds however are mind numbingly dull, and in need of some major work. Sounds come off as repetitive, muffled, and uninspired.
This game is Megaman meets Bomberman with one very important caveat. Whereas in Megaman you must defeat 8 robot masters, in Explodemon you must defeat the same purple boss known as Absorbemon, over and over again. The creators took one of the greatest things about the original game it seemingly was trying to homage and decimated it for some unexplained reason.
Controls can be awkward when using the keyboard as you must use the arrow keys to move as opposed to the normal use of the WASD keys. A controller is highly recommended to get the best possible experience from Explodemon.
Explodemon began its life as a Playstation 3 and was ported over to the PC in 2011, just now coming out for steam. It is an interesting experiment but there are a few fundamental flaws in its design that completely hamper the experience. Explodemon is meant as a loving homage to Megaman but it comes off as boring, bland, and, at times, a completely infuriating ordeal. The game spent a long time in oft fabled and always feared “Development Hell,” and perhaps it was a place that it should have stayed.
Explodemon is available now on Playstation 3 and Steam.