Codex Gamicus

'Splosion Man is a side-scrolling action platform video game developed by Twisted Pixel Games for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade digital download service. It was released on July 22, 2009 as part of XBLA's Summer of Arcade 2009.[1] It costs 800 MSP or $10.[2]


'Splosion Man includes a story mode consisting of 50 levels, including 3 bosses, as well as up to four-player co-op, the other 50 levels. The aim of the game is to "splode" through a series of levels consisting of puzzles, traps, and enemies. A "splode" is effectively a jump, and the resulting explosion can also be used to kill enemies (which include mad scientists, scared scientists, and robots), demolish walls, detonate explosive barrels or trigger other effects. The character can explode up to three times in quick succession at which point he will need to take a breather to replenish his supply. The game does not contain any usable items, but hidden in each level is a cake which can be consumed for extra points or achievements.


Development for 'Splosion Man began in early 2008, coinciding with the development of another Twisted Pixel title, The Maw. The reason for this was so that they could have something to develop once The Maw was completed. Production began in December 2008, and development began in January 2009. The idea for 'Splosion Man came from a random idea proposed by Sean Riley, one of the developers involved in the game. His idea to make a game about "a guy who splodes in a world only made of glass". The team joked about this until it eventually progressed into a full-fledged video game. 'Splosion Man was made a downloadable title due to how much easier it was than attempting to make it a multi-million dollar retail game. The goal of 'Splosion Man was to make it both fun and polished. A problem with video games with short development time is that they often lack polish, resulting in the development team focusing on polishing 'Splosion Man as much as possible. The developers stated that any platform game may have had some influence on 'Splosion Man, though crediting Earthworm Jim's sense of humour and Sonic the Hedgehog's sense of speed.[3][4]

The concept art was drawn by retired concept artist Jerome Crackershack. The concept art was picked up by Dave Leung, who became the art lead and, in the words of Twisted Pixel director James Bear, ran with them and brought them to life. Some of the early concept art was included in the credits sequence. Bear explained that the game's humour was not a big part of the pre-development process, and that they "just wanted to make an awesome game." The "Way of the Coward" mode, which allowed players to skip a stage by dying enough times in a row, was added so players could experience the whole game. Using this mode also garbs the protagonist with a blue tutu, which was inspired by Ninja Gaiden Black's Ninja Dog mode, which put a pink armband on its protagonist, Ryu Hayabusa. The game was completed in July 2009. 'Splosion Man was the first of five titles to be released as part of Microsoft's Summer of Arcade for the Xbox Live Arcade service. The developers specifically timed it so it would be released around the time of this event in hopes that it would be one of the titles included.[3][4] It was featured at the 2009 PAX convention at Twisted Pixel's booth.[4]

On April 1, 2009, Twisted Pixel released a press announcement that a new game called 'Splosion Man would be released onto the Xbox Live Arcade.[5] The next day, Twisted Pixel confirmed that the game wasn't an April Fool's Day hoax and that it would be released later in the year.[6] 'Splosion Man was released on the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service on July 22, 2009.[7] 'Splosion Man is the first title announced to provide Avatar Awards to players of the game.[8] Twisted Pixel has no plans to port 'Splosion Man to either the PlayStation Network or WiiWare, but it is not out of the question.[3] As of yet, no download content is planned for 'Splosion Man, but the developers created the game with the ability to sustain it if fans want it. They added in another interview, however, that they had some ideas that they feel will exceed what people would expect of it.[3][4] Two exclusive levels can be unlocked through Twisted Pixel's upcoming game, Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley.


'Splosion Man was a commercial success, being compared along with the four other Games of Summer for the Xbox Live Arcade to retail releases, with a Microsoft Australia representative stating that all five of these titles would have made the top 10 best-selling games in Australia in their first week of release.[9] It launched as the second best-selling game in the week of July 20, with over 70,000 players on its single player leaderboard in that week. It ranked third in the following week.[10] It was the fifth best-selling Xbox Live Arcade title during the week of August 10, 2009.[11] It later appeared at number eight during the week of August 24, 2009.[12] Microsoft made a promotion that if a person purchases all five games included in the "Summer of Arcade" promotion, they will receive 800 Xbox live Arcade points.[13]

The game has been met with generally favourable reviews, receiving an 84 out of 100 and an 86.33% at Metacritic and Game Rankings respectively.[14][15] GameSpot reviewed the game and gave 'Splosion Man an 8.0. The review noted that "For a very reasonable 800 XBL points, 'Splosion Man is a blast. This is one of the most original platformers to come down the road in a while and is one that just might be good enough and addictive enough to spawn a new franchise." [16]

Shadow Complex developer Donald Mustard praised the quality of recent downloadable games, specifically mentioning 'Splosion Man for how unique it and others are.[17] It was voted by Xbox Live players as the Best Original XBLA Game of 2009.[18]


  1. McWhertor, Michael. TMNT: Turtles In Time Re-make Knocked Back By 'Splosion Man. Retrieved on 2009-07-10
  2. Sinclair, Brendan (2009-07-09). Shadow Complex, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 dated - News at GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-07-22
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Interview: Twisted Pixel’s Frank Wilson on Splosion Man. End Sights (2009-07-23). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Twisted Pixel Games Interview on Splosion Man. XBL Arcade (2009-08-07). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  5. Michael Wilford. PRESS RELEASE. Archived from the original on 2009-06-10 Retrieved on 2009-06-08
  7. Ng, Keane (2009-04-02). The Maw Dev Announces 'Splosion Man. Escapist Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-04-07
  8. Xbox 360 dashboard update is live; Avatar Marketplace gets Gears Armor and Lightsabers. Examiner (2009-08-11). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  9. Digital Games Might Be Selling As Well As Retail Games. Kotaku (2009-09-03). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  10. In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade Sales Analysis, July 2009. Gamasutra (2009-08-11). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  11. Xbox Live Activity (Week of Aug 10). Game Focus (2009-08-20). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  12. LIVE Activity for week of Aug. 24. Game Focus (2009-09-02). Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  13. Buy every Xbox Live summer game, get $10 bonus. GamePro (2009-07-30). Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  14. Splosion Man. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-05
  15. Splosion Man. Game Rankings. Archived from the original on 2009-09-06 Retrieved on 2009-09-04
  16. Todd, Brett. Splosion Man Review fo Xbox 360. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2009-08-05
  17. Making Shadow Complex: Donald Mustard Speaks. Gamasutra (2009-08-28). Retrieved on 2009-09-04

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