"The 2D cutscenes look like a throwback to the Newgrounds flash cartoon boom of the early to mid 2000's."
It's flashy, it's silly and most of all explode-ey! Explodemon finally comes to Steam after a 2011 release on the Playstation Network. If you've ever thought to yourself, "gee I wish I could have those SNES platform games back, but shinier and with more explosions!" then daydream no more. Exlodemon offers a fun, colorful, simple experience that will indulge your retro needs without visiting the Goodwill or unearthing your SNES.
Aesthetically, if Internet nostalgia tickles your fancy then you're in for a treat. The 2D cutscenes look like a throwback to the Newgrounds flash cartoon boom of the early to mid 2000's. Movement in cutscenes is flat and simple, one still image sliding into the next. It nearly inspired war flashbacks of religiously picking through the latest uploads on Newground's movie portal. If you enjoyed the style of Megaman games and Mischief Makers on the Nintendo 64, Explodemon is the resulting bulky anime-eyed offspring. In-game action is entirely in 3D (on a 2D plane) with beautifully saturated colors and maintains the cartoonish aesthetic that it establishes in cutscenes The game uses primary colors in spades. It pays proper homage to SNES platformers by balling up a bunch of bright colors, flashy explosions, fast paced motion, and throwing it right in your face. The result is certainly eye-catching and creates a simplified yet compelling world for Explodemon to explode in. The gameplay is rather simple: the solution to every problem is explosions. Enemies ahead? Explosions! Need to jump higher? Explosions! Need to run faster? The answer is always explosions.
"Explosions can send Explodemon flying through the air or propel him faster as he runs, creating a fast paced experience that requires the player to constantly stay on their toes."
Explodemon himself was built primarily to blow things up, which is used in nearly every gameplay mechanic. Even though players are mashing the same button over and over, it doesn't get repetitive. Explosions can send Explodemon flying through the air or propel him faster as he runs, creating a fast paced experience that requires the player to constantly stay on their toes. If you're not paying attention it can be very easy to get caught in a nonsensical whirlwind of ricocheting off walls and into the air without actually moving ahead on the level. Players may be button mashing, but they must use button mashing wisely. For a concept that seems so simple and straight forward, it gets busy and overworked fairly easily. Overall it's a fun experience.
"The music, by the way, is completely fit for early generations of Dance Dance Revolution. It’s campy Japanese EDM in its infancy, which again can trigger a lot of nostalgia if you're old enough."
Explodemon doesn't leave much room for complaints, except for the audio quality. Sound effects can be quite fuzzy at times, while the music fares a bit better. The music, by the way, is completely fit for early generations of Dance Dance Revolution. It’s campy Japanese EDM in its infancy, which again can trigger a lot of nostalgia if you're old enough. But still, it could have been done better. No amount of tampering with my audio settings made it any clearer or sharper. The narrative is straightforward as well. The planet (or nation, maybe? it's in no way specific) Nibia is being invaded and pillaged by aliens. All of Nibia's soldiers have been dispatched and so far no one can fight off the invasion. That's where Explodemon comes in. He's an experimental exploding fighter that was under no circumstances to be awakened. You're playing though the game as Explodemon fighting off the aliens invading Nibia. The writing team needs to be given a trophy for light-hearted humor; at no point in this game does the player ever feel like the invasion is really taken seriously. Each character has their fair share of silly behavior and poor decision-making. It's a sarcastically fun approach to a science fiction trope that we've been reading since the 1950's.
The game is priced at $8.99 on Steam and $9.99 on the Playstation Network. For a game with lackluster audio quality with art that looks like a fanmade flash toon, $9.99 is a bit much. You don't even get a neat box to show off on your shelves because it's available in digital download form only. Personally, I'd only pick it up during one of Steam's many sales. It's gone on sale in the past for $7.20, which is a bit more acceptable for a mindlessly fun experience.
Review by: Katelyn Berry | Reviewed on: PC