Explodemon is a side-scrolling explode ‘em up made roughly in the vain of the old Megaman games with a few more modern adaptations. You play as the eponymous Explodemon the last Guardian of the world of Niblis during a horrible alien invasion. Sadly, Explodemon is just a little bit unstable and has a tendency, as his name would suggest, to blow up without the slightest provocation. At the beginning of the game he’s released unintentionally by the bad guys from his stasis pod, where he’s been kept since a prior noodle incident.

As you’d expect from a homage to SNES era side-scrollers there’s plenty of delicious and choice platforming to be done throughout the game. However they also throw in an abundance of physics based puzzles and a seemingly endless assortment of collectibles to pick up – most of which go someway to making Explodemon all the better at running, jumping and blowing up in the faces of his enemies.

The core game is very much the platforming. You can burst through levels in a matter of minutes if you are so minded, or you can take your time, meticulously going over every pixel on screen to make sure there’s no hidden passages and complicated puzzles to try. The puzzles can be complicated, however the developers never drop anything in your path which is mandatory that isn’t easily completed – all the more complicated puzzles and the ones that really shine through are guarding the precious collectible tokens.

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Explodemon starts you off relatively gently. You pop out of your stasis capsule and you start killing the bad guys almost straight away. There are tutorials all around the first few levels, guiding you on what to do and how to do it. Thankfully, they’re all optional, if you want to burn past them at supersonic speeds, feel free to. The levels slowly ramp up the challenge, more complicated puzzles appearing, additional abilities, and tougher hordes of enemies to face. Everything is perfectly paced so you know you’re up to the challenge by the time it comes. There are three worlds with four levels each. They’re all packed with content as well, secret areas, collectibles and puzzles. Thankfully you can easily go back to any previously completed level at any time, and its useful for honing your skills as well in case you get stuck on anything.

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 I would say that ‘just right’ goes a long way to describing most everything in the game. The platforming is ‘just right’, you’ll never feel like you’ve been cheesed out of landing on a tricky ledge, you can always make that jump if you get the timing. The combat is the same, it’s not the games fault if you miss that slow-mo extra damage explosion, you should have hit it a fraction of a second later. That kind of polish seems to be increasingly rare in indie games, but this one has it in spades and it’s nice to see.

Explodemon also features a rather distinct and genuinely amusing comic style which gives the game plenty of charm. Each character has their own personality, from Explodemon’s blaise, boisterous and simply reckless approach to heroism, to his creators more grounded and realistic attitude towards the Vortex invasion.

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My main, criticism of the game comes from the fact that its a fairly forgettable experience. Despite all the polish, the well constructed levels and the good design, there is very little about the game that makes want to come back after completion. The plot is simple, as you’d really expect from a homage to SNES platformers, none were Moby Dick after all and the characters, while fun are nothing special within themselves. I think this may be a flaw common to most mechanic driven games really, no matter how well tuned the mechanic may be eventually it quickly becomes just another gameplay mechanic. I’m fond of games where I can walk away with a story to tell my friends, something stupid or epic or downright nonsensical I took part in.

Overall, Explodemon is a solid game with plenty of challenge and lots of content. It’s extremely well polished and plays smoothly. I’d certainly recommend it for anyone who has fond memories of playing the old Megaman games back in the nineties.

Review: Explodemon
Pros
  • Sense of humour
  • Solid platforming
  • Entertaining puzzles
Cons
  • Fairly short
  • Gimmicky
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