Back in March I had the pleasure of checking out two of the latest creations from the hilarious minds at Twisted Pixel: The Gunstringer and Ms. 'Splosion Man. At the time the early looks at the games looked very promising, with Ms. 'Splosion Man seeming to one-up its predecessor in both the humor and gameplay aspects and The Gunstringer showcasing how to properly do a Kinect title. Months later at E3 I had the chance to get more hands-on with both titles, and from the looks of what I witnessed we are in for two more hilarious and fun titles.
After meeting with Jay Stuckwisch up in the Xbox booth he had me go hands-on first with Ms. 'Splosion Man. Here he had me test out a new level, this time in the tropics area. Unlike in 'Splosion Man the sequel takes place mostly outside the confines of the Big Science Labs, with the Miss travelling around different overworlds. (The level layout is somewhat of a nod to Super Mario Bros. 3, where players can skip levels and even find secret exits.) Once the level started Ms. 'Splosion Man entered the surroundings in a fashion similar to a famous scene from Total Recall, the second Twisted Pixel game to reference it (the first, of course, being in Comic Jumper).
Right off the bat I noticed the trickier puzzles, jumps that needed to be timed properly and a couple new power-ups. I also noticed how many times I died in the game, a number which I lost count on, so I can imagine myself using "The Way of the Coward" to move my way through a couple of the levels. (The only question that remains is what happens to Ms. 'Splosion Man if I use it. Seeing that a tutu would most likely accommodate her I can imagine that something more embarrassing will befall her if I took that path.)
Soon after I was brought in to try The Gunstringer. Because of the tight space I was in during PAX East I had an issue with playing on the Kinect, as the people that walked too close to my playing area caused the game to be constantly interrupted. Fortunately at E3 they had set up private booths for all their Kinect titles, making it impossible for other gamers to obstruct the Kinect's view. With that I started playing a new level introduced at E3, where you try your hand at some brawling segments.
The level was set up in a side-scrolling manner, making it easier to see what was up ahead and above the level. Its view changed later on, as I was being chased by massive boulders and logs that wanted to do nothing but destroy my little puppet friend. Suddenly I was introduced to the Gatorjack, a half-man half-gator hybrid whose aim was to make a chew toy out of the Gunstringer. I was thrown into a flashback, where we first see the Gunstringer before he was a wooden corpse. The level was thrown into a black-and-white world (or sepia, if you want to get technical), and my living Gunstringer was jumping over crocodiles, performing spin attacks and attacking basically everything that moved. The demo ended when I came across a lumberjack getting PG-13 with a crocodile.
As I am still not used to using the Kinect I found playing The Gunstringer a tad difficult. My arms were hurting after a few minutes of play, and I needed to truly move myself if I were to move the game's protagonist. I finally got it into my head to go at the game like I used to back when I was younger, moving around with the action going on around the screen, and finally the game started clicking with me. The Kinect was also reading my movements a lot better than before, as there was more room to maneuver in the booth than there was at PAX East.
With a July 13 release date for Ms. 'Splosion Man in the Xbox Live Arcade and a September retail release for The Gunstringer you can bet that Twisted Pixel will have your fingers working, arms flapping and funny bones tickled throughout the summer and fall seasons of 2011.