Review – Explosionade DX
Explosionade DX, developed by Mommy’s Best Games, is a bit of a mixed bag. While it has some decent gun and grenade-based gameplay, the story and writing feel as they were completed without much thought or editing. The controls are quite difficult and not easy to manage, especially when on the go in handheld mode.
It kicks off with the main character, Terry Atticus, finding a mech prototype called GrenaDos in a military base garage and disappears into the sewers to try it out. In the process, he discovers that the current Horronym invasion is no longer coming from the main lines where all of the soldiers are deployed, but from the sewers. As the player progresses, the grenades and gun on the mech along with a shield are the only thing preventing certain death.
The Horronym aliens along with sewer bats and other enemies all have different ways to combat the mech with guns, bombs and blocker shields. There are also seeker rocket turrets and other special enemies to avoid. As the player progresses, bosses will present a new but simple enough challenge. Due to the limited shield available before a recharge is needed the player will want to use a bit of strategy in order to avoid big damage during boss fights.
In the GrenaDos Terry has a few tools at his disposal. The machine gun has unlimited ammo and is easy to aim and fire at the basic Horronym’s and sewer bats that do not have a shield. Grenades can be used for either killing enemies or blowing up walls in order to progress. They will bounce if the ZR button is held or become sticky grenades if the button is released. The bubble shield is used for protection from enemies and projectiles. Hold the ZL shield button at the end of a jump in order to shield bounce with your mech to get too hard to reach places. Finding piles of gold repairs the GrenaDos armour. Ten piles of gold grant the Grenade Cascade skill for thirty seconds, which gives the mech unlimited grenades. If a kill is made, then the thirty seconds is extended.
Levels are completed by shooting a barrier at the end and falling through the floor that opens. Bonus points are given for finishing the level within thirty seconds as well as for clearing out all or no enemies. There are three difficulty levels to complete in Chilled, Normal and Serious. The Chilled mode is recommended for new players of this type of platform shooter while Normal has a decent uplift in enemies and the intelligence of them. Death will happen but less frequently than in Serious mode. This mode will test the most die-hard of players and is crazy with consistent danger throughout. Finishing the sixty available levels will be extremely difficult.
Many issues plague Explosionade DX and killed the fun. It is littered with putrid writing and storytelling, with jokes that do not land well and are quite frankly not funny. The Shield Bounce mechanic is hard to use as the jumping physics do not appear to be the same each time. One jump and angle can be a different result from the same jump on the next attempt. Jumping and using the shield also slows down the mech mid-air making this hard to master. Each level seems to be the same type without many varieties throughout the sixty levels available. The bosses are easy to figure out and do not change up tactics with each playthrough. The controls are not mapped correctly for a handheld title and make long playtimes not enjoyable with hand cramps happening for this reviewer in handheld mode. With a pro controller the cramping is not as much of an issue but still noticeably uncomfortable. Finally, scores are unable to post to the leader board when offline, which makes exiting a playthrough harder than it should be. There needs to be an option to skip this process when offline.
One bright spot for Explosionade DX is the art and music of the world. The hand drawn levels and the mech itself have a good level of detail. The music matches the urgency around both the boss levels and the different types of situations. That being said, the menus are paltry and look like they could have used a bit more time for polishing or innovative thinking.
The game does support multiplayer with a second player able to join the game at any time. The pause menu is available if any parenting duties arise and can be resumed quite easily. While there are some animated blood spatters, this game is relatively harmless and can be played with kids aged 12+.
Rob for One More Game
5 – Average – This game doesn’t hit it out of the ball park but it does provide a solid experience, with a few issues here and there. As an average game, fans of the genre or series may get more enjoyment out of it, but it’s worth a try for the average gamer, at a discount price.
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A review code was kindly provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review for the Nintendo Switch. It is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S | X platforms. Our thoughts are ours and ours alone.