Abused by Beard

When Portal 2 came out earlier this year, one of the many praises lauded upon the game was how smart you'd often feel after completing a puzzle.

When I complete a level in Ms. Splosion Man, however, I don't feel smart as much as I feel like I just completed the gaming equivalent of a Tough Mudder course.

Twisted Pixel's first XBLA game, The Maw, was basically you taking your one-eyed freak of a pet for a walk as it eats everything and everyone in sight.  It was a cute little casual game that had a colorful art style and a silly sense of humor that I can appreciate.  It was incredibly easy, though, and I can only imagine the Xbox community told them as much in their typical fashion, with all the tact of the Sargent from Full Metal Jacket.  Twisted Pixel seemed to respond in kind



because every game they've made since has been about as casual and relaxing as a fraternity haze.

At this point in my life, I usually avoid games that are notoriously punishing.  It started with Ninja Gaiden Sigma a few years ago.  I'm not saying it was a bad game, but it was a rental and I just wasn't getting into it at the time.  But I didn't like quitting games before reaching the end, or knocking the difficulty down to easy (I took it as the game "beating me" instead of the other way around), so I drudged through wave after wave of enemies that respawned every time I doubled back, along with the traditional Japanese bosses that require over 9,000 hits to defeat.  When I reached that tower at the end, though...you remember Indiana Jones' reaction when that giant, bald Nazi showed up in Raiders?

It was like that, except I hopped off the plane, flipped him off and walked away (which actually worked out better for everyone in the end).

It's different with Twisted Pixel games, though.  That dumb humor that I mentioned earlier is so right up my alley that I can tolerate the emotional beating it keeps dishing out.  Ms. Splosion Man literally starts with the developer telling gaming's biggest engine to bring it.  Every time I'm ready to tell her to piss off for good, she quotes some Schwarzenegger movie or dances a jig, makes me smile again, and I eventually come crawling back.  Basically, Twisted Pixel has become the Ike to my Tina.


Oh come on, baby!  You know I was just playin'.