Super Spatters began life on XBLA, where it was known as The Splatters, and received a pretty warm welcome. Now that SpikySnail Games have brought their gooey goodness to the PC, does it warrant the same reaction? Well… yes, because it’s essentially identical to the original. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Super Splatters is a physics-based puzzle game, featuring sentient blobs of coloured goo which the player must catapult about the level to destroy little clusters of bombs. To do this, the little critters must unfortunately sacrifice themselves, as their juice-filled insides are the catalytic substance required to ignite the explosives. The game gives it a nice spin by turning the whole thing into a TV show, complete with viewership ratings and increasing levels of fame. You are guided along the way by The Master (a blob guru, if you will), who teaches your gelatinous gang of creatures how to perform various stunts known as Master Shots.
These trick shots are the name of the game and are the key to getting high ratings, combos and ultimately increasing your fame. Some of these stunts are incredibly satisfying, such as the ballistic shot which rockets your blobs across the map, ending with a huge burst of explosive liquid. Other tricks that you pick up along the way include the airburst, a sort of mid-air boost, and the second shot, which allows another chance to fire your globule after impact. Correct use of these skills, and combining them with others, earns you big points and it’s very enjoyable to string combos together.
Super Splatters is split across 3 Worlds, with 6 levels a piece featuring 4 stages in each. It is laid out in such a way that it’s very easy to dive in, play a few stages and leave for a while; exactly the way it should be for a game like this. Most of the earlier levels begin with tutorials focusing on a new type of shot that can then be used in the Master Shot and Combo Rush stages. The former requires you to carry out a series of specific tricks while destroying the bombs, and the latter requires you to maintain a minimum combo over the course of several rounds.
Repetitiveness can begin to set in after a while, especially after all the master shots have been learned, as the game has nothing to offer apart from increasing difficulty. It does attempt to up the ante with different shades of goo that can only detonate their corresponding colour bombs, but it’s not quite enough. Still, it remains pretty engaging and fun, and finding new ways to complete a level with different combinations of stunts can be quite rewarding.
Although the fluid physics are excellently realised, allowing you to accurately predict where you’re going to make it rain blast-inducing gloop, it’s seems an awful lot of success comes down to luck. Trying the same pattern three times might yield completely different results, and sometimes you may find yourself blindly flinging your suicidal friends about the level in the hope of passing by pure chance. Combo Rush stages are almost reduced to pure trial-and-error, particularly in the later, more difficult levels. It’s frustrating, but not enough to turn you away.
A nice feature of the game is the SplatterTV, which allows you to upload your proudest clips for the whole world to see. Perfectly integrated into the game menu, it can be very useful when stuck on a stage. Simply open SplatterTV from the pause menu, view a selection of videos from the current level, and snap back to the action to mimic the strategy. With the previously mentioned inconsistencies in gameplay, it’s not always that easy but it can at least point you in the right direction.
The aesthetic presentation is quite unique, falling somewhere between standard CGI and claymation. It works very well and gives the globs a delightful, tangible characteristic. The level themes are nice but don’t offer anything noteworthy, while the same can be said for the audio. The whole game, with its vibrant colours, fireworks and detonations, just oozes cheerfulness.
VERDICT: Overall, Super Splatters is very good at what it does, but what it does isn’t revolutionary. It bears some obvious similarities to certain mobile games, such as Angry Birds, but doesn’t come close to matching them on any level, and one could argue it might be more suited to that platform. Sure it kills some time – quite efficiently, actually – but its inherent frustrations and lack of ingenuity make it hard to strongly recommend.
DECENT. A 6/10 indicates that, while this game could be much better, it still has a fair amount to offer the player. It might be an interesting title sabotaged by its own ambition, or a game denied greater praise by some questionable design choices. Don’t avoid it outright, but approach it with caution.