The Splatters Review
Game: The Splatters
Developer: SpikySnail Games
Publisher: SpikySnail Games
Available on: Xbox LIVE Arcade Only
A physics puzzler based around committing suicide sounds, on paper, a disastrous and rather sick concept, but that is what The Splatters is all about. Dying in the most spectacular fashion possible is the order of the day, with a combination of wilful abandon and explosives. Thankfully this excellent début title from Israeli indie SpikySnail is as light hearted an affair as a Worms title, or indeed an Angry Birds game; an obvious touchstone in terms of gameplay.
The Splatters are loveable anthropomorphic blobs, whose aim in life is to die in the most awesome way they possibly can, by hurtling themselves at bombs in each of the game’s colourful environments, making sure to aim at bombs of their own chosen colour. This is where you come in. You can cycle between any of the Splatters in play, and then aim them using the analogue stick, before letting them fly in your chosen direction with the press of a button. Each stage features clusters of bombs, which trigger when the Splatters come into contact with them. Performing crazy stunts with your Splatter gives you higher scores, and there are three different star rankings for each level depending on how highly you score. You can only progress to the next area by touching, and therefore eliminating, all of the bombs.
To start off you can only aim and fire the loveable squishy chaps, altering power and direction, but the more stages you clear, the more stunts and techniques you can unlock. These abilities range from being able to “double jump”, once your blob has hit an object, you can send it veering off again when the direction arrow turns blue, to a cool “dive bomb” attack which can be used in combination with the double jump, meaning that in one turn your chosen blob can effectively move three times, each with a different trajectory, clearing up a nice stack of bombs.
Extra techniques are introduced gradually, and after a clutch of training stages the game really opens up, with some larger, more complex challenges that will require a great deal of thought, not to mention precision, to beat. It isn’t easy, some levels will frustrate you in that you know what you need to do, but cannot time it quite right or get the dive bomb or double movement in at the right moment, luckily there is a handy in-game tutorial which shows you how to complete a stage, even if it doesn’t do it for you! There are excellently placed checkpoints too, so on lengthier stages you won’t need to worry about restarting the entire level if you manage to negotiate the earlier stages with aplomb. It is a sensible and fair system.
There are some other nice features too, like being able to upload your best and most gruesome exploding blob combos to a “Splatters TV” channel, also an excellent resource to see how others approach certain stages. It feels pretty cool racking up an insane combo, involving beautifully choreographed Splatter destruction, and then showing it off to the world. There are also points leaderboards for each and every stage, and the promise of additional downloadable content; although it is not specified what.
VERDICT: With a genuinely funny “gameshow” style setting, the game looks and sounds terrific, with some charming facial expressions on the charismatic Splatters, and some quirky squeaking, squealing sound effects. Despite the premise it is a joyous little game, that will provide plenty of entertainment for all ages.
At just 800 Microsoft Points this is a bargain. It is very easy to pick up, and extremely fun to play with a rewarding and sensibly balanced learning curve. SpikySnail have done a terrific job of providing an Angry Birds/Cut The Rope style game for the Xbox LIVE service.