The Splatters Review (XBLA)
Posted by Jim Cook, Apr 12, 2012 10:23
The Splatters is a pretty easy game to explain, as it gives you control of several cartoon-style gel blobs called Splatters; their goal in life is to leap at bombs that match the blob’s color. The only real ’problem’ (and where most of the fun lies) is that their targets are in hard to reach places, so it’s the player’s job to guide each Splatter around obstacles. Success lets you ignite bombs, rewarding the player with a very brief ’fireworks of gel’ display and progress to the next stage where you do it all over again. That’s a simple idea, but it works.
Generally played from a 2D view, the game drops a series of Splatters onto the level and lets you know which one you’re currently controlling. It’s then up to you to aim their leap, determine how much power is put behind it, and figure out which cluster of bombs to hit; you’ll have to get every single one in order to complete the stage. The earliest stages follow this ’aim, leap, splash the bombs’ formula precisely, but you gain new stunt techniques every so often. These stunts let Splatters do things like ’re-jump’ in another direction while already airborne, reverse their momentum (particularly handy if they’re on a slide to build up speed), and divebomb at targets in order to spread their gel splash further. This keeps things fresh, since by the time you get bored with one stunt a new one will come along.
For all this talk of making Splatters slam themselves against bombs, the graphics and gameplay are pretty family-friendly. Their targets do explode (that’s the point of the game), but the titular cartoon blobs are clearly having fun and want to do this. There is even a vague television show theme around this, which plays into a game mechanic: you get unlimited tries to finish any given level. If you run out of Splatters for any given color of bomb (only blue Splatters can ignite blue bombs, red to red, and so on) then the game simply resets part of the stage and has you try again. Checkpoint saves are used after every few sets of bombs, so even inexperienced players can gradually work their way to the end without having to completely restart the level.
The only real problem with this formula is that as a puzzle game with a strong emphasis on physics, it demands a lot of precision. There will be times where you obviously have the right idea, but your jump is just the tiniest bit off and the resulting gel splatter ignites all but one bomb (there are often as many as twenty in a bomb stack)... which isn’t good enough, so the stage will checkpoint-reset and you have to try again. This can happen several times until you find the exact right angle and combination of stunts to hit every bomb, and it feels cheap. That said, most instances like this will be overcome in a matter of minutes so you won’t be stuck for absurd lengths of time.
Rating: 0.0, votes: 0