Review – The Splatters

Review The Splatters
Gathering fragments from the storyline offered, Splatters are some hybrid race that is half booger and half Angry Bird (alternate title for game: Angry Boogs), and they’re filled with a liquid that can detonate like-colored bombs.

Knowing they are not long for this world, and that the sight of said bombs bursting in air will bring much enjoyment to others, they decide to record themselves while confined in a framework made of random household objects tied together, and stylishly fling their bodies at these bombs in one last mutually destructive hurrah.


Review The Splatters
The strangest part is that most of the above is actually true. In fact, one of the prominent features of The Splatters is the ability to upload and share your most splatter-filled runs with others, through the Splatter TV feature, which functions as both a ceaseless supply of colorful snuff films and a tutorial for how to perform particularly dazzling chains of tricks.

I mentioned Angry Birds earlier, but only because this game also features colorful mascots with annoying voices who get launched with reckless abandon in order to complete a level for which the player will be awarded up to three stars based on his or her score, but honestly, The Splatters is a different game, and for the better.

For example, the quickest way to hate The Splatters is to walk into it thinking you’re supposed to launch them directly at the bombs, when in reality, the goal is to perform a bunch of tricks in order to build up enough speed to burst upon impact with a nearby barrier, showering all the bombs, scenery, and fellow Splatters with the colorful liquid inside.

Not unlike Super Meat Boy, the player’s multiple failures are documented in the form of staining the level with bits of the characters, which is interesting, as The Splatters also lends itself to the idea of repeatedly trips through a level.


Launching a Splatter in the air is only the beginning of its end – each Splatter has more mid-air tricks than a Smash Brother, and they all have some sort of blurry slow motion effect tied to them. For each launch, the player has 3 chances to change a Splatter’s direction mid-air, and that’s not even including the rewind button.

The game sports a rewind function that is as intriguing as its name is deceptive. Time still moves forward, and objects retain all of their momentum gained or lost, but the direction of every moving object switches to its exact opposite. The game’s respect for the laws of physics and utter disregard for those of time travel take some getting used to, but they lend themselves to some of the most complex tricks in the game; rewinds turn slides into halfpipes and Splatters into wacky extend-o-hands that reach across a level to engulf a bomb, only to fling the both of them back to a more favorable area of the level with the mere press of a trigger button.

Review The Splatters
Certainly, the myriad of tricks that can (and must) be performed in The Splatters has a learning curve tied to it, but then it becomes an arsenal that can be used to clear a level in any number of ways, and not just the one hinted at by the come-hither gold trinkets that light the suggested path like so many coins, bananas, or golden rings.

Speaking of golden rings, in The Splatters, you really do “gotta go fast” – the game has a crazy sense of speed that is reflected not only in its visuals and sound, but also in its gameplay; take too much time to consider a shot, and the combo multiplier will reset. This, in theory, is a great way to raise the tempo of the game, but unfortunately, this combo timer continues while, after clearing a level, more Splatters and bombs are being set up, requiring the player to either memorize a level’s setup or blindly perform any trick as soon as the level is set up just to keep the combo going.

There is something about the characters’ faces in The Splatters that makes me want to punch them if it didn’t mean getting my hand covered in a bunch of goop in the process, but maybe that is part of the reason that it is so fun to launch them all to their explosive deaths. If you’re a fan of distorted physics or colorful things exploding, this is definitely a title worth checking out.


Developer
SpikySnail Games

Publisher
Microsoft Game Studios

System
Xbox 360 (Xbox LIVE Arcade)

Modes
Singleplayer

Release Date
April 11, 2012

Price
800 Microsoft Points

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review

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