Secret of the Ooze –
So I have been playing The Splatters for hours now and I still have no idea what the hell is going on…
The player flicks boogers that burst into a liquid when smashed against a surface. This liquid then must make contact with bombs to make them explode but only if the proper color is matched up; red goo can ignite red bombs, for example. Even though the learning curve takes time to understand, actually reaching the goal of exploding all bombs on-screen relies on one part skill and one part luck. The randomness and multiple ways to complete each stage can offer a challenge that can frustrate but can also satisfy that puzzle itch that can be hard to scratch.
Without question, The Splatters is a unique game that offers more depth than Angry Birds. Trying to blow up all the bombs is challenging enough but the game encourages creativity and trial and error. Like a racing game, the fun comes from how to reach the finish line instead of merely just crossing it. To keep gameplay from growing stale, the player has a wealth of abilities in which to control the little goobers. These abilities, like readjusting trajectory mid-flight or rewinding time, are dubbed Stunts and all increase the score multiplier. Linking stunts rewards a higher score which yields a higher place on the Leaderboards. And with more than one way to complete each stage, the Leaderboards should retain constant heated competition.
Taking a note from Peggle, the game can also keep track of your actions via the Splatter TV option found on the main menu and can save gameplay in movie format for the rest of the online community to see. Seeing how that top player earned that high score is a nifty feature that offers a constant learning experience if players are so inclined. It is also worth noting that this is one of the first Arcade titles to offer a higher amount of unlockable Achievements as well. And if players become frustrated with specific levels, the built-in Help option provides a tutorial video on how to complete a level New Super Mario Bros. style. But some puzzles still prove challenging even after witnessing a winning solution.
The soundtrack is actually quite catchy and fits the mood of the game. Some of the more challenging stages are bound to frustrate players but the music is actually friendly enough to help calm the potential rage. With limited camera scrolling, each stage usually fits within the screen. But because strategically flicking boogers can become an addicting habit, players might not even realize that a tennis shoe or a piece of fruit is acting as a boarder to the left side of a stage; I was so focused on the quirky gameplay that I had to stop and actually acknowledge the unique objects found in the background. Using a shoe or a dolphin for the boarder doesn’t really make sense but fit the quirkiness nonetheless.
There are some issues with The Splatters that hold back the overall experience. More often than not, the amount of liquid that splatters from the flying boogers is random at best and often times the game will move control to the next launchable booger while still in the control of the current booger. Overall, the game seems to have an unfair advantage over the player due to the inconsistency and randomness of the rules to the gameplay; replaying a level a few dozen times just to complete it will undoubtedly frustrate some players.
While I would not say that The Splatters is the best game ever, it is definitely an unexpected pleasant surprise. It is a different type of puzzle game that should easily please fans of Peggle and Angry Birds as opposed to Tetris and Dr. Mario players. But the downside of being unique is getting players to understand the learning curve… and I still have no idea what the hell is going on. But sometimes being confused can be fun.
Better Than: a wet-willie
Also Try: RooGoo
Wait For It: DLC or a level creator
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