Review: Splasher (PS4)
A worker for the paint factory Inkorp has discovered a plot by the evil Docteur, the factory's boss. The hero takes it upon himself to save the factory and his friends using water and inks like stick and bounce.
- Three Inks to traverse levels
- Three modes: Standard, Standard/Selfish Speedrun, and Time Attack
OS: Windows 7+ 64-bit/ Mac OS X 10.8+ 64-bit/ Ubuntu 12.04+, SteamOS+64-bit
Processor: AMD Athlon IIX2 250 equivalent or more/ 3 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series equivalent or more
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 1300 MB available space
February 7, 2017 (PC)
September 26, 2017 (Switch, PS4, Xbox One)
PC, Mac, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Playdius, Plug In Digital
Genre: Platformer, Puzzle
In a market where games like Super Meat Boy and Portal have become popular for their difficulty and puzzle solving, platformers have become a place for gamers looking to punish themselves. There hasn’t been much new added to the genre that has made one think that there would be much to it besides running. However, Splasher has arrived on the scene, and thinks there can be some life added to the puzzle-platformer formula. Nobody would fault you for not hearing about Splasher until you started reading this review, and since you are here, you shall benefit greatly.
Violence: There is not much violence in Splasher, but when there is, it is cartoon-like and sometimes a little bloody. The main character faces many deadly obstacles in his path such as acid, lasers and buzz saws. When he or the other splashers, as the game calls them, are killed, there is some mild cartoon blood that splatters on objects in the world and the camera fades to black. There are some monsters you will need to defeat in order progress. They are are goofy looking and are not menacing in any manner and disappear in a puff of smoke.
Language/Crude Humor: The main villain, the Docteur, is portrayed as one of the spies from Spy vs Spy. He is not menacing, but he does appear to be flipping the bird at the hero when he rarely shows up. This gesture appears almost every time he is on screen and is shown beating the hero’s friend.
Drug/Alcohol Use: The Docteur appears to be smoking a cigar when you first see him. In a couple scenes you see the villain inject a substance into the factory workers that mutates them.
Positive Themes: It is worth noting that the whole game is a chase to stop the villain and save the hero’s friends. Nobody asks the hero to save anyone; he does so selflessly with no hesitation. The hero saves co-workers in peril on his way as well. He sees people in danger and helps them without regard to his own safety.
The plot of Splasher is straightforward and is presented much like a motion comic. There is no dialogue, just actions and the occasional bubble that shows anger (Note: the aforementioned rude gesture). Splasher is about a worker at the paint factory, Inkorp, who discovers that his co-workers are being experimented on. He then takes it upon himself to stop the experiments and the one performing them, the Docteur. This leads to a chase through twenty-two levels of platforming using different inks and saving co-workers along the way. There is nothing else to the story, but it’s not anything different from something like Super Mario Bros. or Super Meat Boy.
The gameplay is simple to learn and is about timing. You need to time your jumps, how fast you are running, when to use your inks, and how to best defeat enemies without dying. All aiming is done automatically for you but sometimes it won’t aim where you want it to. This can lead to multiple frustrating deaths, especially when you are on a good pace for that perfect Time Attack run.
There are three different game modes: Standard, Standard or Selfish Speedrun, and Time Attack. Standard mode is the main story campaign where you complete levels, collect gold drops, and save co-workers. Standard Speedrun is where you try to complete the story but are timed. Selfish Speedrun is like Standard Speedrun but saving coworkers and collecting gold drops are removed. Time Attack is where you compete against your own and others’ times on the leaderboard in order to see who is the fastest per level.
The level design is varied and shows off the abilities of the inks. There are levels where you will be dodging lasers, another where you will try to avoid acid pits, a couple where you are blown around by the wind, and another avoiding hoses and mutated monsters trying to wash away your ink. Each of the different things you are trying to avoid will then be mixed around and mashed together to create a platforming nightmare. The final level in particular is one to cause controller-smashing levels of frustration.
There are more positive things to be said about Splasher than you can say are negative. The levels are all well designed and can challenge your thinking more than the average platformer. The controls are easy to learn, and while the auto-aim is annoying sometimes it works well enough. There can be some levels that can be frustrating — the final level in particular — but that doesn’t discount Splasher too much. Splasher is a greatly designed game that you should definitely check out.
+ Easy to learn
+ Fun, fast platforming
+ Variety in level design
- Auto-aiming can be annoying
- Difficulty can be rage-inducing