Almost every game does something right; whether it’s a fantastic new engine or physics, creative and quirky design, or interesting and challenging levels in which to experience it all, but to truly leave a mark a game needs to do everything right. After playing The Splatters a few dozen times and watching those colorful blobs explode and stain the screen, this could easily be one of those games. It’s launching on April 11 and it needs to be on your radar. Coming into GDC, I wasn’t too familiar with The Splatters or its developer Spiky Snail, an Israeli company founded in 2010 by two childhood friends. Yet throughout the week I keep finding myself wanting to come back and play more.
Players take control of these blob-like creatures and attempt to destroy bombs by exploding their splatter, releasing a paint like substance and coating the bombs in the paint. The basic controls are incredibly simple, as the left analog stick points the direction and the A button launches the splatter. Holding A will result in the splatter launching with enough force to cause it to explode should it come into contact with a wall or spikes, while lightly tapping the button will allow it to move locations. Players can change direction in midair both before exploding and after exploding through this same mechanic. The beginning levels have a few stages and slowly introduce basic mechanics. Every splatter that is still alive after completing a stage will continue to the next one until the end of the level where they will add points to a players score.
In similar fashion to a game like Angry Birds, players will attempt to use their splatters to destroy all the objects on screen and will receive a score of up to three stars based on their performance. In order to truly excel in this game, players will need to utilize numerous stunts and combos. For example on one of the earlier levels I played, the left end of the screen had a slide that would allow me to fly at it, gain speed, and then launch myself in an entirely different direction. Players can merge two of their splatters to create a massive splatter that will explode even larger. The game employs a limited rewind mechanic that will allow for some last minute corrections to give even more control to players. There are numerous stunts listed in the game and players will need to grow accustomed to using all of them in order to challenge for the top leaderboard spot.
The game employs a replay feature that will allow players to look up any top score in order to watch how they beat a level. It wasn’t until I watched a few of these that I truly understood all the depth there was to this game. I can’t wait to see what crazy combinations players bring to the table once this game launches.
Once players progress through the basic levels, the game splits into two additional modes focusing on differing aspects of the game: puzzles and action. One requires players to do skill shots in order to complete the level using a single splatter and specific stunts, which are designated on screen by clouds that form an image designating which stunt should be used where. The other mode encourages as much comboing as possible focusing on quick action.
In the end, the game looks to be highly addictive and sadly a bit of a XBLA dark horse at the moment despite being a PAX 10 and IGF Finalist. Judging by our time with it a GDC, we can’t wait for April 11.