The Splatters Review (Xbox Live Arcade)
Title: The Splatters
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Rated: E for Everyone
The Splatters are a band of acrobatic… let’s call them water balloons filled sludge. The point of any given level is to creatively eliminate all the bombs from the level by taking control of the Splatters and launching them across the play field. It is a physics based puzzle game, but offers a unique take on the way things play. The Splatters is broken into three different game modes, Combo Nation, Become a Talent, and Master Shots. Below we will break down these game modes.
In Become a Talent, a mode you must finish in order to unlock the other two, you will learn all of your Splattering abilities and techniques as you play. Each level, though the layout is the same, is split into two or three different puzzles, adding more bombs, and more Splatters to the mix. After every few levels, you will earn a new ability. Abilities range from the air shot, to the ballistics shot, and each new move can afford you what you need to not only progress through the game but also go back and earn a higher star rating on earlier levels. Chaining all of these tricks and stunts together is key to getting you in position to blow up as many bombs as possible. The more bombs you blow in one combo, the higher your score multiplier climbs.
Combo Nation, while it plays the same as Become a Talent, offers a slight variation on the way things are set up. The bombs in this mode are set up so that you can reach maximum potential on stunts and running up that combo meter. This in turn offers more spectacular eye candy for you to enjoy. Again, each level is broken into two or three portions, offering even more chances to rack up the points.
Master Shot is probably the most unique game mode. It offers only one Splatter for you to use, and in turn sets specific goals in order for you to advance. Some may require you to break your Splatter on a set of spikes, for example. Master Shots probably offers the most replay value, due to the different tasks you have to accomplish away from just getting to the bombs, and making them all go away.
The game has some online components, a leader board, and the like, of course. But The Splatters also comes with Splatter TV. With Splatter TV, gamers can upload some of their best shots to the server for all to view. If you are having trouble getting through an area, perhaps you can look here for a bit of help to avoid using the “show me a good path” button.
Though The Splatters is a highly addictive physics based puzzle game, it’s not perfect. For instance, when your star meter reaches three stars for the first time, the game will slow down, and zoom in on the stars, causing you to miss what is going on onscreen. That can pretty much eliminate your third star, and cause you to have to restart. Another place where things can get frustrating is the Splatters themselves can be somewhat unpredictable. At times you can lose control of them, and the cursor will highlight a new Splatter before you even get a chance to use up all possible moves for the one you have. The amount of sludge they have in them is never really the same either. Small ones can be full of plenty of liquid, while larger ones can sometimes have almost nothing.
Finally, while the game is addictive, and a lot of fun to play, I wish it would have had more variations on the playing areas. Everything level is basically an oblong circle with certain new obstacles thrown in in an attempt to keep it fresh. It works to an extent, but then you realize that each game mode is fairly short. I played through the entirety of Become a Talent in just a couple of hours. Once you have three stars on each level, there isn’t much to keep your interest. Of course this could be alleviated with some DLC, which I will look forward to checking out.
+ Addictive, fun, physics base puzzler
+ Master Shots!
+ Easy to pick up and play
– Lack of consistency between shots can cause some frustration.
– More level variations would have been nice.
The Splatters offers a great gameplay experience. There is plenty of fun on display, and as far as physics based puzzlers go, this one makes unique use of the mechanics. I would have liked to have seen more levels, and perhaps some more shapes on the board aside from circular variations. Overall, The Splatters offers plenty of bang for your buck, with three game modes. Master Shots is where most of your time will probably be spent, as it is fun and challenging.