Xbox360/Xbox One/Xbox One X

Game Review: Splasher (Xbox One)

When you get a code to try out the newest game coming out on the market, you say yes. And when it’s on the XBOX One, you don’t ask questions and just install and dive in head first.

The game is Splasher, from The Side Kicks and developer Splashteam, and simply put it is a challenging 2D platformer with wild humor and surprises behind every corner. While the game has been a hit on Steam since February 2017, it has just recently made its way to console, and based on feedback from the internet, it has been a successful transition.

I hadn’t heard much about the game Splasher, but once I started the game I was hooked. The game starts you out with a punch to the senses with loud action packed music and vibrant imagery of your Splasher in action… now all you have to do is press (X).

Splasher follows the story of a hazard custodian (known as a Splasher), who works for an ink making company called Inkorp. During a shift, your Splasher comes across the evil boss of Inkorp, Docteur, performing various experiments on other Splashers. In a mad panic, your Splasher makes his escape from being caught, but within it vows to find a way to take down Docteur and free his fellow Splashers from a grim fate.

The general gameplay has your Splasher navigating through the level selection menu, which is basically the entire factory broken up into various doors locked up until you pass the level before it. The levels are scattered around the factory so sometimes you have to find your way to the door you are looking for while avoiding pitfalls (lasers for one). Many sections require the use of a special skill you obtain, such as the use of a water gun to activate push levers or the ability to stick to a wall to reach, and usually the pitfalls around a level door indicates commonly what is needed in order to reach that one. The best part is running up to the reception desk where the receptionist is sleeping and repeatedly “ding” the bell for service….she can get so irritable and say some funny things.

Each level allows you to play and replay as many times as you wish once unlocked, and once you have played through the level once you will unlock the ability to play the level in a speed run mode (which requires ultimate precision to complete).

The general gameplay speaks for itself, has you utilize the need to jump and/or shoot at specific times throughout the level to accomplish specific goals such as reaching a trapped Splasher or avoiding dangerous pitfalls (laser, spinning blades, flying inkballs) and enemies. The game requires a lot of precise skill in planning out timing and what is required in order to avoid dying. For example, there are enemies that need to be tricked into falling into the deadly ink goo pools because stepping on them is deadly to your Splasher, so you need to convince them to run at you but you also need to jump out of the way just in time. Or even more, is that at times you have to jump then shoot and jump again quickly to advance up a wall but avoid the traps below, and if you don’t have quick fingers….you die!

Some of the levels move at your pace, which gives you time to strategize on what you need to do, and some are like timed trials where you have to strategize on the go and pre-plan for the unexpected. Timed trial type of gaming gets my adrenaline going, but also is one that I absolute hate because while you are trying to avoid the uncertain death that is coming for you from behind (or in this case usually deadly ink goo from below), you have to constantly look ahead to see what enemies or pitfalls are before you. Many times its too late cause you are already jumping, and now your dead… ugh!! I had so many finger cramps and hot controller buttons after one of those.

At least the nice part of the game is that your Splasher essentially has unlimited lives and just magically pops back into the level and you try again.

Luckily every once in awhile there is a checkpoint, which allows you to continue the level from that point on should you die. And trust me this is very useful when you are at a tricky part in the level and have died more than a dozen times. I really was hoping for more checkpoints in many levels, because it always seemed that I would finally finish a difficult section just to die right before the next checkpoint….sometimes it just makes you want to cry.

The controls in the game are really easy, thumbsticks to move your Splasher around, and as your advance in the game your Splasher will gain the ability to use various guns that can be used to solve the puzzles and complete the levels. Interestingly enough, each gun is color coded to match the button on the XBOX controller that you use to active its abilities:



The game beyond the need to get from start to finish also has various ways to score your achievements.

In each level, there are enough Splashers hidden throughout that need to be found and each counts as a letter in the word SPLASHER. Depending on what letter of the word you found, it lets you know if you have missed one along your travels or not. Many of them are in awkward locations that requires some strategy to figure out how to retrieve them whether that be to kill an enemy that is guarding them, or even finding one of the hidden warp zones in each level that will have you taking down a horde of enemies in order to release a trapped Splasher from a locked cage. The “R” Splasher is the last one you will find locked in a golden lock cage at the end of the level, and in order to free him you need to deposit “golden ink” into the droplet holder by the cage.

Golden ink is another main part of the game and it is a very important part of succeeding in the game. Throughout each level you at times will find golden ink on walls or the floor, spray one of your guns at it to collect it. When you defeat/kill and enemy, you are awarded golden ink. There is always a “sunbeam” hiding within the level that gives you super amounts of golden ink, so always make sure to find that. And even when you save a fellow Splasher, you get golden ink. This all pools together and must be dropped off at the droplet at the level end. Most cages require 700 droplets of golden ink, and if you complete the level in full…you will actually have 705-715 droplets of golden ink which is more than enough. The extra golden ink supply does not carry forward to other levels unfortunately.

Based on how many Splashers you find and especially on how much golden ink you deposit, determines you score and how many stars out of 3 you achieved. Cue the achievement whore gamers and completion gamers who must always have 3 stars on every level.

And as usual, XBOX has its assorted in game achievements to better your gamer score….there are a lot of Secret Achievements in this game so it may take a lot of extra effort to find out what all of them are. One of the achievements is to not die in a level….ummm are you kidding me!!! I looked at a spiky goo the wrong way and literally seemed to just fly into it just because.

This game is highly addictive and it is like Super Meat Boy meets Portal. The application of guns shooting various items of which are used to transport you to other places in the level or solve puzzles along with the rapid paced platforming environment in a cartoonish style is appealing to all the senses. I am truly addicted!!

I highly recommend adding this gem to your gaming library no matter what platform of gaming you specialize in. It is one intense ride that you will not want to get off of once you start.

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