Splasher - Review

Author: Mattia "Zave" Ravanelli
Date: 2020-07-30 17:49:54
Pure exaltation and brutal pissing. In Splasher, sliding from first to second is a matter of nothing, of a few frames, of a single wrong movement, of a moment's delay in giving the right input. Yet the Splash Team's debut game manages to find a practically perfect balance, continually playing with this subtle border between the two moods, thanks to a simple but effective, elegant and fun game system, although not particularly rich or long-lived on medium / long distance.

Splasher is a platform game, the first work of a French team consisting mainly of only two people and available on Steam, but whose quality should lead the way for potential future conversions for the console world, however still far from public declarations of any kind . For now, in short, if you want to enjoy this umpteenth son of a new and modern way of understanding platform games (which owes much of its approach to everything that came from Super Meat Boy forward), you need to turn to the PC universe .

The basic idea is transformed on the screen into a fast sequence of levels, twenty-two to be precise, characterized by a clean, colorful and round graphic style. Soft brush strokes that make Splasher as tasty as readable and not a trivial element, considering the need to have / be able to always understand what to do and how to do it. The protagonist of the game, inserted in a completely two-dimensional world and with a traditional scrolling from left to right, is strongly invited to reach the exit of each level, which represents one of the wings of the evil Inkorp from which he is desperately trying to escape. In the meantime, he can try to save a certain number of his peers, stuck in less diabolical points of the levels: only in this way can the word "Splash!" Be completed in each stage, almost a reference to the times of the 'Extend by Bubble Bobble.

It is not simply a way to say more or less good and / or to climb the rankings (which are actually based solely on the Speedrun mode, completely accessory): the various levels are unlocked upon reaching a certain number of poor people released with success. In reality, the experts of the genre will never find particular difficulties in storing the number of "hostages" and bringing them back to freedom: blocking, in this sense, is rather unlikely. Of course, it all depends on the skill and knowledge of the subject.

In Splasher you run, jump and, little by little, you start shooting colored ink. It actually starts with a simple jet of water, useful for knocking down the first enemies, activating some switches that, like the blades of a mill, need to be sprayed to rotate and raise or lower this or that platform. But advancing in the levels two different types of ink are made available: the red one allows the hero to cling and climb assorted walls and mechanisms, the yellow one to create areas on which to bounce furiously. The elegance of the Splasher level design, however, also leads to some tasty variants: so in some levels where the wind howls like a damned, the red ink thrown on the ground allows you not to be blown away, sticking to the platforms. The yellow one, on the other hand, proves to be the only one capable of pushing away the most armored enemies, making them hopefully end up eating some circular saw or very cruel laser.

The speed of the game is increasing at every level and so what starts as an all in all relaxed and tantalizing adventure turns into a half hell. It must be said that the level of difficulty is never particularly high and it undergoes a surge right in the very last stages, when it focuses on a frenzied rhythm and requires a promptness of reflexes and wisdom in the management of the inks that can sometimes discourage ... but that in the end it gives adrenaline rushes and satisfaction capable of repaying all the failures. It's a bit of a pity, in fact, that Splasher tends to become one of those platform games soon, more focused on speed than on the taste for exploration, but after all it's a matter of taste and expectations.

The alternative possibility of replaying each level, or all the levels in a row, forgetting the colleagues to be freed and concentrating on the time scored by the stopwatch helps to increase the longevity of a game that, otherwise, you risk completing in a few hours. . However, this remains the major limit of a game which, however, is also offered at an appropriate price (14.99 Euros - on offer in these launch days at 11.99 Euros). Even the design ideas, with regards to the levels and the enemies, tend to run out a bit quickly, but the final chapter is so incredibly cruel and enjoyable that you can safely turn a blind eye.

I played Splasher thanks to a download code obtained from the development team. In about 5 hours I reached the end of the last level, freeing about 130 of the 154 poor people stuck between the corridors and the rooms of the Inkorp.