Super Splatters is an up-port of the 360-exclusive The Splatters. After playing this new version, it’s evident that PC is where this game always belonged. I loved the 360 title, and the added finesse that a mouse allows makes Super Splatters even better.
Everything that I enjoyed about the 360 game is present on the PC: physics-based puzzles disguised as a game show, score chasing for star ranking in each level (along with leaderboards) and fun stunts that are not only fun to execute, but required to solve some levels as well. The goal of any level is simple: use the Splatters to explode all of the bombs. If you’re boring, or in the tutorial, this can be done as simply as launching your Splatter at the bombs, watching him lose cohesion and coat the bombs in goo and then watching the fireworks go off. In later levels, though, it’s not uncommon to see a Splatter half-jump onto a slide, change direction mid-air to hit some spikes and then flip back and forth until he loses cohesion to rain goo onto the unsuspecting bombs below.
Some stunts, like the aforementioned flip (reverses the momentum of all physics objects) and air strike (change direction mid-air), are initiated by the player. Others, like sniper or rainy day trigger (when a Splatter impales itself on spikes for the amusement of the audience and to drizzle explosive goo on everything), is granted when you use a Splatter to detonate a bomb that is far away. Just like in the 360 release, these stunts chain together, so you’re rewarded for precision as well as speedy play. After all, those stunts are more impressive to the audience if you don’t need a ton of time to pull them off.
In addition to the standard levels, there are Combo Nation stages, in which the goal is to rack up as large a combo as possible; and Master Shots, in which your arsenal is reduced to a single Splatter whose run must clear every bomb from the board. Both of these new level types use the same mechanics as the main mode, and it’s refreshing just how differently those mechanics feel when the goal is spun a little bit.
One of my favorite features, though, is Splatter TV. It’s not uncommon to see levels of games posted to video sharing services, but that function is built right into Super Splatters. If you’re having trouble with a level, there’s no need to search the level name on an external site. Simply bring up Splatter TV, filter by the appropriate level type and see what the masters are doing. It’s amazing to see the different strategies and stunt combinations that never occurred to me, and having that function built into the game make it accessible. It also means that I’m never going to find levels with horrible music laid over top of it.
Super Splatters is everything a physics puzzler should be. It’s challenging without being frustrating, the game modes are varied and the balance rewards player skill rather than luck. You can get through the early levels by throwing Splatters right at the bombs, but in later levels (and if you want a high spot on the leaderboards), you’re going to start using multiple slides and flips for points before air-striking at distant spikes to finally rain down on some bombs. The path is indirect but stylish, and when you’re going for stars, number of stunts far outranks efficiency. You’ll keep playing for just one more level, and after all the levels are done you’ll keep coming back for just one more run to move up on the leaderboard.
Pros: Rewards great play rather than punishes mistakes, has interesting and varied levels
Cons: Screen can get overly cluttered, menus are clearly designed for consoles