Quick look, Review

Review: Blaster Master Zero

Game: Blaster Master Zero

Developer: Inti Creates

Publisher: Inti Creates

Platforms: 3DS, Switch (reviewed)

Release Date: March 3rd, 2017 (Jap) March 9th, 2017 (US EU)

Price: $9.99

Blaster Master released for the NES back in 1988. As I wasn’t even a thought in the 80’s I didn’t pick up the Sunsoft title until sometime in the late 90’s. My number one memory of Blaster Master was its difficulty. I mean, maybe I’m overplaying it, I was a kid after all. I don’t recall getting past the third or fourth area in the original. So when Blaster Master Zero came out on the Nintendo Switch, I couldn’t wait to dive in, once I was done with Zelda of course.17362773_1482790535066635_1101775072318594247_n

Blaster Master Zero keeps the more absurd parts of the original titles setup. You play as a young man named Jason, who on some future mutant infested version of earth, stumbles upon a frog he names Fred. Fred jumps down a hole leading to a massive underground facility. In said facility, Jason locates Sophia III, a tank with some impressive firepower, along with a mysterious girl named Eve. With Eve and Sophia III, Jason begins his journey to find Fred, and inevitably stop the evil mutants.

Zero has that old Metroid feel, that I love. You’ll move across a 2D plane both in and out of your tank in search of mutants to fight and upgrades for both Jason and the tank. Upgrades and maps for each area are usually found in caves that can only be entered while on foot. Once you enter these zones, you’ll shift to a top-down perspective that is, unfortunately, Blaster Master Zero’s greatest weakness.17457383_1482790215066667_1579743541823612364_n

I never thought the top-down segments of the original Blaster Master were especially fun, and that remains true in Zero.  Don’t get me wrong, the sprite and environment designs are nice but the gameplay is unchallenging and sort of dull. You gain a vast amount of weapons throughout your journey and the way weapon use is tied to your current hit points forces you to fluctuate your weapon use, but the enemies aren’t very challenging. I’d much rather play more in tank mode, and unfortunately for me, only about two out of the nine bosses are fought in Sophia III.

The early parts of Zero are essentially an exact remake of the original game as far as I can tell. As I progressed through later areas with ease, I started to wonder if later areas had been dumbed down. After some research, It seems entire areas had, in fact, been retooled. Mostly beneficial improvements were made, the map is a bit more guiding about your next objective but you have access to no mini-map, so it doesn’t feel too coddling. Checkpoints are also more abundant, fall damage is still very punishing outside of the tank, so be careful.

For anyone with familiar with the Inti Creates Megaman inspired game Gunvolt, the inspiration in the art is clear as day.17362565_1482790915066597_3499186190672335031_n

Blaster Master Zero is a fun adventure in nostalgia. It gave me an opportunity to finish a game that has evaded completion since I was in elementary school. It doesn’t feel challenging in the way the original did but it is certainly a step up from that horrid Wii version Blaster Master. For $10.00, it’s a fun game to fool around with once you’re done with Zelda, but nothing phenomenal.  If the Switch had a larger library I probably would’ve abandoned Blaster Master Zero about two hours in, I’m glad I didn’t though, and if you have any love for the original it’s worth a look.

Score: 7 out of 10

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Review

Review: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Game: Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

Developer: Yacht Club Games

Publisher: Yacht Club Games

Platform(s): PC, Mac, 3DS, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (reviewed)

Release Date: Spring 2017

Price: Free! (kinda)

When the original Shovel Knight was released back in 2013, it garnered a whole lot of attention because of its style. For those unfamiliar with Shovel Knight, the “style” I’m referring to would be the similarities, both in look and gameplay mechanics that Shovel Knight has to platformers of the 8-bit era like Megaman, and Super Mario Brothers.

When Yacht Club first launched the Kickstarter campaign for Shovel Knight which it hit in no time, the many stretch goals promised various campaigns for the Knights that the protagonist would face on his adventure. The first of which was Plague Knight. That campaign, in particular, fell flat for me, the mechanics behind playing as the alchemist Knight were diffrent but not inherently good. I was hesitant to try Specter of Torment because of this, but it is without a doubt worth it. It’s no Shovel Knight 2, but it is pretty damn good.17352455_1479007362111619_5275987195738371040_n

The story of Specter of Torment takes place prior to the events of Shovel Knight. As Specter Knight, the player will travel to new variations of familiar levels to fight and gather together the members of The Order of No Quater. The evil alliance of knights that our shovel-wielding hero will one day defeat. At diffrent points in Specter Knight’s adventure flashback sequences recall how Specter Knight became the ghostly knight and fell into the service of the Enchantress.

Much like Plague Knight, Specter Knight plays in his own unique ways. He can use his scythe not only as a weapon but as a mean to traverse the environment, propelling himself forward by slashing throw certain objects in the environment like lanterns, as well as enemies. He can also run up most walls for shorter distances. This mechanic most reminded me of Ninja Gaiden for the SNES. Specter Knight is also confirmed as a cool dude based on his ability to grind on rails in multiple levels using his scythe.17342641_1479006895444999_8598406556186564440_n

For those that have played either Shovel Knight or its first Plague of Shadows DLC, the first big change you might notice is the lack of an overworld map. Specter of Torment does not feature the Mario 3 style map leading you to each Knights domain. Instead of this Specter Knight simply chooses which Knight he will face next and is transported via a magic mirror, the whole level select screen feels a lot more Megaman inspired in this regard. In between levels you’ll be transported back to the Enchantress’ tower where you can buy new armor, health or darkness upgrades you may have missed in a level. A special vendor will also sell you new trinkets which give abilities like ranged attacks and self-healing in exchange for red skulls rather than treasure. There are ten of these skulls to be found in each level.

Specter of Torment adds some new gameplay elements to an already great game. It’s available now for free to anyone who owns the base game. If you’ve just picked up a Nintendo Switch, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is available for $25 and includes both Specter of Torment and Plague of Shadows. While Specter Knight’s adventure isn’t quite the sequel fans might be wanting it is well put together, fun experience. I’d recommend it to any fans of the 8-bit era, even if they haven’t played Shovel Knight before.

Score: 8 out of 10

 

Standard
Review

Review: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

 

 

 Game: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Developer: Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch(reviewed), Wii U

Release Date: March 3rd, 2017

Price: $59.99

In 2017, it is fair to say that The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that Nintendo has kept pretty close to the chest.  While they’ve never turned out something truly horrible, the past ten or so years have seemed somewhat stagnant. Windwaker is a fantastic game with some slow points, Twilight Princess has some amazing Dungeons, but it’s bleak and dark art design left me wanting. While other titles like Phantom Hourglass tried too hard with gimmicks like touch based controls.  Most of these games are fantastic on their own merits, yet still, stick to concepts and gameplay elements Nintendo had been using since the era of the SNES and A Link to the Past.

17310186_1476352275710461_5012503221123665196_o

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

 

After multiple delays on Breath of the Wild, which many had begun to speak of as Zelda Skyrim, I was starting to doubt how open or impressive the title could be. Well, Nintendo didn’t just tweak the formula of one of it’s oldest series. It threw the whole recipe out, and the result is a beautiful, breathtaking game, that feels like a new experience littered with charm and familiarity in the form of a few base concepts that still make it feel like a classic Zelda adventure.

The most obvious and arguably most welcome change to Breath of the Wild is how little it holds your hand at the start. Skyward Sword, the last big release in the franchise has a solid two or three hours of heavily scripted tutorial based gameplay. In Breath of the Wild Link wakes up from his one hundred year slumber briefly gets some direction from a cloaked old man( it’s dangerous to go alone, take this) and you’re thrown out to explore Hyrule at your leisure.17349714_1476346705711018_9193550976783032304_o

The first hour or so of the game does take place in a slightly more contained area. On the Great Plateau, the aforementioned old man will ask you to gather treasure from four shrines. Each shrine is essentially a mini dungeon that provides you with a rune that grants you a new ability. These abilities, include bombs,  the power to stop time, create columns of ice from water, and a magnet based ability for moving metal objects. A puzzle in each shrine will force you to prove you can use each rune competently. Once this is done, you’ll be granted a paraglider and turned out to Hyrule with a simple task, defeat Ganon.

These four core abilities will replace the old Zelda system of finding new tools and weapons in dungeons. It’s easy to be skeptical of this change, at first I was worried that with all of these powers front loaded that sense of discovery would be lost. The feeling of realizing you can hit a distant switch with the boomerang you just acquired would be gone. Instead, I found over time that the sense of discovery comes from other places. With these four runes, you can solve the puzzles in all of the Shrines, there are over 100 in total.

17192208_1476348542377501_5108031587393641291_o

Keep an eye on that stamina wheel

 

With these runes in hand and the paraglider at Link’s disposal, the game essentially tells you “here are the tools, go explore this world.” You’ll find that the only thing stopping you from going where you want is Link’s stamina meter. The little green circle is something you’ll constantly have an eye on as it is important for almost everything you do. Stamina is drained when running, climbing, swimming, and paragliding. It’ll recharge after a brief rest, but you don’t alway have that option. Mountains that seem insurmountable can be tackled early on if you’re smart about looking for outcroppings to rest at on your way up.

What you will be climbing most is the Sheikah Towers. These towers glow bright orange and fill in portions of your map and turn blue when activated with your Sheikah Slate. These towers don’t fill in your map in the traditional open world game sense, and that may be one of my favorite things about Breath of the Wild. Sheikah Towers will only fill in large map features like mountains and bigger bodies of water. You’ll have to spot things like Shrines and villages from these and other vantage points. This task is easily accomplished using multiple pins and stamps available through the map screen. I used these tools a whole lot to mark shrines, as well as, mineral deposits, enemy camps, and places that just looked interesting. Unlike other open world games Breath of the Wild doesn’t populate your map with a million things to do. This feature of spotting and manually marking encourages more exploration and is a ton of fun.

17309926_1476352639043758_4628412283479634219_o

The Zora Prince is confirmed best character

 

More changes come in the form of Heart Containers. While you’ll still receive Heart Container(the item that increases Link’s overall heart count) for defeating dungeon bosses, Heart Pieces are gone altogether. For those who have played past Zelda titles, you’ll know that finding four pieces of a heart( five in Twilight Princess) out in the world would add another heart as well. In Breath of the Wild, you will receive Spirit Orbs every time you complete a shrine. For every four you acquire you can visit a Goddess statue to upgrade either your hearts or stamina pool. These Statutes can be found in most towns, as well as the Temple of Time.

Weapon degradation also presents a new take for Zelda. Swords, shields, and bows all degrade and break over time. For this reason, you’ll wanna be grabbing anything you can get your hands on early on. From Travelers swords to Bokoblin clubs, grab whatever you can. Armor, however, is forever. Some armor is acquired through story quests, and other sets can be bought in towns.  Link’s clothing factors big time into the weather system of the game. Wearing metal in a lightning storm can result in an electric shock, having wooden equipment out in the heat of Death Mountain can cause it to go up in smoke. You’ll also have to dress accordingly in super hot or cold environments, or Link will take damage over time. You can also buy or craft potions to resist the heat or cold temporarily.

17192370_1476351242377231_218739750459112588_o

Sneaking up on foes deals extra damage

 

Cooking adds an interesting but not overly complex layer to surviving in Hyrule. You’ll no longer discover hearts out in the open to refill Links health. In place of this Link will have to eat like the rest of us. Raw materials will work just fine, but to really fill up those hearts and maybe add a little bonus effect, up to five ingredients can be cooked in a pot over a fire. Cooking isn’t exactly complicated, raw meat plus rock salt equals salted meat. While combining a Moblin horn with and Octorock tentacle will result in something barely edible.

Breath of the Wild, for the first time, features, cutscenes with full voice over, with the exception of Link himself. These bits of story are shelled out from flashbacks that Link can experience via twelve memories locations that will cause Link to remember events from 100 years ago. These sequences are great and lend themselves to the incredible writing of the game. Even in basic conversation NPC’s are loaded with smart, funny things to say instead of one generic comment. They’ll react to Link based on what he is wearing or doing making them feel more alive. Link doesn’t speak aloud ever, but his dialogue options are often quippy dry humor that I enjoy quite a bit.

17192641_1476351512377204_5329116620037131479_o

Am I a chef now?

 

Dungeons have been altered in a large way. In addition to exploring the fields of Hyrule taming horse and finding Shrines, there are four main dungeons you can conquer before fighting Ganon. Staples of the series like the Big Key and compass are gone completely. Your first task upon entering is to obtain a map. Getting the map gives you special control over each dungeon that I won’t spoil for you. It is also worth noting that each dungeon is 100% optional. You can take on Ganon without doing these but don’t expect that to be easy. Beating each of these weakens him significantly.

It can’t all be sunshine, Breath of the Wild does have its problems. For one, inventory management feels like a mess. Moving ingredients around and moving in and out of the menu to drop weapons when your inventory is full is a hassle. In addition, you’ll occasionally see some frame rate issues when playing in TV mode. Thankfully a frame drop here or there is far from game breaking, and the great moments I’ve had with Zelda far out way any of these minor gripes.

I explored Hyrule’s sprawling fields and mountains for close to 100 hours before I finally put Ganon down. I felt a slight disappointment in ending my adventure so I find myself going back to look for secrets and shrines I may have missed. I didn’t think that I’d be able to recapture the magic that games like A Link to the Past held for me as a child, but Nintendo made me a bright-eyed child again in my mid-twenties. Breath of the Wild is a game changer for Zelda as a series, and hopefully just the first steps in a renaissance for one of my favorite series of all time. Whether it’s on the Switch or Wii U, everyone should check out this fantastic game.

Score: 10 out of 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Review

Review: Night in the Woods

Game: Night in the Woods

Developer: Infinite Fall

Publisher: Finji

Platform(s): Windows(reviewed), MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4

Release Date: February 21st, 2017

$19.99

Night in the Woods is an adventure game with an all too familiar Kick Starter story back in October of 2013 the game from Alec Holowka, and Scott Benson quickly met its goal, and after two smaller supplemental games many people, myself included have been eagerly awaiting its release. That day finally came early this week, and I have to say I’m pleased with the end result.  maxresdefault

Night in the Woods is a narrative-heavy adventure game that follows Mae Borowski, a twenty-year-old anthropomorphic cat and recent college dropout returning to her hometown of Possum Springs. The base focus of gameplay revolves around exploring the town and interacting with its residents. You’ll have a lot of text to go through and not a whole lot of action to speak of. However, I think Night in the Woods beautiful art and the slight presence of 2D platforming elements help keep it from being lumped in with all of those “walking simulators” that I tend to shy away from.

screenshot7

Story of my life

 

In addition to Mae, the main cast is mostly composed of Mae’s parents, her aunt a local policewoman charmingly referred to as “Aunt Mallcop” and Mae’s three close friends. Bea, convince an emotionally distant alligator, Gregg, a fox and convenience store clerk with a tendency for less than legal activities and Gregg’s boyfriend Angus, a tech savvy Bear with a pretty neat hat.

As I’ve said above the gameplay of Night in the Woods isn’t terribly deep. Walk around and explore Possum Springs make discoveries and talk to folks, all of which Mae will chronicle in her notebook. The real beauty of Night in the Woods comes in both its art and storytelling. The beautiful character designs od Scott Benson pop on colorful backgrounds that bring a cute charm and frame a surprisingly dark narrative. In addition, the soundtrack handled by Alec Holowka himself is some phenomenal work.

night-in-the-woods-download-for-free

Super pretty art

 

What initially seems like the story of a college dropout coming to terms with a world that moved on without her turns into a story about murder and secret societies. While these grander themes are important, it’s how Night in the Woods handles relationships and heavy themes like mental illness and abuse that really stand out. They also add a certain depth of replayability.

This replay value come through the small choices Night in the Woods presents the player with. These options are on less of a grand scale than say a galaxy-altering decision you make in Mass Effect and boil down to more of who you hang out with more often. If you’re closer with Bea than Gregg, then you’ll see a more developed character arc from that person.

night-in-the-woods-setup-free-download

Also the story of my life

 

Night in the Woods is a cleverly written game that was clearly made by a team with a story to tell. While the gameplay is simple, it’s engaging in a way that is tough to describe, and the story paces itself in a way that keeps you all in through the roughly eight to ten-hour ride. It has room for replayability and cute charm all it’s own at twenty dollars it’s a steal that I gladly would’ve paid a full sixty for.

Score: 10 out of 10

 

 

Standard
Review

Review: Candleman

Game: Candleman

Developer: Spotlight Interactive

Publisher: E-Home Development Entertainment

Platform(s): Xbox One

Release Date: February 1st, 2017

Price: $14.99

It’s dark, you can hardly see the hand in front of your face as you move through the hull of an old ship you hear the sound of metal walkways clank beneath your feet. You have only a small bit of light to guide your way so use it sparingly. You’re playing Candleman, the puzzle platformer from Spotlight Interactive. Candleman will platform his way through environments with a pretty unique change, it’s dark as all hell, and you only have ten seconds of light per level, you’re literally burning yourself down. You’ll also have to light other candles along the way as you progress.candleman-candle-man-main-dropbox

Candleman is the titular character of this adventure, and the little guy looks like he’s straight out of a Pixar film. Candleman is on a journey to visit a lighthouse he saw from the ship where he begins his adventure. With any luck he’ll learn how to shine as bright as the lighthouse in question, then again, maybe not this story seems rather gloomy.

3023136-candleman_gameplay_20160316_gs

those forest levels pop with color

 

As Candleman you’ll platform your way across nine chapters each ranging from about three to five levels apiece, lighting candles along the way. You only have ten seconds of pure light to burn yourself, but you’ll want to save this when you can for lighting the candles strewn throughout the levels which serve as sort of collectibles and some merely as checkpoints. You won’t have to rely on Candleman’s wick as your only source of light, most levels have environmental effects to help as well, whether those be lightning strikes, glowing polyps, or luminescent platforms.

The level design is varied enough for the number of levels contained within the game. Candleman will travel through a ship, a forest, and of course the lighthouse. I found the forest section, in particular, the most interesting, luminescent plants made for beautiful environments and the way some spine covered plants reacted to light made for some unique platforming.

c4bxptcvcaqjbkj

fire bad

 

Candleman is a beautiful looking Xbox One exclusive that is over before its mechanics have a chance to feel stale. The game will more than likely take between four and six hours to complete depending on your skill level. Candle man is a fun but not particularly challenging platformer. If a short experience is worth fifteen dollars to you, Candleman is available now for download on the Xbox One marketplace.

Score: 6 out of 10

Standard
Review

Review: Psychonauts In The Rhombus Of Ruin

Game: Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin

Developer: Double Fine Productions

Publisher: Double Fine Productions

Platform(s): PlayStation 4(PSVR)

Release Date: February 21st, 2017

Price: $19.99

It’s been twelve years since Psychonauts the zany platformer about a Raz a young boy with psychic abilities attending a summer camp to become a psychic spy or “Psychonaut” was released by Double Fine. Psychonauts 2 was announced by creator Tim Schaefer and launched with a Fig campaign in order to crowd fund a portion of its development costs. The crowdfunding campaign was a success, and we’re set to see Psychonauts proper sequel sometime in 2018. In the meantime, however, the PlayStation VR exclusive Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin sets picks up where the original game left off and sets the stage for Psychonauts 2.

16864303_1456804007665288_3009291110222022509_n

Secret bases and such

 

Rhombus of Ruin picks up where Psychonauts left off, and I mean exactly where it left off. You start off aboard the camp jet on your way to rescue Truman from unclear captors. Obviously having played the original game will make you appreciate this experience a whole lot more bit it isn’t entirely necessary and can serve as a good introduction point for those hoping to play Psychonauts 2. It’s also a great a fun reason to whip it your PSVR, gotta justify that purchase somehow.

This Psychonauts VR experience works and looks pretty great. Entering the beautifully animated Tim Burton-esque world Psychonauts is both gorgeous and fun. You play as Raz from a first person perspective although you never move. To make progress through the environment Raz can use his Psychic abilities to enter the viewpoints of other living creatures. In the first section of the game, you’ll jump between the perspectives of Lilie, Sasha and other familiar Psychonauts characters to learn about Raz’s abilities including telekinesis you can use to move objects, pyrokinesis for burning anything in your path and psyblasts to really bring the hurt.

16831930_1456796154332740_9183655250540362327_n

The underwater environments look gorgeous in VR

 

The bulk of the gameplay involves moving through the perspectives of different guards and fish where Raz, his Psychonaut Companions, and Truman are being held.You’ll have to shift perspectives a lot of the time by using fish to get from point to point and free your companions of hallucinations brought on by poisoning from a crystal known as Psyrilium that causes sickness in Psychics.As you free your allies, you’ll be one step closer to regaining all of Raz’s abilities and finding the culprits behind Truman’s kidnapping.

Rhombus of Ruin isn’t terribly long. It is at its core another VR experience. I beat the entire thing in one roughly three-hour sitting. The puzzles, while fun aren’t terribly taxing and mostly revolve around snapping Sasha and the others of their Psyrilium induced hallucinations. One such puzzle involves rescuing Coach Oleander from a dance party.

16864691_1456804010998621_5688917646562950345_n

Oh, hey coach

 

The VR environments are rendered smoothly although I found myself craning my neck a whole lot in order to target my next psychic jump. In addition that all too familiar “out of play area” VR message would pop up, this might simply be the consequence of me attempting to take in the environment, though.

Rhombus of Ruin is a fun well put together VR experience and a great time for fans who’ve been waiting years for more Psychonauts. It may not resonate with people unfamiliar with the series. For those people, things like Batman and Job Simulator are more satisfying VR experiences. It may not be terribly long, but it’s a small taste of a world I have a lot of love for and has me more excited than ever for Psychonauts 2, I hope we can make it to 2018.

16831007_1456804000998622_8979507298033671625_n

see you in 2018

 

Score: 7 out of 10

 

 

Standard
Review

Review: Splasher

Game: Splasher

Developer: Splashteam

Publisher: Plug In Digital

Platform(s): PC(reviewed), Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Release Date: February 7th, 2017(PC) Spring 2017(console)

Price: 14:99

The first game from indie developer Splashteam launched on Steam, PSN, and the Xbox Marketplace earlier this month. While it hasn’t been getting an insane amount of attention, a quick look for the game over on Giantbomb.com caught my eye. In Splasher, the style of Splatoon meets the precise and frantic platforming of Super Meat Boy.

152261

Dumb fleshy robots

 

Selling someone on Splasher is relatively easy. Do you like super fast and fluid platforming, a kickass soundtrack and characters eerily similar to the inklings of Splatoon? If all of that sounds good Splasher is for you. In Splasher you play as a purple haired boy only referred to as “Splasher.” You’ll platform your way through the Ink Corp facility saving employees along the way all in the hopes of catching a mad doctor who appears to just be making some freaky fleshy robot monsters. The plot isn’t clear but dammit this thing has style!

splasher_9

What purpose could all these buzz saws serve in an ink factory?

 

Super tight precision platforming makes Splasher a joy to play for hours, every move feels deliberate, and new elements added as you progress make sections both more challenging and more satisfying to conquer. Above I compared Splasher to Super Meat Boy which feels right with some fundamental differences. Like in Meat Boy you’ll bounce off walls dodging saw blades and enemies as well as other hazards, however, unlike Meat Boy you have a weapon of sorts at your disposal. Early on you’ll be given a waterpack you can use to shoot enemies, hit switches and clear ink that gives you trouble. Two ink types pink which makes you stick to surfaces and yellow which makes you bounce off are vital to solving Splasher’s puzzles. Later in the game, the ability to fire these ink types from your pack in addition to water make for some amazing fast-paced puzzles. As these puzzles are a whole lot of trial and error the super fast respawn times, as well as the thoughtful checkpoint placement help, keep things flowing.

splasher-2016-12-04-20-01-52-59-1

Really lasers?

 

In between levels you’ll enter a hub world to explore. It’s not much to look at, but from here you’ll access every stage and be able to switch over to time trial mode which can become a quick obsession. You may also notice an area that is gated off. In each stage, you’ll encounter factory workers to save. Each worker you rescue gets you one letter eventually spelling out splash. If you’ve scored a high enough point total of 700 for defeating enemies and clearing paint by the end of the level, you’ll rescue a final worker with an exclamation point. You’ll need to save at least 60 of these guys to reach the last level, don’t sweat it too much though I achieved this number naturally without trying too hard.

Splasher’s art pops with color and personality. It seems minimalist and a whole lot like something you might seem out of  The Behemoth( creators of Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid). You can also grab the soundtrack which is pretty great on Steam for an additional four dollars. Little sound effects like the record scratch effect on death also lend themselves to make the soundtrack more enjoyable.

Splashers biggest problems lie in some control mix-ups. Once you have every ink type, it’s easy to get caught up and fire the wrong shot causing an easy death. While this is far from a huge issue, it can get rather frustrating on longer sessions. Splasher’s length also leaves a bit to be desired. I finished the whole thing in about five hours, while fifteen dollars isn’t terribly expensive you can get more bang for your buck in other titles. I also wish Splasher were just a bit harder. Some levels took me a bit to get through, but it never reached the insanely challenging level that Super Meat Boy does.

152262

Pink ink makes you stick to surfaces

 

Splasher is pretty great looking and super fun indie title from Splashteam. If super fast platformers are their game, I hope a sequel is in their thoughts. While Splasher isn’t perfect it is polished and a whole lot of fun to play. You can pick it up now on Steam and on PS4 and Xbox One in the spring.

Score: 8 out of 10

 

Standard