February 8, 2017
Splasher is a 2D platform game by indie developer Splashteam where you utilise the power of ink and water to defeat the evil Le Docteur.
From the moment I started to play this game, I was captivated by the crisp and refreshingly original drawing style that looks to be inspired by cartoon street art with a delightfully dark mood. The soundtrack is also quite amazing, that you can incidentally purchase also from Steam! The animated cut-scenes are also entertaining, even if the story without any dialogue is quite simple and lacking any real depth.
You control a little character who looks like an extra from Doctor Who when donning a gas mask (are you my mummy?) and the aim of the game is to save prisoners of Le Docteur and thwart his plans. All-in-all, the standard 2D platform mechanics apply. The original spin to this game is the ink that is generously sploshed across the levels by robotic machinery of completely unknown function (again, do not read too much into the context).
Different coloured ink has different properties, for example, you can walk and jump up walls and upside down (this is pretty cool) on red ‘stickink’, while yellow ‘bouncink’ sends you bouncing around like Sonic at a ring festival.
In addition to this you can travel up water jets, and safely traverse across toxic pits via platforms that appear at the last moment.
You are soon also armed with a water gun enabling you to clean the paint and dispatch the enemies. You can use this gun to clean the yellow-ish gunk (I don’t think I want to know what this stuff is) that is present throughout each level, which is then somehow transported to your character to shoot at a meter at the end of the level to save a poor unfortunate soul. I say unfortunate, because most of the time you will just miss out on reaching the required gunk quota, leaving them trapped while you celebrate your victory of completing the level.
Your water gun can also become your enemy, as it not only cleans away the gunk of unmentionable origin, but can clean away the paint you were about to land on, leading to your untimely demise.
That is, if the game was as difficult and unforgiving as it should be.
The controls take a bit of getting used to as you are essentially floating across the screen rather than jumping, but you will find yourself quite easily floating through the game, in particular the first few levels. The story mode suffers from this especially, but thankfully there is a speedrun and time attack modes that are unlocked after each level where you need to complete the levels are quickly as possible.
Oh yeah, the story mode also has no timer and is pretty much the equivalent of Driving Princess Daisy as a result.
What really stops this game from achieving greatness is the lack of challenge from “boss” characters. During your exploration of levels you will come across portals, that send you to a Quarantine Zone. There you must battle against… sorry, I mean you must stand and jump a little bit and save a prisoner. I was expecting some epic mad scientist creation to jump out and do battle and was sorely disappointed. The same goes for the end of each level, as they were also fairly anticlimactic.
- Original ink/water concept
- Great artwork
- Simple storyline follows fun Machiavellian villain trope
- Suffers from Boss deficiency
- The gameplay needs to be more challenging
- Simple storyline may be lacking for some
I was a big fan of the look and feel of Splasher and the ink concept does become quite immersive amidst its quirky dystopian backdrop. The game just seemed unfinished and many improvements can be made to keep the gamer engaged by providing a rewarding challenge.
I still urge gamers to give this game a red hot go, and await updates and the planned console ports I hope will address the overall challenge of the game and add a bit of tension to the mix. Or at the very least, watch someone else play and enjoy the engaging visuals.