Thanks to this wonderful 2D platformer, watching paint dry has never been so much fun.
Ever had one of those days at work where you're doing your job like normal and you accidentally stumble across your boss conducting unethical experiments on your coworkers? Well, that's what happened to our platforming hero in Splasher and now he must save all his coworkers and escape the evil Inkorp once and for all.
Splasher is a ridiculously colorful and cartoony 2D platformer filled with maniacal platforming segments, hazards galore, and some bizarre potato-based enemies. Besides simply surviving all this by completing each of the campaign's 22 levels, you'll also want to save your trapped coworkers and collect hidden golden drops found around the levels and from defeated enemies.
Each level contains 7 Splasher coworkers to rescue. The first six are scattered around the stage or hidden in small challenge rooms accessible by a portal. The final Splasher is only saved if you can collect at least 700 golden drops within the level. The entire structure is very similar to the recent Rayman games where you free Electoons and collect Lums. Splasher isn't afraid to acknowledge these similarities, naming two of their levels "Ray Man Origins" and "Ray Man Legends".
Platforming in Splasher is streamlined and the 3 unique paint mechanics keep the gameplay feeling fresh and challenging. Early on, you'll come across red paint that allows you to stick to walls and climb them, yellow paint which bounces you with serious velocity, and water that washes all the paint away. Initially, the paint is sprayed on by turrets but in time, you'll unlock a paint cannon that will allow you to manually fire paint and water and you'll need to master all three paint styles if you hope to complete the campaign.
You can tell by the smooth controls and patterns of enemies and obstacles that Splasher was built with speed-running in mind. So, it's no surprise that multiple speed-run challenges are built into the stages as each level has a platinum, gold, silver, and bronze completion time. There are also the Standard, Selfish, and Gotta Catch 'em All speed-runs that challenge you to run through the entire game as quickly as possible. These challenges allow you to die and restart at your most recent checkpoint but the clock keeps ticking thus hurting your completion time in the process.
While the controls are extremely fluid and accurate, I ran into a bit of a snafu after I acquired the paint cannon. Up to that point, I had been playing using the D-pad which is generally what I use for 2D platformers because I feel it's more precise. However, you can aim the paint cannon in any direction, making the left analog stick much more accurate to use for aiming. You really have no choice but to use the analog stick from that point forward which took some getting used to and it slightly diminished platforming precision.
Splasher is an exciting, colorful, and challenging game that platforming aficionados need to check out. Completing it once is a monumental task on its own but the fast and fluid controls and clever level design make replaying and perfecting stages just as enjoyable.
- + Wonderful and charming cartoon graphics
- + Platforming and shooting are fun and precise
- + Time attack mode is rewarding due to fast, fluid gameplay and smart level design
- - Later levels might get a bit too challenging
- - Aiming the cannon forces you to play with the analog stick instead of the D-pad