Today we are reviewing one of the newest indie games on the Switch, Splasher. Splasher at first glance looks like it takes a lot of inspiration from Splatoon or Portal 2, but it is so much more than that. The game is an action platformer by the Splashteam. Full disclosure, the Splashteam sent us a copy of this game for review purposes. The Splashteam is comprised of former Ubisoft talent who worked on Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends. So should you INKlude Splasher in your Switch collection, or is it as fun as watching paint dry? This is PushDustIn from Source Gaming, and let’s get started with the review.
In the opening scene, the hero of the story discovers that the Docteur, the leader of Inkorp, is using the Inkorp employees to conduct experiments on them. The hero decides to stand up to the Docteur, and begins chasing him. The game’s story is very limited. There aren’t that many cutscenes in the game and the story is told without any real dialogue. It doesn’t feel like Splasher could particularly be enhanced with a story. Therefore, it kind of takes a back seat to the main focus of Splasher, the gameplay.
The gameplay is the main draw of Splasher and where the game excels. The levels are extremely well crafted. While the game does encourage players to speedrun, it will take several hours to complete it, especially if players are aiming to rescue all of the Inkorp employees. Seven Inkorp employees are hidden in the game’s 22 levels, making for a total of 154 employees that need to saved. Rescuing them will require players to perform an extra task, or complete a challenge room. The last Inkorp employee, the one that makes the ! in “Splash!” requires players to completely master the level by cleaning up all the goo, defeating all the enemies and rescuing the other employees. Some of these are very difficult, but I felt very satisfied once I was able to complete a particularly challenging part. The game doesn’t feel like it’s unfair.
Splasher strikes an excellent balance between hardcore and casual play. The levels are designed with enough checkpoints, so casual players can definitely finish the game and take their time collecting the employees.
Over the course of the game, players will have access to three different types of paints/ sprays. The first is water and is used by pressing the Y button. The second ability gained is a type of pink sticky paint, that is shot using the A button. The last ability is a yellow bounce paint that can be used by pressing the X button. The controls are fine-tuned, and are generally not a problem. There are some parts where players will need to run and gun. These sections can be a bit difficult as running and the direction to shoot are tied to the same buttons. I had one section where I was trying to shoot up to move a block, shoot down to clean a mess, and move right. Eventually, I gave up trying to clean the mess and just moved on.
The game does an excellent job of introducing new mechanics. In order to access the levels, players will need to move around a hub world. The hub world is well designed. Players will never be lost as there is an arrow which indicates where the next level is, and levels that are already completed can be accessed in the menu. The area right outside the level will almost always directly correspond to what kind of level it will be. Did you bounce your way to the level? The level is probably going to focus on bouncing. It’s just another detail that really ties the overall package of Splasher together.
Splasher’s art style reminds me a lot of the Flash cartoons from the late 90s / 2000s. It’s not particularly bad, and one that I’m very nostalgic for, but I think some people might not like it. The game has some humor to it, with quirky animations (such as the Docteur throwing employees around) or the receptionist in the game’s hub world. The game’s music is also good. There are no annoying sounds that made me want to turn the volume off.
The game does an excellent job of telegraphing what players need to do. Sometimes walls that players will need to grab will have a little bit of pink paint on them, showing that players should climb up. Players won’t get lost that often in Splasher, but it’s not a game that holds their hand either. Splasher is easy to pick up but challenging to master. The game does keep track of how much is completed and encourages players to try out the speedrun modes. There is a lot here for players even after finishing the game’s 22 levels.
Splasher is $14.99 on the eShop and is well worth the price of admission. It’s a very solid experience with interesting levels, and a style to keep players engaged. Splasher was one of my favorite games that I tried out at Tokyo Game Show, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to review it. The game is incredibly well polished. The game is already out on Steam, and some people have speedrun the game in under an hour. Splasher will take players 5-10 hours, especially if they try to collect everything and get good at the game. I guess you could say it’s INKredible.
I give Splasher a 4.75 / 5.
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Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)