Super Splatters, the “super upgraded version” of SpikySnail Games’s original XBLA release Splatters, is a mad concoction of a game that feels like the escaped results of a gene-splicing experiment gone wrong – or, perhaps, very, very right. This combo-based arena game for the PC is the answer to a question you probably never asked (but wish you had): what would you get if you crossed Silly Putty with tribbles?
Becoming a Super Splatter is like becoming a rock star, but without the band drama and hangovers. You control blobs of brightly colored, self-aware goo whose greatest claim to fame will be finding the most creative, crowd-pleasing way to splatter themselves all over public arenas. The object of the game is to hone your splattering skills to the point at which you become, well, super.
Of course, it’s a little more complicated than just flinging paint at the nearest wall. (Jackson Pollock, eat your heart out.) A truly super performance requires skill, cunning, and a flair for the dramatic. As your splatter sensei walks you through the basics, you learn how to add stunts like gravity flips and air strikes to your routines (the more, the better) to make them as unique and exciting as possible. Tricks and combos up your score per stage and improve your standing on the leaderboards and your popularity as you perform in front of “live” audiences on Splatter TV. While you actually don’t do any real live performing, some routines are actually recorded by the game and posted online for splatter fans around the world to enjoy – and you can also check out other players’ routines for help if you’re stuck on a level, or just for fun.
The open-ended freedom of creating your own routines to fulfill each stage’s requirements turns what would otherwise be a merely somewhat amusing distraction into an addictively creative challenge. Each new arena you unlock opens up a world of possibilities, with numerous slides, spikes, obstacles, and diverse design to keep gameplay dynamic and interesting. Though guidelines and hints are often provided, there is no one right way to execute a performance – even training levels offer leeway in terms of adding tricks for extra practice.
The controls are easy to learn (mostly just mouse-clicks and a few taps of the space-bar if you’re on a keyboard), and the challenges are fun and increase in difficulty at a nice, gradual pace. Arenas can be revisited and each level can be replayed as many times as you like, should you decide later on that you’d like a better score (or just want to show off new skills on old turf).
Everything about the game’s design screams goofy fun. Bright, bouncy graphics, flashy animations, high-energy game show music, and a smattering of pop culture references emphasize the game’s number one priority: entertainment. It may not be big on story – no narrative twists or tearjerker endings here, folks – but if you don’t at least crack a few smiles by the end of it, you’re probably clinically dead. (Or Kristen Stewart.)
Remember getting in trouble as a kid for coloring outside of the lines (i.e. on everything but the actual paper)? Super Splatters is all the fun of freestyle finger painting without the negative consequences or the hassle of cleaning up afterwards. Like the interactive version of a Nickelodeon Slime-In, the splatters never lose sight of what games are for – playing.
Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, Super Splatters is worth checking out. The game, which features full controller support, is currently available (on sale for $8.99 until July 3rd) on Steam. Visit the official site to learn more, or to check out the predecessor, Splatters.[review pros="Fun and challenging levels, competitive, addictive gameplay, allows players creative freedom, good pacing, spiffy graphics and flashy soundtrack, option to watch other players perform, a unique spin on arena games" cons="Lacks depth, splatters all look the same except for color" score=85]