Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I absolutely love Rayman Origins. I think it’s probably the greatest platformer ever created. So when I find out that Rayman Origins level designer Claude Romain has made a new platformer, I’m definitely interested in checking it out. Hell, if I found out the guy that delivered pizza to the Rayman Origins team was making a game I’d wanna check it out – that’s how much I love the game.
The game in question is Splasher, a platformer in which you brave the perils of a deadly factory, taking on lasers, spinning sawblades, acid pits and all sorts of mechanized baddies. In order to brave these perils, you make use of the colored goo flowing through the factory. This is the key mechanic of Splasher: there are two types of colored goo and each one affects your movement. Red lets you stick to surfaces while yellow lets you bounce off them. At the start, the levels have surfaces with the goo on them, but later you acquire the ability to paint certain surfaces, along with the ability to use water to wipe them clean. And so, the game becomes about jumping to avoid obstacles while alternating between sticking to surfaces and bouncing off them. It turns into a mix of platforming, puzzling and shooting. And I’ve gotta say, it gets pretty fun.
Splasher generally has a light-hearted cartoonish aesthetic. You’re in some manner of manic factory where you must take on an evil doctor and his silly-looking minions. It was actually fairly reminiscent of the style employed by The Behemoth, albeit a bit more exaggerated in the features. The music fits the tone pretty well, as it gives the vibe of being in a futuristic setting
The colored goo mechanic is an important one to master, as you need the goo to get around the levels, and you also need to learn to manipulate it in order to stay alive and take out the baddies. Splasher gives you some optional challenges along the way. The first is to save scientists that are stuck in various locations. The other is to enter ‘quarantine’ rooms where you have to take out waves of enemies. However, even with these additional challenge modes, Splasher never feels too difficult. It doesn’t feel too easy, either, which I think is always a remarkable feat. The levels are fairly large, and you get checkpoints every so often, usually after the trickier bits.
Once you get the timing down, you’ll find yourself swiftly sailing through the levels, painting walls and bouncing around seamlessly. This is no accident; Splasher was designed with speedrunning in mind, and the devs apparently worked with a number of speedrunners to refine the level design. When it all comes together, it almost feels like the level is playing itself, but it’s more that you’ve worked out the timing well enough to move smoothly through.
Speedrunning is also a great way to increase Splasher’s replay value. In terms of content, it’s par for the course when compared to your average indie platformer. I’d say that’s a good thing in this case, as Splasher definitely seems to prioritize quality over quantity. New level mechanics are introduced regularly, and while they’re revisited, they’re never really recycled to the point that they become stale. All in all, I was able to complete the game’s levels with all their challenges in around 5 hours. For people with an interest in speedrunning and challenge modes, there’s a ton more fun to be had in mastering the game’s levels. All in all, Splasher gets points for being a polished, fluid platformer that’s just plain fun, and it won’t disappoint fans of the genre.
Beholder was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by The Splash Team. The game was tested on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Color-based gameplay mixes up the platforming
• Amazingly balanced difficulty curve
• Level design is tight and intuitive
• Keeping track of the colors can get a little tricky
• Soundtrack isn’t very memorable