Splasher, the 2D platformer from indie developers Splashteam, has finally made its console debut on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after launching on PC back in February. This action-packed platformer combines the interactive paint gun mechanics of Portal 2 and Splatoon with the speedy 2D platforming of Super Meat Boy. Aside from being innovative, addicting, and just plain fun, Splasher also acts as a solid jumping point for a full-fledged "splatforming" genre.
Splasher drops players into the jumpsuit of a factory employee (called a Splasher) who is eagerly trying to escape their corrupt employer, Inkcorp. When Inkcorp’s inhumane activities are revealed, you decide to hightail it out of the factory, rescuing as many co-workers as possible along the way. As you jump, stick, and bounce your way through each level, you get closer and closer to thwarting the operations of Inkcorp’s evil boss, Le Docteur.
Splasher differentiates itself from typical 2D side-scrollers by incorporating interactive ink mechanics into the game. As a Splasher, your character wields a paint cannon that can splat a number of different paint types onto various surfaces. Each paint possesses unique properties that alter the way your Splasher interacts with painted surfaces, depending on the color of paint used. For example, pink paint is sticky enough to let you walk on walls and ceilings, while the ultra-bouncy yellow paint allows you to clear large gaps or reach platforms further away.
Like Super Meat Boy, Splasher uses a humerous art style that offers comedic relief for a relatively dark plot. The quirky background art fits the paint theme of each level without being too distracting, which is good considering how important it is to recognize colored surfaces in the game. Each level features an energetic beat reminiscent of the rhythmic earworms of Geometry Wars, setting an invigorating tone for each level.
Splasher has a steady learning curve, making the game accessible for players who aren’t particularly good at platformers while remaining challenging enough for more hardcore platformer fans. You can also attempt to clock in your best times on the Time Attack and Speedrun leaderboards, if you’re into that sort of thing.
New game mechanics are incorporated with each major level, allowing you to slowly get used to new ways of interacting with the environment while building upon prior knowledge. The running and jumping can feel a bit floaty at first, causing the Splasher's jumps to be somewhat less predictable and making it harder to stick a landing. However, this feeling is fairly easy to overcome, and if anything it just made me appreciate the secure nature of the sticky pink paint even more.
As a person who gets frustrated easily with fast-paced platformers, I was pleased with how accessible even the more challenging time trials were in Splasher. I knew that if I just thought ahead and timed my jumps properly, I’d eventually make it to the end. Where other platformers can become insipidly repetitious, Splasher’s splatforming becomes pleasingly addicting.
Splasher is a satisfying and incredibly fun splatformer (couldn't resist saying it one more time) that is a must-play for any fan of the 2D sidescroller genre. Even after completing each level, you’ll still feel compelled to save any of the imprisoned co-workers you may have missed (at least to unlock Time Attack), making for hours of paint-splashing, surface-hopping fun. Splasher is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and will be coming to Nintendo Switch in the near future.
- Steady learning curve
- Adds new element to 2D platforming
- Great background music
- Challenging, addicting, and fun
- Floaty jumping at times
- Pretty generous with the checkpoints, which may be a good or bad thing