With the flood of indie games coming to the Nintendo Switch, it can be hard to find the diamonds in the rough. While many games are good in their own way, let me direct you to a new and refreshing take on the 2D platformer/shooter genre with Splasher from developer Splashteam. This clever title has you use a Paint Cannon to not only defeat enemies, but to traverse the environments in a wildly out of control and fun way.
Splasher is a fast-paced platformer with a lot of precision needed in order to make it through each level. It combines the difficult platforming of Super Meat Boy with gel-like mechanics of Portal 2. In Splasher, you take the role of young boy working at “Inkorp” who is suddenly thrust into saving his fellow employees, known as splashers, from an evil scientist named “Le Docteur” who is performing experiments on them and turning them into monsters.
There are twenty-two different levels you can select from using a hub area that connects each of the levels. You unlock new stages by collecting a certain amount of splashers in each stage. The platforming is where Splasher shines and as mentioned before it’s fast-paced, and perfect for speed-runners. It does take some time to get use to the character’s weight and momentum for perfecting certain jumps, but once you get the hang of the physics there is much fun to be had.
The main feature of Splasher is being able to use water and liquid to help you get through the stages. Plain water is used to defeat certain enemies and cleans surfaces of the other liquids. You can also use a reddish/pink liquid which basically acts as a sticky substance that will attach you to walls, ceilings, and even slow down enemies. Finally, the last liquid you obtain is a yellowish color and is designed to make you and other things, such as enemies, bounce great distances perfect for certain platforming sections.
Splasher does an excellent job in level design using this water mechanic to its fullest. However, while trying to survive through the levels you will have to find and rescue your fellow employees with there being seven in total for each stage. When one is saved they blast off in a glorious euphoria of colors and each splasher represents a letter or exclamation point culminating in spelling out “SPLASH!” if you can find them all. Some of the splashers can be found in these vortexes you can enter and in these you have to defeat all the enemies or solve a platforming puzzle in order to free that employee.
Like any good speed-running title prepare to die a lot, fortunately there is a generous use of checkpoints which really help in decreasing frustration. Thankfully, each time you hit a checkpoint you won’t have to go back and save the same splashers again, but if you save one after a checkpoint and die you will have to save that employee again. There’s also this main form of a collectible — a yellow colored type of liquid — that you can find and each level has over 700 to obtain. You always need at least 700 to free the final employee making it essential to always be on the lookout for that certain type of liquid.
Time trials are present for each individual stage, as well as full-blown speed-runs you can participate in. One is just trying to get through any given level as fast as possible, while the other one requires you to achieve 100% completion; meaning you have to save all 154 splasher employees while also completing each stage in the fastest time possible.
Overall, Splasher is easily one of the best 2D platformers I have played this year. The fast-paced action and water mechanic, especially when you gain the ability to spray the liquids yourself, end up adding to the intensity and overall enjoyment of the title. This is a great introduction into the platforming genre for newcomers and an essential pickup for fans of the genre. When sifting through the eShop, don’t miss out on this special title.