Indie Jeff's Weekly Pick: The Splatters

As far back as when I first saw an early build of indie developer SpikySnail Games' title, The Splatters--when it was still called Confetti Carnival--I was amused by its colorful presentation and happily-suicidal protagonists. It's a game about flinging happy sacks of goo and bursting them over bombs that can only be defused by the smiling blobs' liquid guts.

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The Splatters is, at it's core, a physics-based puzzle game. Figuring out the best (and most stylish!) way to fling your different-colored blobs around each stage--strategically using them to collect golden bonus nuggets as quickly as possible, all before finally rupturing them over glowing configurations of bombs--proves to be a lot of fun.

There are a few different ways to put things like after-touch on your shots, including a "flipping" mechanic, that is sort of like rewinding time, but not exactly. Using it reverses the direction of your trajectory and increases velocity, which basically means that using it multiple times in quick succession results in a sort of slingshot effect. "Flipping" also won't change your blob's state back from liquid to gelatin, which allows you to flip to effectively coat bigger clusters of bombs, which explode permanently, once splatted.

The Splatters is very accessible, but as the levels get more complicated, a surprising amount of nuance becomes evident in the gameplay. Add to that the fact that playing quickly and pulling off better stunts will increase your leaderboard standing, and it amps up replay value a bit beyond simply completing each level. There's also a level of chaotic randomness in the way that the creatures explode, and though it's not entirely unpredictable, it can make things play out in unexpected ways.

The game also has a sort of PopCap-level of presentation and is full of visual rewards. Defused bombs explode in firework displays, the blobs all have goofy, google-eyed faces, and the liquid-physics delivers plenty of splats and sprays. It's fun and funny to watch, even--and sometimes especially--when a plan's execution goes awry.

As it turns out, The Splatters is a deceptively-addictive little time killer that's really enjoyable in both short and longer bursts. It's presentational bubble-gum, and easy to pick up and play. If you're looking for something interesting, cute, and relatively unique, it's well worth checking out.

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