Spiral Splatter is akin to those old metal puzzle games you used to play at local fairs where you would hold a baton and have to move it along a wire without making contact with the sides. The game has been modernised for the digital era and whilst looking extremely simple, it offers a lot of challenge and frustration. The devs behind this are Neonchimp Games, a one-man studio and the publisher is Sometimes You, a publisher who is well known for publishing small, frustratingly difficult games on both the PS4 and the PS Vita. So, is Spiral Splatter a buzz to play, or should it just buzz off? Let’s find out…
There is no story to Spiral Splatter, the game consists of eleven stages each containing between six and twelve levels. The game begins nice and easy and gets you accustomed to its controls – you are a small white circle and you must simply move from one end of a ‘tube’ to the other and land on the goal point. As you progress throughout the game new mechanics will be thrown into the mix such as moving walls, electrified fences and even timers with switches. The game builds up the difficulty with each new set of levels so you can gradually learn the mechanics and get used to them at your own pace.
Your ‘character’ will ‘Splat’ if you touch the edges of the ‘tube’ as you move around or hit any of the hazardous objects. Thankfully this results in an instant respawn so you don’t have to wait around before you try it a second time. If you’re like me, you will end up getting frustrated at certain levels due to the precision needed and the lack of D-pad control – have you ever tried to move a small object in a straight line really fast using the thumb-stick? It’s difficult. However, each level will take you about 10-30 seconds to complete (not including deaths) so it isn’t too bad as I know other games that are just as frustrating and makes you lose a lot more progress.
You have unlimited lives and continues, so you can literally spend all day on one level if you wish. Some of the ‘longer’ or more complicated levels also introduce checkpoints but if you are aiming for the platinum then you would probably prefer to start the level over than go back to the checkpoint. Returning to the beginning of the level resets the time of completion – going back to a checkpoint continues the time and allows it to carry on increasing without a reset.
Each level runs on a star rating, a popular mechanic with mobile games which I’ve expressed a dislike to in the past. The rating you receive depends on the time taken to complete the level – so if you die 10 times then it doesn’t matter unless you also took a long time to complete it. The same goes for if you hit a checkpoint – if you hit one then die a few times whilst respawning back at the checkpoint each time, as long as you still finish under the time threshold then all three stars are yours. The reason I don’t like the star-rating mechanic is it locks certain people out of the later levels as you require a certain number of them to unlock chapters – the same mechanic is present within this game. You start off with access to one chapter and unlock the others as you go along, each one requiring more and more stars.
Control-wise is where I had the majority of my issues. The game works great and the controls are solid – but with no option for the D-Pad on the console versions, it makes it a little tricky when trying to navigate the smaller straight sections. You can make your character go faster by holding down X which makes obtaining a completion within the set time a lot easier at the sacrifice of precision controls. I would have prefered it if you could use the D-pad for the straights and the analogue as a way of getting around the corners. I’ve seen some people state this is possible so I’m not sure which version they were on but on the PS4 you can’t use the D-pad.
Graphically the devs have gone for a nice, clean looking aesthetic with bright, bold colours and clear and defined white boundaries. I’m glad they didn’t go overboard and start filling the screen with random items and images which aren’t required – the game looks and plays really well considering the simple design it is based on. The music is also a calming score which wouldn’t be amiss in a relaxing spa or massage parlour. I still think games like this, which cause frustration and anger, have the calm music to balance it out and tries to keep you below your raging point.
Now onto the most appealing aspect of this game, which is probably one of the main reasons people pick this up – the trophies. If you are an avid trophy hunter then you are most likely aware of Sometimes You and Ratalaika Games as they tend to release quite a few games which have easy platinums. They usually have separate trophy lists for both the Vita and the PS4, multiple lists in each country and all containing their own platinum – Spiral Splatter is no exception. The game isn’t cross-buy or cross-save but you can buy it in the EU and NA on both the PS4 and PS Vita with a total of four platinums up for grabs – however, only three will be obtainable due to the PS Vita’s Region-locked function.
Spiral Splatter is a fun little puzzle game that will leave you both frustrated and satisfied once you have achieved all three stars on each of the levels. It isn’t a long game and can be completed within a few hours, or less if you resort to looking up a guide online – however, I advise you to not bother doing that, just play the game and enjoy it for yourself, it’s all about trial and error and getting used to the controls. If you’re looking for a game to play on a journey or if you are just looking for something fun to play as you increase your treasured platinum count then I believe you have just found the next game for your collection.
- Lots of levels to complete with varying difficulties
- Bold, colourful and pleasing to look at
- Runs really well on both the PS4 and the Vita
- Easy Platinum
- Instant re-spawn when you die
- Can get a bit frustrating
- Doesn't take too long to complete
- Can't move with the D-pad