I swear 2D platformers are after my own heart, or maybe I just need to hit up a local arcade to get my fix. After visiting PC gamers first, Splasher is one of the zanier titles of the lot that’s now available on the PS4 thanks to Plug in Digital. Splasher looks like one of those downloadable mini-games you’d buy for a few bucks on an Appstore, breaking it out every so often. Heck, I don’t even a powerful phone, but I’m pretty sure it could handle the cartoony graphics and splatters of paint.
There’s not a whole lot to be had here for people looking for story content or to bond with the characters. You’re in a cartoon universe working as one of many “Splashers”, a job that involves running a weird combination of a paint factory mixed in with battery acid. Le Docteur (no, I’m not making that name up) is the evil boss of the whole shebang and has been experimenting on his employees. Since no one thought to call their union rep, it’s up to you to defeat the boss (the dream!) and save your co-workers.
You’re not totally unarmed though, as once past the first level or so you’re granted a paint cannon that uses different kinds of paint to stick to walls, attack enemies, and ironically to clean surfaces. This makes things way easier when trying to kill off enemies to gain extra points or activating platforms to move to another level.
Initially, I didn’t think a 2D platformer would be so difficult. The zany style reminded me of a simplified version of Nintendo’s Splatoon, except without all the wackiness. This is where Splasher shines since I learned it’s more about the challenge than anything else. Sure, it’s not Cuphead levels of difficulty, but there were levels where I died multiple times. I had to learn the lay of the land and time-jumps and dodges perfectly to get from one area to the next. Before I knew it, an hour had passed while trying to get past water wheels to jump onto a sticky wall and climb upwards. Progress!
When you’re not busy navigating obstacles there are puzzles to solve along the way to continue progressing or an option to head back into earlier levels for a timed challenge. The faster you’re able to get through a level the higher your score, so you can go back and test your grit against the paint factory.
And that’s it. Splasher delivers the experience it’s selling: an adorable 2D platformer with light arcade-style difficulty sprinkled in with cute cartoon visuals to draw people in. At worst, I’ll say it puts you off guard since going in it feels like every level should be easy to complete in a matter of seconds instead minutes. Instead, it offers plenty of challenge to keep you enticed and motivated to beat it just to prove who’s boss.