This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro, it is also available on PlayStation Vita, PC, and iPhone/iPad.
Spiral Splatter is an arcade/puzzle game that will leave you frustrated and bewildered at times. No surprise it was made by the same development team that brought you Alteric, a game I recently reviewed. The team (I use that very loosely) consist of a single person. The game features 106 levels spanning across 11 unique stages. The game gains in difficulty with each stage cleared. Each and every level is unique in its own right. With challenges that put your hand-eye coordination to the test.
Each level is uniquely designed to put the utmost pressure on the player to have keen hand-eye coordination. You play as a ball moving in and out of maze like puzzles to work your way to the end of the maze. You have to be careful not to go too fast as you will hit the side and ultimately splat on the board. The game takes a feature from Operation, a board game in which you try to remove bones and organs from your patient without touching the sides and puts that on a grander scale. So many times as you are trying to fly through the straight areas of the maze, you are hit with a sharp turn and have to have your timing just right. As the levels progress on more and more challenges are put in front of you from barriers on the goal that you have to remove before entering by hitting black buttons throughout the maze. You have to be careful though because some buttons can only be hit from a certain direction and others will only stay open for a predetermined amount of time. So you have to plan your route wisely and make the best use of your time as you make your way through.
To control your “character” you will be using the left analog stick. I found there were times I would much rather the game allow me to switch to the d-pad for the precision it offers over the ever so touchy controls of the analog stick. However, it seems that the developer really had this in mind when creating the game as he seemed to know that the analog stick would provide adequate use for the challenges all the while adding a degree of difficulty to the game itself. To go faster you will hold down the X button on the Dual Shock 4 (or whatever corresponding button your platform of choice uses). I found this mechanic to be a life saver at times while also being what seemed like the never-ending death of me. I would be too confident throughout the game and take corners at the higher speed only to have that analog stick react so naturally to my over corrections immediately resulting in me splattering against the wall.
The object of the game is to finish each level as quickly as possible, trying to finish with a 3 star rating. With level select, you can always return to a puzzle at any time to try to best your previous result. In about 6 hours time, I was able to obtain a 3 star rating on each level resulting in a platinum trophy. I wanted to make sure that trophy hunters or achievement hunters (Steam) reading this review, knew that this was an excellent game to have fun, challenge yourself, and get the satisfaction of a platinum trophy or 100% achievement progress when it’s all said and done. Difficulty of course and length of the game is all very skill dependent.
Wow, let me first explain that I had to play this entire game with the sounds turned off and headphones on the charging stand. That being said, this was NOT due to poor sound quality or bad music choice. This was simply because he did such a phenomenal job at utilizing the sounds within the game to build anxiety in the player thus adding to the difficulty of the game. You would hear noises when you ran too close to the side along with visual cues on-screen, where your game screen would flash with a red overtone. I found the visual cues to be a distraction but not nearly as much as I did with the sounds in my ear. Also, when you land on some of the black buttons throughout the maze you would hear a jarring sound building up anticipation as to what was about to happen. The visual feedback for this was your screen would shake ever so slightly, thus creating a new level of difficulty as you made your way from the button to the next destination all the while trying not to brush the sides when the screen shook. Coupled with the anxiety ridden tones to the game, it was all too much for me to remain focused on the task at hand and listen to the game as well. This too me is sounds in a game done to perfection. I’ve played several games in the arcade/puzzle genre where the sounds in-game are very light and don’t react to the tension building as you make your way through the puzzle. While still those games are fun, the element of suspense and the feelings you get when done right make for a night and day experience.
In short, if you are a fanatic for challenging games, mind bending puzzles and a good dose of reality on how well your hand-eye coordination has evolved or devolved over time, this game is for you. I am still in awe that a single man was able to not only think of 106 differing levels of difficulty but also have the mindset to match the increased difficulty to a well place array of sounds. I very much look forward to more titles this studio creates and how many more ways they find to challenge me and put everything I have learned to the test. By far, one of the best arcade/puzzle games I’ve played this generation and that says a lot coming from someone who absolutely adores games with a challenge such as these.