Splasher Review – A Flash Flood of Colour

God, I’d hate being colour-blind.

Not that it matters, since the only colours in the UK are grey and brownish-grey, but as an advocate of video games being art, it certainly wouldn’t help my position. But, despite my love for colour and the freedom of art itself, sometimes something comes along that makes the point that being colour-blind wouldn’t actually be that bad. So, here’s Splasher; an excuse to be colour-blind.

Today’s colourful conundrum comes to us from a former squad of Ubisoft devs, with the project they all worked on together being Rayman Legends, my favourite platformer of all time. Lowly praise, but it sets Splasher up to be something spectacular, and all Splasher has to do is work with the same motions that Legends did. Did they do it? Mmmyeah, kind of.


You are some purple-haired ponce, who works in a factory that produces paint, and lethal robots. Diverse company, but all for nothing, as it turns out their “Machiavellian” leader Le Docteur is lying straight to the employees’ faces, and is using them as metaphorical meat for the grinder, in a thinly veiled symbolic representation of the current state of capitalism. Now it’s up to you as “Just Some Guy” to save the employees and the world.

It’s a good thing that I told you that this game was made by select developers of Rayman, otherwise you would’ve accused them of theft within five milliseconds of starting this game. This game couldn’t be more Rayman if it tried, the only difference is that the titular Just Some Guy’s limbs are attached to the torso. It’s got all the hallmarks of the pristine Ubisoft title, from the colourful worlds, to the silent story with tongue-firmly-in-cheek. The only thing that Splasher is missing is a point.

There’s a reason as to why I wanted to finish Rayman Origins and Legends. Because those Lums are bloody adorable. Here though, I don’t know what exactly I’m saving. The workers? Yeah, that’d be fair but I don’t know who they are, they’re faceless goons with gas masks, like cartoon Empty Children. In Rayman however? I’m saving the royal Teensies, and I get something out of it!


The world helps slightly to create a presence that’s more than simple platforming. It reminds me of ‘Splosion Man more than anything, except there’s no scientists you can annihilate in cathartic glory. Instead, it’s all crap robots that I kind of feel bad for killing. Most are just running around and minding their own business, and I don’t want to kill them! They don’t know any better, and they look happier without me shooting them with a paint cannon.

Speaking of, the paint cannon’s presence in gameplay works really well, and stands out as more than a gimmick. Over time, you’ll gain more powerups and more ways to traverse through levels, but that comes with the crippling issue that you can’t explore levels nearly as much as you could in Rayman. With that, every level becomes a straight shot to the finish, and you can’t experiment with paths or quick routes.

The issue with linear level design means that progression through this world isn’t there. You never feel like you’re near a new chapter, or another part of this massive factory, instead it’s just pointless corridors filled with paint. This is also hampered by the ABSURD difficulty spikes that are present throughout. Almost every level is a clusterfu- I mean, truck of deaths and frustration. You’ll meet your death constantly due to the tight corridors filled with lethal crap, and it makes progression that much more of a nay-say.


This is partly due to the controls (which we’ll get to), and also the jumping itself, one half of the tasty platforming sandwich. The jump doesn’t have a background power level of some sort, depending on just how hard you smash the jump button, which means that you have to pray to the bright, flaming God in the sky, and thank Him by name when you succeed.

All the levels feel like they’re the Guitar Hero worlds of Rayman Legends, without the sweet covers of “Black Betty” and “Eye of The Tiger” to back it up. Precision platforming is the only card these devs have and that’s perfectly fine, since a lot of 2D platformers thrive on this design alone. Yet here, they missed one crucial element that makes precision work; tight controls.

The one final kick in the arse of Splasher that makes it a stupefying testament to anger is the controls, which can only be described as a prat-fall without context. Maybe this is due to the realistic aspect of paint being slippery and sticky as all hell, but no, I refuse to accept that. This is a video game about fighting robots with the power of Dulux-brand paint. You wouldn’t play Super Meat Boy if he actually controlled like a cubed steak covered in blood, so why change the rules?


Maybe this is one of those platformers that work better in bite-sized levels, like N+ or Super Meat Boy, but those games have qualities that Splasher does not. Super smooth player characters, a difficulty curve instead of a difficulty rocky outcrop, and a soundtrack that isn’t just “Synthwave for Dummies”.

Even though I’ve only just mentioned it, the soundtrack is horrifically generic. You can barely hear it anyway but when you do, it’s the same plinky-plonky keyboard synth you’ve heard in every game since Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon came out. It’s boring and safe, and those two words can be used to describe everything in Splasher. 

Despite the high-ranking pedigree present for the development of Splasher, it feels more like people attempting to ape something they’re fans of. Rayman Legends is a good game, and the more clones of it, the better. This, despite its attempt, feels like something different. It’s like ‘Splosion Man without the comedy. N+ without the controls. Super Meat Boy without the fun.

Nevertheless, for a debut project from platforming veterans, it still has a glimmer of hope, despite the really misguided direction throughout. And I, for one, hope that these guys can pull out from the typecast of genre they’ve trapped themselves in. Maybe something in Real Time Strategy perhaps?