The Splatters was developed by SpikySnail and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on April 11, 2012 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.

The Splatters is a bright and lively twist on the puzzle genre. The object is to use blobs of paint to smash into “bombs” of the same color. Getting to all these bombs is where things start becoming tricky. You’re forced to slide, bounce, rewind and splatter you blob around each level. In each stage you start with a specific number of colored blobs and bombs all spread around the board, making you have to think two, three, or even four steps ahead of yourself at times. One of the major focuses during each level is combos; combos are how you will complete a level within said amount of moves (blobs) as well as how to increase your score. The Splatters will feel familiar on many levels like control, but is definitely designed to stand out on its own.

Here’s what we liked:

Combos – This is definitely the bread and butter of the game, adding a huge level of replay value. Using all your special moves that you will learn throughout the game, you will never have to play a level the same way twice. As you play through your combos will get bigger and bigger feel natural and not forced, a rare feat no matter what combo system you’re learning.

Game modes – The Splatters has three game modes: Become a talent, Master Shots and Combo Nation. Become a Talent is your standard level mode where you will learn all the tricks of the trade as you progress. The other two modes, however, are where you will truly learn to hone the skills you have learned. In Master Shots you will be forced to use specific special moves during the completion of each stage, whereas in Combo Nation you will have to reach a predetermined number of combos while destroying all the bombs. Having three modes to play really adds to the longevity of the game, which is always a good thing.

Features – We all expect any score based puzzler to have a leaderboards and The Splatters is no exception. It has individual leaderboards for each level in each mode which will give you plenty to shoot for. Another small-yet-nice feature is your Stunts Collection which shows you exactly what each one is called, the symbol used for it and how it is performed. The best feature by leaps and bounds is Splatter TV, the ability to record your playthrough of a level and upload it for the world to see. This feature is useful in several ways; you can show the world how awesome you are or look up someone else’s playthrough if you’re stuck or trying to get a higher score.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

Inconsistency – When work to finish a level you should be able to practice the same things over and over till you finally get it right. Unfortunately it feels more times than not that how many bombs you splatter is just luck. Many times as you repeat the same process to a T, it just seems to react different every time. This can prove very frustrating when trying to complete a level as sometimes no amount of skill can save you.

No multiplayer – Something about The Splatters just screams multiplayer mayhem. The options of what and how you could do this seem endless: from score attack on the same level at the same time, to playing attack and defend with different color splatters. With so much thought and effort in the rest of the game, it seems a shame that this was overlooked.

Although faulting from time to time, The Splatters proves to be a rather enjoyable game. Bringing a little bit for everyone to the table, it offers up leaderboards, special moves and combos to master. For those who are fans of puzzlers, you’ll quickly fall in love and continue on your quest to be the best.

Score: Buy It