by Jonathan Fortin
reviewed on PC
Between the Booming Sounds
The gameplay is made slightly more complicated by a few other factors. For one thing, you can use flares (or, on rare occasions, fireflies) to make the zombies run away in fear. For another, you can spend cash to upgrade your guns. It's not clear how cash leads to the upgrades because you're going to a weapon bench as opposed to a merchant, but the system works, allowing a small element of player choice without interrupting the game's flow.
The weapons themselves are unfortunately as cliché as the enemies. You have the standard assortment of pistol, shotgun, machine gun, flamethrower, grenade launcher, and rocket launcher. The one unique weapon is a high-powered laser gun that you pick up late in the game. Interestingly, none of the weapons need to be reloaded. You have limited ammo with everything but the pistol, but no matter how many bullets or shells or rockets you shoot, your weapons never need to be reloaded. This gives the game an almost arcade-like feel, especially if you upgrade the pistol as much as possible and effectively turn it into a small machine gun.
An Oddly Happy Apocalypse
The game is sprinkled with a few brief “choices” that the player must make, but they're largely insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Early on, for example, Max meets a stranger and can either shoot him or not. If Max doesn't shoot him, the stranger helps Max out, but leaves before too long. At other points in the game, Max can choose to help characters out with little side-quests, which you'll generally want to take on for extra cash. Most of the time, these characters won't have any personality to speak of. They're gone too quickly to be truly developed.
What's interesting is that Splatter has a rather positive viewpoint of humanity in a time of crisis. You won't find any rapists or murderers or selfish looters here. Survivors help each other and are generally quite friendly despite the circumstances. It's a little unbelievable just how good-hearted everyone is.
There are other, smaller problems as well. There's no “run” button, which makes some hikes across long distances tedious. The game slows down to a crawl when too many enemies appear on the screen (which happens frequently). Changing weapons during combat can become frustrating because the hotkeys don't always respond until you stop shooting. And there's an annoying (and very laggy) boss battle that takes place on a train moving around in a circle.
In the end, though, for all my little gripes, I never had any big, frustrating moments that took me out of the game. No bugs that crashed my system. No inexplicable bursts of extreme unfairness. The gameplay is simple-minded to a fault, but my experience with it was pretty seamless.
BRAINS! This game lacks them
Splatter is dumb. Blissfully, gleefully, aggressively dumb, like a lovable dog that eats its own crap and then comes over to lick your face. This is a game where you can fire fifty shotgun shells and never have to reload. A game where you can stand right next to an explosive barrel, shoot it, and be perfectly unharmed while the zombies around you burn. A game where it doesn't even occur to the characters that they could just avoid the zombie hoards by using silencers and melee weapons. A game where characters come out of nowhere and begin to awkwardly blurt exposition, simply because the plot needs them to.
But you know what? I kind of love how earnestly dopey it is. It truly commits to its own stupidity, treating it like a badge of honor, to the point where it's almost admirable.
“I was finally at peace with myself,” Max says late in the game, as though he's concluding a deep and emotional character arc. He's never mentioned being at war with himself before, but in a way, he's not talking about himself so much as the game as a whole. Splatter knows just what it is, and it's at peace with that.
Everything explodes; writing and acting are so bad they're funny
Cliché weapons and monsters; writing and acting are so bad they're funny