Spiral Splatter is a puzzle game with a simple concept: you control a white orb and guide it towards the goal. It starts off easy enough but soon tests your accuracy, dexterity and above all: endurance.
Our hero, Orby White, has to traverse dangerous mazes, evade the dreaded gundrones and eventually face his evil twin brother in an epic quest to get to Princess Target in time…
I’m just kidding of course, Spiral Splatter is a puzzle game and this section I usually include in reviews is entirely pointless here 🙂
Audio & Visuals
While very simplistic in its presentation there is a certain feel to Spiral Splatter that is odly calming. The background always has a simple transition between two colour and the objects in the forefront are just clean white lines with no shadow. It’s effective enough in that you immediately know what’s expected of you.
The background music is also pretty soothing and doesn’t even start a new loop when you die. This is critical to keep your stress levels in check as you will die. Over and Over on certain levels near the end. The alarm that sounds everytime you get near an edge (and turn the screen red) on the other hand can be frustrating, especially in small or edgy corridors where you’ll hear it a few times in a row.
The goal in each puzzle is the same: reach the target at the end. How you get to that target and which obstacles lie in your way are what changes from level to level. At first your own tendency to go as fast as possible will be your biggest enemy, as you can boost with the A button but soon you’ll also face gates that need to be opened, turrets that shoot at you or even a twin that you’ll need to race to the target.
Moving up and down or sideways in a straight line never seems to pose any issues, but I found the analog stick to be unreliable when you need to move diagonally or around edgy corners. I often felt like I was moving it correctly, but I still found myself hitting the sides like a fly in a bugzapper.
I really did appreciate how quick the game is to reset you back to the beginning or at a checkpoint. Because there is no wait involved, you tend to keep trying the puzzle over and over even if you die a few times in a row. If you die, you also leave a mark on the board so you can see exactly where you went wrong. It reminded me somwhat of Super Meat Boy in that regard.
Luckily you can quickly reset the level manually if the board has become too cluttered with your remains. which, trust me, can happen quite quickly in the later levels. Through the first 5 or so levels (each with 10 puzzles) you’ll find the game to be relatively easy-going. If you don’t care about getting three stars, you could even take your sweet time with them, not taking any risks and slowly edging towards the target.
But later on Spiral Splatter will throw timed buttons at you, to increase the tension. I personally even had to quit for a while in level 8 or 9 when I just couldn’t manage to beat the AI controlled twin. Fun had made way for frustration and the only thing that kept me going was my stubborness.
You also can’t skip any puzzles as you’ll need to collect enough stars to unlock new levels, so if there are a few of them in which you’re just no good (like I was) you’ll be blocked from playing the rest of the game’s content.
As I mentioned before: the analog stick can feel like your worst enemy as it’s very difficult to lock it into a fixed position going down a diagonal path. The controls just seem like the add a level of difficulty that you wouldn’t experience when playing with a mouse or touchscreen.
Spiral splatter is a fine attempt at a simple puzzle game. It will keep you entertained for about an hour if you’re very good at it or longer if you have to retry each puzzle a few times. The three-star rating that’s present is basically a requirement so it doesn’t add much of a replay value but for the low price that is being asked here though, one can’t complain too much.