Spiral Splatter is a puzzle, arcade game from NeonMonkey Games, a studio consisting of 1 freelance designer from The Netherlands. It will push your hand-eye coordination to the limits with its impressive 106 unique levels spanning 11 stages, each adding something new to the table and getting increasingly difficult with each completion.
Each level has its own set of challenges to overcome, all of which require an incredible sense of hand-eye coordination. You play as a ball moving through areas, avoiding moving walls, pistons and just about everything else on the screen! This game seems to take inspiration from the board game Operation and the popular indie game Super Meat Boy. There is a timer counting down but you can take as long as needed, you just won’t get all 3 stars for that level. This makes you re-think your strategy after completing some levels just to get that third star. Not all levels are about speed mind you. Some have barriers in front of the goal, needing you to deactivate them by doing certain tasks before finishing. Some levels have a wide range of options on how to finish but only one will get you the 3 stars, so choose your route wisely and make the best use of your time.
The controls are very precise, often to my own downfall. The extremely precise analogue stick controls seem to be a very deliberate choice made by the developer, making the controls part of the difficulty. I see some people asking for an option to swap controls to buttons rather than the analogue stick, but I would argue that the twitchy, sharp controls are what makes this game so fun. If you press and hold A on Switch, you boost along the screen. This helps me finish as much as it does get me killed. There were some levels where I would have covered each wall with my little splat you make when you die, just wanting it to be over! But once I finished it, all of that frustration disappeared and I was back into the fun stuff. And with each stage having a loose theme with its challenges, when you think you have mastered them, it throws a bunch of new challenges at you.
The sound design is excellent! The great ambient music playing through each level had a lovely welcoming feeling, very good contrast for the very unforgiving levels. The noise it makes when you get too close to a wall or obstacle is great for building tension in those tense moments when you are seconds away from completion. Even the noise you make when you hit a wall, although it was the noise I heard most, was very pleasing and didn’t put me off trying one more time, and then one more time and so on…
Spiral Splatter is a great game for the price it is. For the completionist out there, prepare to get frustrated, but the pay off after completing each level is unmatched. The amount of content is truly something to look at in wonder, considering the game is made by 1 man. The way the difficulty scales after each level is fair and doesn’t make you feel useless after your 100th death.
For people looking for a challenge, get this game! If you are somebody who is looking for a fun game to kill time, get this game! This is one of the most complex and compelling puzzle/arcade games in recent years and is definitely worth a try.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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