Lets be honest here, Zombies aren’t exactly uncommon in today’s pop-culture and media. In terms of games, well again, they’re not exactly an original concept, there was a time when zombie slaying was a novelty but alas those times have passed and some indie games have been left behind. Then in walks Splatter, an top-down shooter indie title that features the undead nipping at your flesh. To make the game and my review a bit more interesting I will ignore the fact they’re undead and presume they’re actually cannibals who don’t hear the word ‘no’ often.
There’s been a number of top down shooters in recent years, and many of those feature the cannibals that like to touch. Splatter does feel different though, it has a certain feel to it that manages to seem different enough to justify its existence. The game starts with a cut scene that is reminiscent of the old Max Payne games, a photo that has been edited into an artist’s background and given some ‘edgyness’. The plot drifted through me like a bad curry, I’m not saying it was a bad storyline, I just found myself wanting to kill the flesh eaters. Also being a German produced game the voice over is all in their native tongue but translated by English subtitles, this is by no means a negative, I am not arrogant enough to believe that all games should be in my tongue etc. There were some issues with the sound speed however that meant the usually beautiful German language, read: abrasive and harsh, is made creepier than intended, it was almost like backwards masking where Led Zeppelin and others would hide backwards messages on their LPs.
With a mouse and keyboard combo you have all the buttons you need to successfully survive the apocalypse. It’s the usual top down routine of the mouse cursor used for aiming and the keys used for moving. The first level sees you with a pistol and a death wish, strolling through a vaguely open town centre you start to work out the mechanics of the game. Step 1: People want you dead, so kill them first. Step 2: Raid houses for money to spend on upgrading your weapons. Step 3: Survive until you happen upon the exit.
Upgrading weapons provides a bit of relief as at first your pistol is about as useful as throwing paper planes at the enemy. The level design is somewhat confusing, in the first area I blew up a petrol station and was clearly meant to be trying to get on the street next to it but failing miserably to find an alley I started to get frustrated, after a while i realised I could walk on the grass around the petrol station. This isn’t a negative about the level design but more on the indicator arrow that points in a direction without giving instructions on how to access said area.
Entering a building for the first time is a fun experience as the dark corridors invite you in with the prospect of money and death. Line of sight doesn’t really apply in this game and that’s a shame, I would have found the building searching a lot more intense an experience if I didn’t know that the next room had 3 guys sat there licking their lips. The killing of cannibals is slow at first but as the game progresses you are given better weapon options and then have the opportunity to start mowing down hordes of enemies in a bloody and satisfying way.
There is a Multiplayer mode, featuring both local deathmatch and survival I kind of wish this had been worked on further as, putting aside my love for co-op, this area could be something that sets this game apart from its kin and, in all honesty, could be implemented into its own product given half the opportunity.
You’ll get a fair few hours out of this game and for the most part you’ll have fun. This isn’t going to change your world and it doesn’t do anything new, but what it does do it does well and for an indie game I was surprised I didn’t have to justify bugs by saying “well it is an indie game”. The slight offness with audio speed is probably a compatibility issue rather than programming so I struggle to hold it against the game, especially when the title is of German origin and was gobbledegook to me anyway. If you like top down shooters or want to kill some zombies you can’t go wrong with Splatter, just don’t expect it to change your life.