By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fun physics-based puzzler about flinging blobs of paint.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about strategy and solving puzzles in this physics-based brainteaser. Kids will observe gravity acting on liquid and apply their understanding of these concepts to solve the game’s puzzles. They'll be forced to think in advance and concoct strategies, and then re-evaluate and change these strategies on the fly as opportunities to create larger combination moves arise. Kids fling paint balls for fun in The Splatters, but if they covet high scores, they'll use some reasoning and knowledge of physics.
This game promotes strategic thinking while also rewarding players with quick reflexes. It does not have any moral, political, or social concerns.
Positive Role Models
The only characters in the game are the paint splatters, and they don't speak or exhibit much in the way of emotion or thought while being tossed about.
Ease of Play
This puzzle game isn't quite as accessible as it might first seem. It's a game of both strategy and practiced skill. However, kids who take the time to watch the movies that demonstrate various moves players can employ to more effectively splat their paint balls shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the hang of things.
Violence & Scariness
Googly-eyed balls of paint become splatters as they bang up against walls, smash into spikes, and rub up against blades. This splattering doesn't appear to hurt them -- their goal is to coat objects -- but it can have the illusion of looking painful. Some players may mistake the paint shedding from red balls as blood (though it isn't).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Splatters is a physics-based puzzler where players throwing balls of paint around the screen. There’s not really any violence, though players may be tempted to anthropomorphize the game's googly-eyed splatters and feel some compassion for them as they are splashed against walls and objects (even though they don't seem to mind at all). It's not as easy or intuitive as some other puzzlers, so players might want to pay attention to the in-game tutorials and instructions as they arise.
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What’s It About?
In the Xbox Live Arcade-exclusive puzzle game THE SPLATTERS, players fling around googly-eyed blobs of color, making them splat into walls, and coat sticky jellies lying around the play area. Pop-up instructions and tutorials help players to understand that they can control the direction of their blobs not only during takeoff but also mid-flight simply by tapping the A-button a second time and pushing a thumbstick in the direction they want their splatter to fly. Using this trick and others, players can pull off stunts -- smashing into spikes, diving hard for an especially big splatter, and \"flipping\" the game's physics (which feels a little like reversing time) -- to build combos for higher scores and more efficiently clear the area of jellies. The game is broken into multiple series of puzzles, providing several hours of entertainment.
Is It Any Good?
The Splatters shares much in common with games like Angry Birds, Peggle, and even Where's My Water?. Players work with trajectories, targets, and a physics system centered around a realistic (if slightly float-y) gravity construct. It employs the three-star scoring system, providing ample motivation for players to revisit levels they’ve completed but have yet to completely master. But what The Splatters has that makes it special is an intangible, deeply game-ish quality that will strike a chord with casual and hardcore players alike. Anyone can play, but to excel you’ll need to develop an intimate connection with the game's rules, physics, and controls similar to that cultivated by dedicated fans of fighters and shooters. When you're in the middle of a Splatters combo you’re in the zone, no more aware of the buttons you press than one is actively conscious of putting one leg in front of the other while walking down the street. It's an instinctual, reflexive experience that's satisfying in a way that only games requiring a practiced proficiency can be. That's why it's a must for Xbox-owning puzzle fans.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how to manage the amount of time spent playing video games.
Families can also discuss puzzles. What makes a good puzzle? Do you like conundrums with a physical component, or do you prefer those that test only your reasoning skills?
Families can talk about games that try to mimic our world in specific ways. Do you like to play games that recreate realistic gravity and liquid effects? Do they make you reconsider how these things work in the real world?
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Math: estimation, geometry, measurement, Science: gravity, momentum, physics
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, self-assessment, Creativity: developing novel solutions, Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, prediction, strategy
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Microsoft
- Release date: April 12, 2012
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
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