Top down Max Payne meets Zombies.
It is perhaps no mistake that the main character in this top down shooter from developer Dreamworlds is named Max. The moody atmosphere is reminiscent of the first Max Payne game, and the main character seems to carry a very similar attitude. Max is disillusioned with society and just when things could not seem to get any harder, there is a Zombie uprising. The subtitle of “Just Harder Times” seems appropriate as Max resigns himself to fighting his way through the undead.
It also makes sense of the title. Splatter is a good way to describe the action as the player wanders the top down environments, dispatching the shambling hordes without ever losing their cool. The game begins with the player acquiring a handgun, and a few shots to each of the undead will leave a lovely splatter of blood to show just how close the zombie got to tasting brains.
The environments have plenty of destructible elements strewn around. Crates and displays can be shot to clear the way, doors are blasted for progression or to snag some hidden cash, health or ammunition. Barrels and vehicles can be shot to cause explosions that can take out more of the Zombies and leave more blood splatters.
There are also lite puzzle elements too in the form of switches and such that need to be activated to progress. Progression also rewards the player with a nice selection of different weapons, although they all have limited ammo except for the handgun. Shotguns, flamethrowers and even a laser rifle turn up for the player to use against the many, many undead that they come across. The weapons can be upgraded at handy workbenches that are found throughout the game, in exchange for cash which is also found throughout.
The other main weapon in the game is light, as many of the undead beasties are not too keen on being put in the spotlight. The torch that Max is equipped with from the very start sheds light onto the darker areas of the environment, of which there are many, creating an atmosphere of the unknown as the player slowly moves into a completely dark room, not knowing what to expect. Flares can also be used to “scare” the undead and break up large groups, making them easier to deal with.
The undead come in a surprising variety, with larger, hard-to-kill, shockwave-dealing brutes and small, fast moving insectoid creatures joining the general roster walking corpses. Splatter sets a lot of enemies on the player right from the start and the player will soon find themselves racking up a bodycount in the hundreds.
Adding some variety to the endless slaughter of innocent zombies (they are all innocent until they kill you), the player will come across NPCs that offer choices or side missions. The choices could result in the player being accompanied for a short time, which is always handy in a world filled with creatures trying to eat your brains, and the side missions offered will bring in some tasty rewards and extend the playtime. In all, the player can expect to get four or maybe five hours from the story mode in Splatter, which is not too shabby.
But the game doesn’t stop there and goes on to offer some rather nice local multiplayer in the form of both competitive deathmatch and the absolutely insane survival mode. The survival mode especially is a highlight that will have the players running around like absolute idiots as they try to fight off waves of undead across a variety of different maps. It is bloody good fun.
Splatter: Just Harder Times is currently available on Desura for £7.99. With a brooding atmosphere and plenty of action for both single and multiplayer, Splatter is a great little shooter at a very good price, and is well worth checking out.