There’s a lot to be said for mindless fun. Running round with big guns, shooting zombies and causing chaos is one of those brilliant ways to spend a couple of hours when you need to let off steam. And that’s exactly what Splatter: Just Hard Times offers you, and although that’s pretty much everything you’ll get it’s still an enjoyable top-down shooty romp.
There’s not much to complicate things between the violence. There’s a rough plot which suffers from some occasionally baffling translations, but even with a fully recognisable English conversion I’m not convinced it would do a great amount more, that’s not really what this is all about.
Instead the joy comes from the constant and ever-increasing spiral of mass destruction and killing, wiping out masses of zombie things to find new gear and improve what you’ve got, then using the new toys to dish out even more carnage. Whether you’re using your earliest weapon and pinging individual pistol shots at a nearby undead, using the impressively explosive rocket launcher to scatter several bad guys in multiple directions or anything in between there’s no end of mayhem to cause. You can even take pot-shots at anything you see sitting around the levels – tables, cars, doors,it’s all up to be shot at and destroyed, and it’s very cool to walk into a relatively pristine location, then leave it a few moments later covered in dead undead (I know…) and chunks of debris left over from the nice scenery you initially spotted on your way in.
The levels themselves are nicely varied, but don’t really give much by way of continuity, and lack the flow from one into the other that you might expect to see. It would appear, from the outside at least, that the levels were made to look good and work well, then got chucked together to form a game. In terms of different places to shoot stuff they work brilliantly, but if you’re hoping for some sort of cohesion then you’ll still be looking when all the shooting it over.
At that point, you might have spent 4 or 5 hours battling through the increasing masses. It’s hardly a game which outstays its welcome, and while some might look on that as a bit lightweight the fact it’s only Â£8 means it works out at a coupe of quid per hour of game, which isn’t all that bad really. And it’s not as if the single player game is all that’s on offer – survival modes give that now familiar option of seeing how long you can stay alive, and that co-op option is joined by some deathmatch type games that you can also play with another player sat next to you. In that sense Splatter is extremely good value, but just how much you’ll keep coming back to it after the initial play through is debatable; there’s not really anything I wanted to experience again once the adrenaline had died down a bit, but then remembered the price and figured I’d actually enjoyed those few hours.
Between the fun shooting, destroying everything you can see and great weapons Splatter: Just Harder Times is without doubt a worthy way to spend a few quid. It’s not perfect and devoid of the finer points you’d see in bigger budget titles, but if you’re after a bit of a release after a tough day at work there’s very few better ways to unwind. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Reviewed on PC