One of the enjoyable staples of iOS gaming comes from charming puzzle games with differing mechanics and adorable characters, and Croissant Production’s panda starring, bubble based, ducky saving game, Splash !!! certainly fits the bill, no ducky pun intended. At first glance, Splash looks to be a bit close to other games on the app store, but upon actually playing it, the game manages to stand out as a charming, fun and more unique challenge from other games.
You play as a small panda bear that rolls around on his giant bubble to pick up his rubber duckies and get them safely back into his swimming pool. Timing is everything in this game, as obtaining a three star finish on each stage can only be accomplished by getting your objective completed before the stars fade away.
The gameplay itself has two sets of controls, allowing players to choose tilt or tap controls to move the panda around the level. Unfortunately this is also my biggest criticism for the game at this time. The tilt controls seem a tad unresponsive and hard to tell just which direction tilting the screen will have your bubble roll. While touch controls themselves I found in several levels either had no response at all, or didn’t give the panda enough momentum to get over certain obstacles he could with the tilt controls. So right now this makes the tilt controls the preferable way to play.
Aside from the basic act of movement, Splash employs other mechanics, primarily the use of shooting water that can be stored up in the bubble to reach high places and collect the ducks. This is done by players dragging their fingers along the screen to aim where the water shoots out, but a mechanic that requires precise aiming coupled with tilt controls to stay balanced can becoming slightly difficult, and on more than one occasion, I found that even trying to aim in two completely opposite directions still forced the water out the same way.
There are currently sixty available levels, and getting three stars on each one rewards players with new wallpaper. Later levels introduce hazards such as pins which will pop the bubble upon impact, or even lava which experience has taught me is always best to avoid.
As far as the visuals go, Splash is a delightful game. Our hero is adorable, and the levels have a familiar charm in their design. The soundtrack blends well into the game so that even though it can be repetitive, it never becomes overly grating.
As Splash stands right now, it’s a cute and charming game that has the potential to become the sort of thing that fans tend to love about these types of puzzle games. With more levels added in the future and some tweaks to the gameplay, Splash can manage to become a challenging, engaging and visually appealing game that can be enjoyed by all ages.
+Fun take on the genre
+Steady curve of new mechanics introduced
-Unresponsive touch controls
Splash is a potentially great game that just needs a bit more work. It’s one to keep an eye on.
Splash !!! was released on July 19th, 2012 for iOS devices.