Gaming is no longer considered a part-time hobby. With Esports and other competitive events, gamers can class themselves as professionals. Yet, though for many of us it’s a way of life, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the odd casual title. Splash Cars aims to take away the serious edge while allowing you some good old-fashioned arcade action.
Developed by Paper Bunker and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a casual racing game. Set in an isometric world, you must use an array of cars to paint the environment. You’ll collect power-ups, grab coins, guzzle petrol, and avoid police. If you can do all these things, you may unlock new maps and extra vehicles.
Splash Cars lacks complexity.
Though I enjoy the simplicity of a casual arcade racer, I don’t always like the lack of complexity. However, Splash Cars’ repetitive and basic nature is endearing, and you won’t be able to stop playing. Furthermore, the developers have successfully incorporated both solo and cooperative action and this ensures that it appeals to a wider audience.
Like many casual titles, this one has no story. Consequently, this may disappoint you, but thanks to the fast-paced and grindy action, you won’t give it a second thought. The aim of the game is to drive your vehicle around an array of maps. Each of these locations has houses, parks, roads, and other redeeming features. As you drive, you leave a wake of colour in your path as you try to paint as much of the map as possible.
It’s harder than it seems.
So the concept is quite straightforward, but it is harder than it seems! There are many things that prevent you from completing your job, and it quickly becomes a nightmare. You must avoid the attention of the police, who, for unknown reasons, wish to smash your car to pieces. Then there are the street cleaning vehicles that undo your work unless you activate them. Furthermore, there are tiny micro machines that do the same, and a long list of power-ups to gather.
Alongside the hectic hurdles that you must overcome, there is fuel and coins to collect. Each of your cars has a limited fuel tank, and it is your responsibility to keep it full for as long as possible. Consequently, if you run out, it’s game over, unless you wish to pay to continue. Trying to hunt down every fuel canister while being chased by the police is a tough but fun task. You’ll weave between buildings, dodge past trees, all while painting the ground beneath you.
Yet, you can quickly get the upper hand by collecting any of the power-ups you find. You’ll turn your vehicle into a magnet, shrink it, double its size, add a turbo booster, become a tank, or turn your pursuers into your allies. Subsequently, it was a wonderful twist to the gameplay that added much-needed depth. I adored the change in pace and the randomised nature of the gameplay.
Splash Cars looks dated.
I loved the simplicity of-the-art style and the isometric viewpoint. However, Splash Cars, unfortunately, looks dated. Its blocky imagery, basic sprites, and smaller maps lean towards the mobile gaming market. Now, this isn’t a problem, per se, but it will put off some players. I, though, enjoyed how each level sprung to life once the colour was added. Furthermore, the retro imagery reminded me of Micro Machines and other early racing titles. Unsurprisingly, I had no performance issues, and the game played as smoothly as expected.
Sadly, I wasn’t wowed by the audio either. The shrill noises are annoying and hurt your ears. Subsequently, I found it tough to play this while wearing headphones. This issue aside, I liked the upbeat music that added energy and a fun atmosphere to the proceedings. Though much of the audio wasn’t to my liking, it was serviceable and, as expected, for a basic arcade title.
Why can’t you reverse?
The developer’s desire to keep things simple is applaudable. However, having no reverse gear in a racing game is an oversight in anyone’s book! Annoyingly, you’ll crash repeatedly and the police will keep ramming you. This wouldn’t be so bad if you could make a hasty retreat. Sadly, though, you must slowly turn while repeatedly crashing, and this becomes tedious. Other than this issue, the controls are responsive and easy to understand. With a straightforward tutorial to complete, you’ll have this mastered in no time.
Where Splash Cars excels is its longevity and replay value. Yes, it is a bit of a grind-fest, but it’s also enjoyable to unlock every car. Each stage has a ranking system of 1 to 3 stars, and these are awarded based on the percentage of paint you’ve dropped. Moreover, for every star you collect, a bonus is awarded. Whether it’s tickets to spend on a new paint job, coins, a new map, or the latest vehicle, there’s plenty to unlock. Alongside this, you’ll increase your fuel tank, the size of your paintbrush, reduce the speed of the cops, and so forth. Therefore, this simple title offers a lot more than first meets the eye.
Splash Cars is simple but addictive.
There was always a risk that Splash Cars wouldn’t offer enough variety. Fortunately, though, this concern is quickly forgotten. Yes, the action is basic, but damn, it is so addictive that you won’t care. You’ll adore racing around every level while trying to avoid the Popo. With many elements against you, you’ll love successfully painting every level and unlocking new and improved vehicles. It is an excellent casual title that can be played solo and with friends between other games. Therefore, I recommend you to buy it here! Will you paint every town, or will the Rozzers stop your fun?