Acrosplat review (mobile)
| John Kemp | Review
Acrosplat by App Street Games is a game for Android and iOS on both tablets and phones. The goal is to launch paint blobs of several different colours from platform to platform with the goal of getting the right colour paint into a bucket at the end. Of course, things are never that simple and the game gradually introduces new mechanics as you play. I haven’t played through all the levels yet as there are over 100 of them in the released game, but I’ve already seen a number of additional mechanics that can make the game very tricky when combined. This is especially the case if you’re trying to complete each level with the traditional maximum score of three stars, and who wouldn’t want to do that?
The required colour in the end bucket can be changed by sacrificing a blob of paint into it. For example you can launch a red blob of paint into a fresh bucket and then you’ll need to drop another red piece in to win. You can allow paint to go through a wall (well… most walls) by splatting another blob of paint of the same colour against it. The wall splatting also relies heavily on combining colours, for example making a wall traversable by a green paint by splatting blue and yellow paint against it. In the early game you get time to think, but things quickly ramp up with the introduction of hazards such as moving sawblades. The paint blobs themselves also move around when you’re not interacting with them, making some situations all about finding the moment when everything lines up.
What does Acrosplat do right?
In my opinion, the art style for the game is a perfect match to the gameplay. Straightforward and colourful graphics are definitely the way to go for a game like this, with minimal distraction from the task at hand. I feel like I say that a lot, but it remains true—no one is going to give you points for clutter. Everything is clearly defined and the elements that can be interacted with (in this case the paint blobs) are obvious.
It also feels like the interaction with the paint has improved since I played at EGX, being much smoother as you change your aim to find the best launch angle. This is welcome as it was my main complaint at the time. In games like this the ease of interaction is a very key element and I’m glad the developers iterated on that to get it right.
A good feature of Acrosplat is the level editor. This allows the player to unleash their creativity once they’ve completed the included levels, or take a break if a level is beating them. Parts for the level editor are unlocked as you play, or can be unlocked all at once with an in-app purchase. This type of purchase sits ok with me as it doesn’t detract from the actual gameplay or allow “cheating” such as skipping levels.
What could have been done better?
The music, while cheery at first, got on my nerves relatively quickly, but I’m someone who tends to play mobile games with the sound turned off anyway so your mileage my vary.
My major gripe is with the hints system. You get three hints and the assumption therefore is that you have three hints per level, likely taking some score penalty per hint. However, you in fact have three hints ever (short of wiping the game and starting from scratch). Each hint will walk you through every step required to complete the level and won’t let you make a wrong move. Essentially, using a hint is the same as skipping a level. Then once you’ve used all three you have to buy more with in-app purchases. This isn’t an approach I, personally, get on with. It’s not clear up front what the hint will do and give a very low lifetime limit it seems unnecessarily harsh to throw one away finding that out. It’s worth noting that the ability to split a paint blob into two pieces is similarly limited and has no indication that this is the case.
My reservations about the hint system are strong enough to be an unfortunate mark on the game. However if you go into the game knowing about that and are willing to either work with it or ignore it then Acrosplat is a fun puzzle game worth checking out. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys this type of mobile game, particularly if you have enjoyed games such as Angry Birds. You will definitely get your money’s worth out of it (and more) at the current low price of $3. Personally I am definitely going to attempt to finish the game, though I won’t be reporting on the number of times it stumps me.