With a name like Splatics, you might expect this app to be a irritatingly cheerful and boisterous experience that overwhelms the senses with an orgiastic amount of colour and childish delight. Interestingly, though, nothing could be further from the truth. Splatics is a hardcore puzzler through and through that caters for thinkers rather than artists.
I suppose you can be both.
Players are presented with grids of hexagons that need to be painted with an array of spray cans and buckets. Doing so is as simple as highlighting two blue tiles and tapping an icon, which fills the area between them with colour.
The paint bucket lets you siphon paint from areas you've already coloured to gradually fill in larger areas, and you'll need to factor distance and paint saturation into your strategy.
Since you'll only got a limited number of tools at your disposal, the experience soon becomes much deeper than you might expect.
The premise is accessible, capable and versatile - and Splatics does a fantastic job of teaching you each new tool and ability along the way rather than dumping you in at the deep end. To keep you motivated, completing levels under par frequently rewards you with unlockable content such as new music and a responsive paint studio that lets you create mini-masterpieces away from the challenge levels. As extras go, this takes some beating.
However, the presentation is slightly odd to say the least. Splatics is a strange compromise between cold professionalism and colourful fun; resulting in an experience that feels watered down and diluted.
The game area itself is purely functional (read: bland), and despite the gloopy sound effects and childish logo/app icon, there's really very little actual splatting to be done here. There's no cute or adorable visual hook to warrant curiosity purchases, but it's also not slick and clinical enough to rank alongside the likes of Bejeweled and Zepi. It certainly won't pass for a business app on your company iPhone. [No, you can't have a company iPhone. Stop asking. - Ed]
Frankly, Splatics would have been better served by choosing one extreme or the other: either a cuddly and in-your-face orgy of splattering paint or a slick, stylish hexagonal puzzler. As things stand, it doesn't quite manage either. In fact, if it were a colour, Splatics would probably be beige.
- Simple, accessible mechanics
- Loads of unlocks
- Considerate tutorials and difficulty curve
- Decidedly bland visuals and overall experience
- Suffers from an identity crisis
Summary: Splatics is a fun, capable and deep puzzler that's worth checking out despite its surprisingly bland presentation.
Developer: Booya Interactive
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Price: £0.59 - App Store