So NOT a shooter, yet so much fun
Split! is a quirky game that misleads from the off – fully expecting a chunky little shooter variant, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn’t. Despite the proliferation of guns and death, the player has a very simple control scheme at hand – drag paths from your characters to where you want them to go, and the two characters (Red and Blue) will go to where you point. It’s what they can then do when they get there that makes the game. The premise is a simple one – Red and Blue have bust out of their prison, donned guard uniforms and need to fight their way to freedom. This is basically achieved by killing all guards in a level, but there is a twist – shooting occurs via line of sight, and kills by suppression and sneak tactics. You see, you can’t aim a gun in Spilt! – instead, you need to use one guy to suppress the enemy while your other one gets into position to flank them and take them out. At a simple level, this requires the use of cover, and when an enemy is behind cover too, then the suppression starts. However, planning is paramount, as it is often easy to walk into another enemy’s line of fire and get killed. Sounds easy? Well, it isn’t, and not only does separated spawn points and mobile enemies add to the level of thought needed, but Touchy decided to get mega-sneaky and throw in star-marked collectable boxes too (which can only be picked up when there are enemies left alive). Suddenly, the game becomes seriously addictive, as simply beating a level isn’t enough – you need to smash it with three stars.
A bit of a retro-styled puzzling gem
The shiny, simple graphics help here a lot, with it being very clear what to do, but plenty of variation on how to do it – suddenly, you find yourself with switches and gates to manipulate, and the cartoon shine is really very impressive for developer with no previous game releases. The dubstep soundtrack isn’t too bad either, although it does get a bit weary during prolonged sessions. Split! is definitely worth the entry price, but as stated before, make sure you know what you are buying – the preamble and general marketing make it appear to be a shooter, which it most definitely isn’t. However, what it is makes it a bit of a retro-styled puzzling gem, and once you wrap your head around the first few puzzles, it’s difficult to put down again. Win.
The Bad: Don’t expect to control the guns