Mashing together the squad shooter and puzzle genres isn't as odd as it might sound. Both deal with planning ahead, moving your pieces into the right position to complete objectives, and making sure that you don't back yourself into a corner.
The fact that the potential is there to create something interesting makes Split! all the more disappointing. This is a game with some intriguing ideas that's left floundering by poor controls and an overly simplistic approach.
Move and shoot
You're cast as a pair of cons trying to escape from a series of rooms in a high security prison. Rather than picking locks and sneaking past the dozy guards, the only way out is to kill everyone who stands in your way.
But your crooks are flimsy, and a single shot will kill them, so you need to dodge between cover, using one of the criminals to draw the fire of the guards while you send the other around the back to take them out.
You control the action with a single finger, pressing on one of the two characters and then sliding to the point you want them to move to. You shoot automatically, and dive into cover when you're being shot at. Dally too long in the open and you'll be shot to pieces, so making sure you're well hidden is essential.
The game wants to feel like long-range chess, but too often it falls way short of that mark. The controls are clumsy, sometimes not registering, and every move starts with an odd shimmy that often puts you in the firing line.
You can't choose your targets, either, so you'll often find your characters blasting away at an enemy they can't hope to kill when far easier pickings are within range. And the bad guys seem to have supernatural skills when it comes to shooting, sniping you the second you walk around a corner.
Working your way through the levels gives the odd glimmer of satisfaction, but the solutions to the challenges are too stringent, leaving no room for experimentation and leading to some horrible bouts of frustration.
In the end, Split! is a mash up that just doesn't work.