There's an unwritten rule in modern video games that if you're going to make a game that focuses on time trials and being number one, your leaderboards really need to be online.
This is where Splash or Crash (known as Kersploosh! in the US) stumbles and, well, falls head-first down a well.
While the action is fast-paced, the emphasis on learning levels by memory in a bid to create faster pathways down the well really needs actual opponents. Without them it feels forced and pointless.Well this is the story all about how I tripped by a well and fell right down
You are a stone, or a Russian doll, or a wooden frog, or whatever you choose to be, and you have to reach the bottom of the well without breaking into a million pieces.
As you rush down past protruding wooden planks, giant biscuits, bouncy donuts, and angry cannons your HP will drop each time you hit something. If you can reach the bottom before you die, you win.
If you've glanced at the screenshots already you'll know that there are some very silly obstacles in this game. Splash or Crash doesn't take itself very seriously, from the items you can control to the stuff you'll be whizzing past, and it's all the better for it.
It's also great at what it does. The speed feels intense, and for each minute-long drop your white-knuckled fingers will be wrapped around your 3DS.
The various types of stone that you've got to play with are fun too. The Russian doll, for example, can only be smashed against obstacles five times, each one representing another layer.Crash and burn
Splash or Crash focuses heavily on fast times and memory runs - and this is its undoing.
There are only ten wells, each about a minute in length, so you can potentially see the entire game within 20 minutes. The reasoning behind this is that the content is designed to be played over and over as you strain to achieve the fastest time possible down each well.
But the action is far too focused on memorising where obstacles are and remembering that you'll need to dodge here, or swing around there. Some obstacles in particular are just downright unfair, whether you're playing from memory or not.
What really kills the entire experience is that the highscore tables are all local, with no online service provided. In a game that wants you to focus on besting times, it doesn't give you much of a reason to keep coming back.
If Splash or Crash had online scoreboards and was a little less focused on memory tests, we'd be on to a winner. As it is, a great idea is that just needs to be honed.