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For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

A la mode

Product: Splode | Developer: Escalation Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.03
Splode iPhone, thumbnail 1
Explosions are a natural part of life. You’re bound to see at least one before you die, and possibly immediately before.

Splode is the kind of game that revels in the chaos of the explosion. There's a perverse pleasure to be had in watching the fuzzy stars of the game obliterate under your hand.

It's not all that enjoyable, however, to witness Splode ape a concept already thoroughly explored by another game. While developer Escalation Studios has crafted a pretty title, it lacks the excitement and features of previous chain reaction games.

Volatile and dangerous

In Splode, your goal is to cause a chain reaction. You can tap the screen once per level in the main Challenge mode. As such, it's all about strategising about when and where to tap for the optimal result.

This may sound heavy on the trial-and-error, but in practice the game possesses a light tactical touch. This is made abundantly clear in Endless mode, where your aim is to rack up the highest score possible.

With only a handful of taps at your disposal between ever-widening checkpoints, it's your job to eliminate as many splodes with as few taps as you can. Your taps are refreshed upon reaching a checkpoint, but the space between each checkpoint grows the longer you survive.

A thing of beauty

While far from fresh, Splode counters its lack of originality with truly unique presentation. With each explosion blooms a flower on the edge of the screen, adding colour to the monochromatic landscape.

The music complements this effect perfectly, with a crescendo of piano tones matching the volume of explosions, creating a soundtrack that lives and dies by your hand. The combination of graphics and art really serves to enhance the gameplay, which otherwise is familiar.

To be clear, the presentation is the only reason to even consider Splode, for it borrows in full from countless chain reaction games, not least Sneezies. It lacks the varied backgrounds, clever scoring system, and social gaming network integration of Chillingo's title, and so takes a deserved second seat.

Whether imitation or flattery, it matters little because Splode isn't as rich in features or fun to replay as Sneezies. To be clear, it's not about one game having come first - it's about which game is better. The answer to that query shouldn't exactly 'splode your mind.
Reviewer photo
Ben Jones | 23 August 2010
An attractive derivation on the well-established chain reaction concept, Splode plays well enough, but doesn't offer any new ideas
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Anonymous | 19:15 - 25 August 2010
Yes, except Sneezies on iPad is over 5x the price!