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PC Game Review

Splatter: Just Harder Times


Format: PC
Publisher: Dreamworlds Development
Developer: Dreamworlds Development
RRP: £7.99
Click here to buy
Age Restrictions: TBC
Release Date: 23 July 2013

Zombie apocalypses seem to be flavour of the month with stories on the television and in the cinema. Computer games have always found this a fertile ground for anything between an atmospheric fright fest to a no hold barred shoot everything in sight.

Splatter: Just Harder Times is a new PC game from German developer Dreamworlds Development, which successfully combines these two elements.

Review imageYou play Max; he’s a bit of a loner, wanting nothing more than to be left alone. Be careful what you wish for as Max realises that something has gone very wrong in his town, where there were his neighbours a horde of zombies have taken their place. With little in the way of weapons Max must fight his way out of town, pick up some hardware and join up with survivors to discover what has happened.

The game is presented with a top down perspective. This is, for the most part, not a problem as Max carries a torch and so is easy to spot. Only occasionally will you lose him in some underbrush. As Max progresses though town he comes across stashes of weapons, first a pistol, then a shotgun. This firepower get progressively more aggressive and the stashes of hidden cash help you upgrade whatever weapons you have been able to lay your hands on. Quite early on you also get access to flares as the denizens of the underworld are afraid of light.

Review imageYou move around the city and its surrounding countryside using the keyboard, you rotate Max’s point of view with the mouse. This combination works well, but leads to arm ache with protracted playing. Each mission is bookended with a black and white picture pushing forward the plot. This works less well, the English translation is not perfect in places and the spoken dialogue in German, I’m presuming, is hit and miss, so much so that it’s difficult to make out which language is being spoken.

The playing area is pretty vast with lots of stuff to shoot at, not just the zombies and the game stage is highly breakable. You mostly find cash in boxes, so it’s well worth exploring the whole area. The downside is that you’re tempted to get carried away and blast the bejesus out of everything in sight just for the satisfying sight of all that carnage. Do that and you may find yourself short of bullets when you need them most. That said, blowing up cars and fuel drums is particularly satisfying and can take out groups of zombies.

Review imageThe reason you have the flashlight is that the game is very dark and atmospheric; shooting your way out of a bad situation can be just as tense as creeping through a new building, the game makes excellent use of light and shadow. As well as atmospheric visuals the game has a suitably creepy soundtrack.

Enemies come in all sizes from your traditional lumbering human zombie to mutant frogs and larger behemoths which take a lot to bring down. Quite soon into the game, just before you exit the city, you have the choice to take on side quests, usually to recover items. The initial ride in the back of a pickup with a mounted gun provides some satisfying mayhem.

If you finish the storyline the game also provides a multiplayer option where you can go head to head with a friend or see how long you can survive against wave after wave of zombies.

Overall, the vocals aside, this is a fun packed, creepy, shooter and a steal at the price.


Charles Packer

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