Twin stick shooters get a lot more colorful with the release of Petite Games and Ratalaika Games S.L.’s InkSplosion. It might seem vivid in screenshots and video, but its true colors quickly show.
The control scheme in InkSplosion is something you have no doubt seen before. Players will control a skull-shaped creature with the WASD keys, and can aim and fire with the mouse. It works as it should, but the hitbox on your character is far too big to effectively dodge enemy fire. Things are made a little easier with the slowdown mechanic (mapped to the right mouse button), but there are two caveats to this. Not only does it slow you down as well, it also saps away at your health bar. This could have easily been remedied with some minor tweaks, but it’s far too cumbersome and broken to be used in high level play.
There’s not much to the action of InkSplosion. In its “Classic Mode,” players are tasked with killing four enemies (made up of ships and faces) before progressing to the next level and doing it again. Whenever a bullet is fired, a stream of color comes in its wake. This makes it fairly difficult to see what’s going on, and while it is the game’s main selling point, the option to mute it or turn it off would have gone a long way. Different enemies have different firing types, but some are downright cheap. When bullets track you down and fill a small play area, it can often feel like the odds are stacked against you.
To add salt to the wound, there is an air of randomness to InkSplosion. All stages are randomized, so what one may see in one area might be different in another. A number of barriers stand in the way, and hitting one takes away precious health. On more than one occasion, we were stuck in a small area, forced to take a hit in order to get ahead. In addition, the type of weapon you get at the start of the level is randomized. Some are clearly better than others, and having the wrong tool for the job puts you at a distinct disadvantage. Again, some small adjustments would have made things a lot better.
It’s not like players will be jamming away at this game in the long term. Most playthroughs last a few minutes, and there is little incentive to keep players coming back. An Arena and Hard Mode can be unlocked, but these mostly play out the same way. No leaderboards or online functionality are present – what you see is what you get.
A number of questionable design decisions make InkSplosion far worse than it has any right to be. As it stands, this is one game solely for achievement hunters and nobody else.
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