RAC7’s Splitter Critters is an enjoyable twist on the platforming genre that places you in control of the environment rather than the characters. The core mechanic is easy enough to describe, but it might not click until you sit down and play it yourself. Once you do though, it’s hard to stop.
You’re tasked with manipulating the environment to guide a group of cute alien creatures to their spaceship. This plays out in two steps: first, you “split” the scenery by swiping across the screen; second, you drag to reposition the pieces. You can split the world in any direction — horizontally, vertically, and diagonally — and you can undo actions as needed. It’s simple, but it works exceptionally well paired with thoughtful level design and an action limit that forces you to plan ahead.
Splitter Critters filled me with a false sense of confidence during the first few levels; it was way too easy. It wasn’t long before I started scratching my head though, as the levels rapidly increased in both size and complexity. At first, you’ll guide a single alien across a linear path, but eventually you’ll have to manage multiple aliens with different behaviors — some can’t do much of anything, some can kill enemies, and some can and will jump off every cliff you set in front of them. With that, the addition of monsters, spiky plants, moving blocks, and lasers makes for quite a brain-stimulating experience.
For me, the presentation of Splitter Critters was just as endearing as the gameplay and it immediately won me over. The worlds are vibrant and diverse, and the music is soothing enough to curb any frustration. It also helps that Splitter Critters is a near-perfect match for the touch screen and for the most part, it’s satisfying to see and hear the crisp split and swipe as you plot out your moves.
Although most of the bits and pieces fit together nicely, some small problems mar the experience. As you progress to more difficult levels, you’ll have to start zooming out for a full view of what you face. Unfortunately, the zoom function lasts for only a handful of seconds before resetting, and I often found myself accidentally swiping and dragging instead of zooming. Additionally, playing through Splitter Critters’ 42 core levels — even with a mind-bending final set — is a rather short affair. It’s not a deal-breaker though, as RAC7 have already pushed out an update with additional levels, and it seems likely they'll continue to support the game.
Despite that bit of criticism, Splitter Critters is largely a charming and unique platforming experience that deserves to be loved. The solution to any given challenge never feels too far out of reach, and the feeling of successfully guiding your little aliens to their spaceship is of the warm and fuzzy variety.
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Splitter Critters is a charming and unique platformer that deserves to be loved. The solution to any given challenge never feels too far out of reach, and the feeling of successfully guiding your little aliens to their spaceship is of the warm and fuzzy variety.