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Game Info:

Splody
Developed By: Dashing Strike
Published By: Dashing Strike
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Available On: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1-Unlimited (local), 2-32 online
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Comic Mischief, Users Interact
MSRP: $6.99

Thank you Dashing Strike for sending us multiple copies of this game to review!

I just want to say up front that the kind folks at Dashing Strike actually sent us these review keys about two years ago, and we dropped the bomb, and it went off before we could get out of the way. We then became ghosts, and we weren't able to get this review out for a while. Now that we've respawned, we're ready for the next round - hopefully we get this done before getting hit by another bomb! *BOOM*

Splody is admittedly inspired by Bomberman (and even says so on the Steam store page). Ever since the original NES, Bomberman has charmed players with extremely simple gameplay, yet with enough depth and especially multiplayer mayhem that it's also been a blast for nearly 35 years. For those who haven't played it, it's simple: from a top-down 2D view, you and all other competitors fit in one square on a grid-style map. Each square is a part of the environment, and that square can include a player, an unmovable block, or a destructible box. Each character then uses a bomb that they happen to have on them to blow up the boxes (or other players) after the fuse runs out on the bomb they drop. If you get caught in the explosion of any bomb - another players or yours, you die. With more players and cramped quarters, this can lead to some pretty insane situations as you do your best to drop bombs to take out your opponents, while simultaneously avoiding bombs thrown by others. It's a classic formula that can lead to great times if you have friends to play with/against.

The current version of Bomberman is Super Bomberman R, and it's available on Windows, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. We reviewed the Xbox version here and it's a ton of fun. It has a story mode, and plenty to do in the multiplayer modes as well. It's also $40, and has a limit of eight players. What if you wanted more than that, and at a much lower price? Enter: Splody.

Splody
Highlights:

Strong Points: Unlimited local players with virtually any controller; simple, fun Bomberman-style game play; crisp, clear graphics and art
Weak Points: Single player is rather simple (just matches against bots); no story mode; not many active players online
Moral Warnings: You throw bombs at opponents and turn them into ghosts

Splody is a multiplayer-focused take on the same basic gameplay formula, and takes that to the logical extreme. It lacks any kind of story mode; it's purely multiplayer, or playing against bots. The graphics are not 3D rendered but a 2D art style with simple resolution-scaling sprites. It scales up to any resolution I tried (including 4K) which is a nice touch. You can choose your character when the game starts, and you get several colors to choose from. You can choose from a few basic game types: Free for all, Teams, and Humans vs. Bots. You can substitute bots for humans in any game mode if you have fewer players than you'd like, and can also choose to play alone with just bots if you want to play by yourself. It has to be said though that for a game like this, being able to banter about with your former friends and family is totally the way to go. What makes the Windows/macOS/Linux version special is that you can connect as many controllers (or even keyboards!) as you have available, and rather than play with just some of your friends and family, you can play with them all, at once - assuming you have enough controllers, that is.

That's right - this game's huge feature is unlimited players. Online you are limited to 32, which is still a pretty great player count, but locally, connect controllers until the cows come home (or you run out of USB ports). Since the game only requires a single D-Pad or analog stick and two buttons, you can go pretty crazy adding players. One time, we had at our house a high school youth group. I have quite a few controllers, so we were able to play a game with 14 simultaneous players! Here's our video:

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

It was a blast (in more ways than one). There are also some variations on existing game modes, like Mount Control, where one person gets a mount that allows them to survive an extra hit, and they win by keeping it for a certain amount of time, or adding random elements to levels, like conveyor belts, teleporters, tunnels, and more. You can also adjust what weapons are available, make certain weapons more or less powerful, add crazy advanced power-ups, and more. The more you add, the crazier the game gets. It's a ton of fun! There is also an integrated level editor if you want to make your own dangerous playgrounds.

As you might expect, your friends or former friends attack each other with bombs and other mostly exploding weapons. There are no language or other issues to speak of. When you die, you turn into ghosts. Of course you can play online, and there is a chat feature, so you may run into other players who have a foul mouth, so keep that warning in mind. There are chat filters for profanity, which helps a lot. Sadly, I was not able to test out online play with other random players, as no one was playing at the times I checked. There is an official discord server though, so I'm sure you could easily setup matches if you wish. Or, just buy it for your friends - it's only $6.99 full price, or even share a copy - it supports Remote Play Together.

Yes, Splody is a clone. I appreciate that the developers don't hide that fact; the original also deserves its due respect. But I also love that the guys at Dashing Strike didn't just make a Bomberman clone - they went crazy and made the PC versions unlimited players! The PS4 version is limited to six players; four controllers, and two keyboards(!). This is the fault of the platform; there's nothing Dashing Strike can do about that. The Steam (or itch.io) version is the one to get in my opinion, and the game will work on just about any computer that can run Steam. And honestly? If you have friends, you will probably love Splody. With a fantastic price and endless hours of impending boom, I can't recommend this game enough.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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