Sometimes You is turning into one of the most prolific publishers for the Playstation Vita this year, bringing a host of diverse indie titles to the handheld platform through conversions of existing PC/mobile titles. Today we’re looking at two brand new ones: Spiral Splatter and Alteric.
Advertised as an arcade puzzle game, Spiral Splatter is actually closest to a wire loop game and requires a steady hand (or rather finger) most of all. The game has about 100 levels for you to try your hand at, and the aim in each of them is to get from A to B through a small maze without touching its borders. Your finger (using the Vita’s touch screen) controls a small ball and of course it becomes extra tricky once your finger or hand starts to obscure parts of the screen.
It’s one of those concepts that’s super easy to pick up and play right away, although things get harder later on when obstacles, lasers and switches are introduced into the mix and make matters harder. With the odd exception here and there, the emphasis remains on having a steady hand rather than presenting you with extremely tricky puzzles. Not a problem for the casual gamer, but puzzle purists might want more from their games.
Spiral Splatter’s name stems from the fact that your little ball turns into a splatter if you do end up hitting the maze’s walls, and its visuals are very crisp and done in high definition, with subtle uses of color making for a pleasant aesthetic in an otherwise minimalistic game. The music is similarly minimalistic, making for a bit of mindless fun that’s easy to pick up and play in small bursts. Clearly a conversion from a tablet game, it’s not something that people will want to play who have touch controls.
Much more of a traditional console/handheld experience than Spiral Splatter, Alteric is a typical indie platform in both gameplay and audiovisual presentation. With its minimalist graphics, it resembles titles like Thomas was Alone, The Sun and Moon and 140. If you’ve played any of those games, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, and Alteric puts you in control of a little square infused with the power to jump and double-jump. Doing so, you need to get around a variety of obstacles, enemies and puzzle challenges – no fancy story, pre-generated movies or anything, just pure platforming.
It works very well, and it’s a steal at its price point, though the game’s platforming mechanic isn’t going to be to everyone’s liking. Momentum plays a major role in how you control your little square, who sometimes needs a little buildup before a jump and will slide a little more after landing. This may make the controls feel less tight than some people prefer, but it’s also part of the challenge and makes sure the game fits nicely between too casual and too hard.
Alteric’s main dynamic, however, is far more interesting – even though it’s something we’ve seen in other platformers before (one of the Giana Sisters games comes to mind). You have the ability to switch between dimensions as you go through levels, making obstacles and platforms appear and disappear when you need them to. This creates a need for careful planning and execution of your moves, which becomes extra challenging when combined with the role that momentum plays.
I thought Alteric was a great little low budget platformer for the Vita, and well worth picking up at its price point. It may not be as polished as other platformers, but it’s less than half the price of them too.