Splash Cars is a game about driving a car and splashing paint. It’s in the name, really. Like de Blob before it – and to a lesser extent, Splatoon – Splash Cars sees a world brought to life through the player’s actions. However, all you’re ever really going to care about is pushing that coverage percentage ever-higher.
The game begins without any kind of introduction or tutorial. On an isometric map, your car begins accelerating automatically. Your responsibility is to steer your vehicle around the area and paint the local buildings, flora and fauna before you run out of fuel. You can collect more fuel and other power-ups as your drive, but you must also avoid getting caught by the police (who will simply cause you damage, opposed to halting your run).
There’s no lengthy backstory about why the world is monochrome. There’s no information about why it’s up to you to colourise it. And frankly, there doesn’t need to be. Splash Cars sees you bringing colour to the world because it’s a fun little videogame. That’s all it ever needs to be.
As you race around each map the game will introduce new aspects fairly regularly, without any information on them. It’s up to the player to discover that roadsweepers will be removing your paint, unless you paint them first. Each new power-up has a name, but until you collect it you wouldn’t know if it was going to EMP all police cars, or turn you into a tank, or give you a massive boost. Splash Cars‘ challenge: it’s these little discoveries that can greatly alter your run and push you closer towards that 3 Star goal.
As you progress there’s a small selection of cars to unlock, but also the chance to extend a failed run. These both utilise the same currency, so it’s often a tough decision as to whether you should continue right now to try and get that extra 5% coverage, or whether saving up for that new vehicle will make later levels easier, too.
In addition to the single-player campaign is a head-to-head multiplayer option. Only local multiplayer is available, and only for two players. Here, one player has to colour the world while the other works against them to revert it to monochrome. It’s a fun addition addition certainly, but is unlikely to hold your interest for long.
And that, in reality, is the long-and-short of Splash Cars. While it lasts it’s incredibly good fun, but there’s so little on offer that this could be no more than a single evening. Splash Cars is best treated as a palette cleanser, then. A snackable game between big AAA titles. And with it’s rather easy Achievement/Trophy list, that’ll be enough to draw many towards it’s budget price-tag.