Splatter: Just Harder Times, by Dreamworld, is a Top Down Shooter that’s not your average apocalypse video game. You take on the role of Max who is fed up with the society that he lives in and wants to leave it behind him for good. Nothing ever goes right for any hero however as the town that he inhabits becomes overrun with the undead. It is up to Max to find out what caused this outbreak and battle through it in order to uncover the truth.
Splatter: Just Harder Times uses a simple control scheme that allows the player to aim and shoot by utilizing the keyboard and mouse, like many traditional top down shooters. The gameplay features a Noire style use of cut-scenes and graphics to represent the idea that it is coming from a graphic novel. Some of the dialogue suffers due to poor translation however, but not enough for you to lose grip of what is happening within the storyline. Each level of the story consists of you going against wave upon wave of zombies, demons and other creatures of the night along dark and eerie levels that have been designed quite well. The atmosphere that the level design creates complements the overall story and Noire style, especially as the main sources of light within the game are flares and flashlights. Flares play a special role within the game as monsters are driven away from them, enabling you to use them tactically to control the crowds of undead. The game also puts your morality into question at times where by you are given the choice to help or kill fellow survivors along the way, which is a nice feature to have included that the developer didn’t necessarily need to implement.
Throughout the course of the story and subsequent extra modes that are available in the game, Max gets to try out a wide variety of weapons, ranging from a pistol and working up to the likes of submachine guns, shotguns, flame throwers and laser rifles. While exploring the various stages you can stock up on hidden cash to purchase upgrades for these weapons too, allowing them to become even more destructive. It becomes a necessity at later stages of the game as the zombies are coming hard and fast with no end in sight.
Once you’ve finished the story mode, which clocked in at around 4 hours for me, Splatter features a variety of other modes including local multiplayer where players can compete in your obligatory Team Deathmatch mode, or team up together to tackle Survival mode. Featuring nearly 20 maps, Survival Mode is a wickedly fast and frantic affair with the kind of intensity that is reminiscent of other horde mode type games.
Splatter: Just Harder Times is a decent game, despite the story being short. While it may suffer from poor translation and repetitiveness, it makes up for combining a classic arcade style to addictive gameplay. I played a game similar in gameplay style to this not too long ago yet this game is miles better, in this reviewer’s humble opinion. If you’re looking for a good top down shooter then you should give this a chance as for only $9.99.