The Splatters might well not exist if Angry Birds hadn't come along first and proven that there was a market for scowling projectiles. Here, the flying fowl are replaced with globs of suicidal slime, and the objects being destroyed are bomb clusters instead of nefarious oinkers, but the general concept--launch something carefully and watch it do as much damage as possible until it loses all inertia--remains intact.
Levels in The Splatters take place on a single screen. There's not a lot to think about when you first start your adventure because only one of three modes of play is available. Become a Talent provides you with 12 levels, along with a few tutorial areas. You learn the basics, and as you advance, you gain new abilities. The blobs can learn how to dive-bomb a target, and eventually you can press the shoulder buttons to shift gravity and rewind time. There are also finer points to master, such as the ability to grind along railings and change direction in the air, but overall there's not a lot of variety when it comes to your available skills. The game's complexity comes instead from the challenging arenas that you must clear.
Once the early levels are out of the way, you unlock the Combo Nation mode, which consists of 21 demanding arenas, as well as the Master Shots mode, which offers another 32 stages. Since most arenas feature several rounds that must be cleared (with welcome checkpoints along the way), you might play 8 to 10 hours just to unlock every stage. Then there are the star rankings to consider; you're awarded one to three stars based on your performance in each stage, and there are achievements to unlock if you manage perfection.
By the time you are permitted to tackle the Combo Nation mode, you should feel confident in your ability to launch slime and wreak havoc within a given arena, but you might not yet be able to string together amazing combos. That changes with practice. Once you launch a ball of slime, it sails rapidly through the air, and you can press and hold the appropriate button to settle on a target (though you don't have long to make a decision). When the blob hits an object, either because that was your plan all along or because you lost control and accidentally grazed a spike, you have a moment during which you must launch another goopy hero or abandon your efforts to build an amazing combo. Your combo grows as you hastily clear the various rounds without making any major mistakes, and your score when you detonate the final orb multiplies exponentially if you manage to maintain a combo through to the end.
The Master Shots mode takes a different approach. You're presented with arenas that can be cleared relatively easily (particularly at first), but clouds appear in the backdrop and provide specific directions that you must follow if you want to receive credit for successful completion. For instance, in one stage you might have to purposefully slam into spikes so that your goop rains down on a field of bombs. Elsewhere, you may need to slide along a looping rail that normally you wouldn't even care to touch. Such directives add a strong puzzle element to what is already a complex, physics-based affair.