Developed By: Petite Games
Published By: Ratalaika Games
Category: Action, Arcade
Release Date: 4.18.18
Sometimes you want that good shoot ‘em up feeling with that Splatoon-y inky aftertaste. But what do you do when you don’t have the time to wait for it to load up and get through matchmaking? Inksplosion for the Nintendo Switch has got you covered. It’s a twinstick arena shooter that you can pick up and be playing in ten seconds.
Inksplosion is a very simple, fast-based game. You use the left stick to move and the right stick to aim. The right trigger fires, and in a cool twist, the left trigger slows down time. It’s useful for getting out of the way of oncoming fire or for slowing down the obstacles that move around the arena in some game modes. Slowing time also consumes health, so you can’t just hold the trigger and play the game at quarter speed whenever you want. It really only makes sense to use the time slowing ability when your back is really against the wall, as enemy fire or running into the obstacles takes a big chunk of your health bar with it.
There are 5 different weapons which you are randomly assigned at the beginning of each level; you can’t choose your gun, which is kind of a pain. It’s only really a problem when you get the rocket gun. Firing a rocket isn’t as quick as firing anything else; after you fire there’s a little delay between when you pull the trigger and when it actually moves forward. Against enemies that move around it’s a real pain, but luckily like half the enemies don’t really move that much. The normal gun just fires bullets forward and has a range of almost the whole screen, but not quite. The distance gun is like the normal gun, but without the limited range. The laser gun fires a beam in a straight line; it’s useful because you can hit multiple enemies if they’re in a line. Finally, the shotgun fires 3 bullets in a cone but has an extremely limited range.
Three Different Game Modes
When you start the game, there is only one mode open; Classic. Each level of Classic mode sees the arena spawn four random enemies and has some configuration of dotted white lines that damage you if you run into them. They can’t be destroyed, which would have been nice. One configuration where the line sweeps you into the corner is a bit of a pain if you have the shotgun, but only if there’s an enemy in the far corner. The shotgun doesn’t have the range to get to it, so it’s a little cheesy that you have to take the hit on the obstacle to get that last enemy, but it’s a very rare occurrence.
After you manage to score 100,000 points in a single game of Classic mode, Arena mode unlocks. Arena is a wave-based mode instead of level-based like Classic. In Arena, the board never resets after you defeat all four enemies that spawn and there are no obstacles. Enemies just keep spawning four at a time until you die. Finally, after you score 100,000 points in Arena, you unlock Hard Mode. It is a nightmare. It’s basically the same as Classic mode with a few small tweaks. Enemies are much harder to kill and much more active. It doesn’t seem like much of a reward, but I guess if you like to test your skills, go for it.
The game is colorful, bright, and sharp. Firing bullets leaves a trail of ink and when they hit an enemy they explode in a burst of ink as well. When enemies die, they have an even bigger inksplosion (Ooooh, I get it now). Your character icon, bullets, and enemies are all white, pixelly icons. They’re kind of simplistic looking, and them all being the same color sometimes caused me to lose track of which one I was. It wasn’t often, but sometimes I lost my targeting icon among the ink and incoming fire as well. The music is frantic and pretty fast-paced, so it fits the game well, but I didn’t find it to be especially memorable.
Inksplosion doesn’t have any touch or motion controls, so you can play it either docked or undocked. I preferred to play it undocked, as I had an easier time keeping track of everything going on with the smaller screen. I did prefer the feel of the Pro controller over the Joycons, whether attached or detached, as I felt it was more responsive. It didn’t really make much difference, honestly, it’s just a matter of comfort.
TL;DR: Fun, fast, no frills arena shooter.