|Release: March 7, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Sean Engemann
A recent Nintendo Direct showcased a few upcoming downloadable games for the 3DS, raising my expectations about these titles. After all, the backing of the Big N is a pretty well-regarded vote of confidence in my book. Those hopes were dashed, however, after an hour of playing Kersploosh!
Developer Poisoft has created a simple concept: toss an object down a well and try to hit the water. But the overly simplistic manner in which the concept is ingrained into every aspect of the game leaves the final product lacking the punch needed to make a big, splashy impact when it hits the bottom.
There are ten different levels to play through, each unlocked after successfully splashing down in the previous one. Yet it's not an obstacle-free trek, as the wells are littered from top to bottom with wooden planks and stone platforms. And there’s also a feast of indulgences, such as pizza slices, donuts, and cookies, to hinder your progress. Some obstacles affect the rate of descent, such as upward-blowing fans and the previously mentioned donuts that give a speed boost when their center is travelled through.
Though I take issue with the fact that there are only ten levels, I am more disappointed in the lack of variety and difficulty. Yes, one level has magma-coated walls and another is bathed in dim light, but the journey from top to bottom and the obstacles in between are simply recycled from previous levels. Also, I expected the final level to be a lengthy, arduous journey, but, like the others before it, I successfully splashed down on my first try in under two minutes.
There is an equal number of disposable objects to unlock as there are levels. These ten items, ranging from a stone to an iron ball to a watermelon, all vary in three characteristics: Boost, Speed, and Durability. Boost affects how much of a push you receive when launched through a donut, Speed affects the natural rate of decent, and Durability (measured in hit points) determines how much punishment the object can sustain before smashing into smithereens. The bouncy ball is the beginner's choice, as it has infinite hit points, though this makes it the surefire way to unlock all the levels with no challenge.
The handling of the objects is a finicky task as well. Most of the speedier objects have sharp turns that require use of the thumb pad, yet drift afterwards, making it all too easy to smash into walls and obstacles. Higher velocities don't matter if it's nigh impossible to navigate the swarm of obstructions, and thus every object will likely emerge with a similar finish time.
As an attempt to add story elements, brief monologues or conversations by random, silhouetted individuals take place before the object is tossed down the well. They range from mildly humorous to just plain odd, such as a woman blaming the bouncy ball for her husband leaving her, her daughter falling ill, and her beloved pet fish being eaten by a cat (I think it’s time to see a shrink, lady). I'll admit the tale of Formula XZK7R, a single liquid droplet that would spawn an army of monsters should it successfully make contact with the water below, had me curious. The snag is that the mutagen has an incredibly high Speed rating and only a single hit point, and I frankly wasn't intrigued enough for the countless attempts it would require to reach the bottom.