Professor Ernst Splattunfuder has concocted a recipe book for 101 gory ways to dispatch your foes in style. Now he has called on you, hist trusty assistant after an accident at the lab and it’s your job to rebuild ‘101 Ways to Die’/
Thankfully Prof. Splattunfuder has a horde of lab created mutants known as splatts who know only one thing, to head for the red exit.
Very similar to the retro classic Lemmings, the Splatts will spawn and head straight for the red exit, Unlike the loveable green haired Lemmings the Splatts are a little more intelligent and will run away from danger, jump of gaps, climb ledges and eat cake. But rather than helping them escape, you’ll need to dispatch of them in the most creative ways possible.
After the initial tutorial levels, you’ll find five areas each with 10 maps to challenge your Splatt-splatting wits. Each map has a set number of challenges which are both required and optional, You can scrape through a level by simply fulfilling the primary objectives, but to get the full 3 stars, you’ll need to meet at least some of the optional tasks as well.
Obviously the majority of the challenges revolve around limiting what Splatts escape, and dispatching of them in the most creative ways.
Some maps have a single entry and exit point, while others have multiple, using the pre-allocated number of traps and items, you will initially be tasked with simple challenges such as killing two Spallts using a spike or lava pit. A little later, and you’ll have pinball style bumpers to bounce Splatts a short distance and combo’s will soon be bouncing Splatts across areas to reach their demise.
With bumpers, pressure pads, slime, canons, spike pits, giant metal boulders, and many more ways to maim, you’ll quickly be dispatching of the mutants and unlocking other types, such as the slow & heavy Tank Splatt, or the fast, agile and light ‘Rapid’ Splatt.
You’ll need to aim for 3 stars more often than not as levels and new areas are locked dependent on the amount of stars you unlock, I found the first area ‘Basement’ easy enough and quickly racked up 28 stars from a possible 30, returning to a few levels for 10 minutes to finally receive the full 3 stars for each map.
With over fifty levels in total, it’s a pleasant learning curve to know you’re not thrown in at the deep end, and while things certainly get alot tougher towards the latter stages, there’s enough fun and challenges to keep you going.
You’ll also find leaderboards for each level which will rank you on the points you’ve picked up, every time a Splatt jumps or performs an action you’ll get a few points, but the bulk is built up from extravagant kills and combo’s.
There’s certainly lots of scope too. Sure you’ll have guidelines on what to accomplish, and while some might seem tricky, you can utilize the environment, tools allocated and sometimes the Splatt’s own free-will along with a little luck to complete a mission in many different ways. This gives fantastic reason to explore, experiment and to enjoy rather than simply playing the linear path, and it’s this custom approach that really gives gameplay the shine that made games like Lemmings so popular all those years ago.
Graphically 101 Ways to Die is a mixture of great and not so great, the cartoon appearance is complimented by sharp visuals and plenty of gore with some comical effects for death such as the head of a Splatt dismembering and rolling half way across the map.
To fit everything on screen there’s three levels of zoom, with the wide-angle used for setting up the map, which sadly loses much of the clarity due to the amount of detail on screen. the medium view give a clear, sharp view of what’s going on and great for keeping an eye on a few Splatts at once, and the final close-up view, looks very sharp and fancy but is really only good for viewing a solo kill replay in all it’s gory glory.
Sound effects fit well letting you know what’s been fired, if a Splatt has been impaled by the spikes behind him, or the pleasing thump as the Boulder wrecks another victim, Sadly the background music leaves a little to be desired, though it’s better than nothing at all, which is exactly what I’ve got every time I play, meaning I have to jump into the options menu to to turn up the music each time (Though I’m sure a future patch will fix this).