Kersploosh! marries the straightforward premise of dropping objects down a well with very simple controls. With the view positioned just behind an object, players will only use the 3DS circle pad to guide each object around obstacles on their way toward the pool of water waiting at the bottom of each well.
Despite the Zen premise, the goal of this express elevator ride is to reach the bottom as quickly as possible, passing through the center of donuts to pick up speed boosts while avoiding a mix of obstacles that range from sensible to bizarre. Each well is filled with stationary hazards that will diminish health, such as wooden planks, as well as moving and retracting objects like spinning fan blades and pizza slices. There’s even space for more aggressive objects that will move toward the player, which are either wooden circles or cookies, I had a hard time deciding exactly what those were.
Each game allows players to choose an object and a well, beginning with a rock that quickly demonstrates the limited health of objects as they collide against hazards, and an invulnerable bouncy ball for those that want to focus on the drop without worrying about the ride being cut short. Hitting balloons will replenish health, and the game offers an odd mix of objects with varying stats, from a watermelon to a mutagen drop that offers a single hit-point.
While objects vary in speed, the idea of enjoying varying physics seems to conflict with the goal of avoiding collisions altogether, and health points can run out rather quickly given the volume of obstacles within each well.
The game’s ten wells offer different themes, including a wind tunnel and a colorful trip past magma walls, but the differences between each well are very subtle, mostly shaking up the obstacles which will quickly become familiar to players.
It’s still quite easy to get hung up on the environments in Kersploosh!, though. If your descent is off even a little you’ll bounce off the side of a donut into the wall, and if you clip stray boards these will actually fall down with you, insuring more damage and a temporally obstructed view.
This is one of the few games where turning on the 3D on the 3DS seemed mandatory, or at least, I had a far easier time lining up my path with the 3D on full. The vertical race that each level offers thrives during brief open spaces where the sense of momentum works with the 3D as distant obstacles close in between bouts of more cluttered areas. It’s one of the very few times with an eShop title that I felt I’d be missing the point entirely with the 3D effect turned off.
Kersploosh! is available today on the Nintendo eShop for $2.99.
Food For Thought:
1. Since players are immediately given an indestructible object and the average trip through a well is under a minute and a half, you can unlock most of the game before Domino’s can have a pizza at your door.
2. The presentation is as simple as the premise, though the game reaches for some strange humor by inventing short dialogue scenarios to explain why each object is getting tossed down a well.
3. The load screen says “imagining well interior” which got me terrible excited that the game would randomly generate obstacles, but I can’t find any evidence that anything like that is going on here.