By: Jeff Cater
As the new replacement for mad scientist Professor Splattenfuder, you are given the research project 101 Ways to Die. The experiment is simple: Let a few Splatts loose on a course and figure out devious traps for them to meet their end.
The game’s pace is you, so it’s very easy to get a feel for the controls in a short time. You’ll examine your current course with the left stick. Your list of available traps lie at the bottom of the screen, and you can toggle through them going left and right on the d-pad. Once you’ve decided which trap to use, find a perfect spot for it with the left stick and then firmly place it with the “A” button.
Once placed, many a trap can be adjusted with the left stick, like adjusting the trajectory of a spring for example. When you’re satisfied with the parameters you can finalize the placement with the “A” button. It sounds like a lot, but in execution it’s a breeze. Once all the traps are placed press “Y” and the Splatts will be released.
101 Ways to Die is a colorful, bloody mess. That’s a compliment generally reserved for first-person shooters, but it applies here. While the environments feature colorful lighting, the stages never really deviate from the dingy basement look. That being said, the Splatts and traps are real eye grabbers.
Splatts are wonderfully ugly little creatures, and forcing them to meet their demise is always bloody and always humorous. Seeing a Splatt slip down a slope covered in industrial lubricant, slide into a boulder that you’ve placed and cause it to fall on a fellow Splatt’s head makes for great entertainment — especially when that boulder has been electrified.
The traps sound like traps, and the Splatts sound like, well, how Splatts probably would. The music is light and whimsical at times, which perfectly fits the air of humor the rest of the game provides.
101 Ways to Die is three parts being a clever bastard and seven parts a devious asshole. As Splattenfuder’s hired prodigy, you’ve been assigned to complete his ultimate work: The 101 Ways to Die. To complete his wild theories, the Professor has constructed a vast network of rooms, ripe for experimentation.
At the beginning of each room is a spawn point for the Splatts, highlighted as a green-lit tube. The Splatt then tries to make it to the other end of the room to the exit point, designated by a red-lit tube. It’s your job to place bombs, spikes, cake and a litany of other traps to ensure that they don’t accomplish their goal.
Early in the game, there is often a “right” way to proceed to the next level. As the game progresses, however, your improv skills will be tested. Do you opt for traps dependent on gravity and proximity? Or do you prefer a more “hands-on” approach by using cannons? The choices are yours, you clever asshole!
101 Ways to Die is a great little experience for pretty much anyone. It has a fun, twisted sense of humor and tight gameplay mechanics. If you’re looking for an enjoyable and unique puzzler, you needn’t look any further.