Puzzle games are the whole wheat pasta of the flash gaming world. They provide you with wholesome, nutritious entertainment that aids mental digestion and contains actual substance that it allows your brain to feast upon, while the empty calories of regular, skills-based games simply give you a short-term entertainment boost that is often stored as fat later on, resulting in player’s guilt at not choosing the healthier option. There are many puzzle games to flex your brain cells in the direction of, with the likes of Electric Box 2 giving you some circuit-based brain exercise. Today’s choice is Splitter Pals, however, and boy is it the choiciest choice you’re likely to choose all day. Instead of basic and direct manipulation of shapes with the mouse, the mechanism action here is to split a variety of wooden shapes in a manner that encourages your ‘pals’ towards the portal located inconveniently across the screen. It’s a big slice of entertainment based on the act of slicing, and you’d better believe it quite literally makes the cut.
The main aim of Splitter Pals is very simple: simply use your mouse to click and drag a line that results in the cutting of any materials that are able to be cut in each level, resulting in a series of physical events that follow the laws of simulated gravity and hopefully result in the successful collecting of all the level’s stars and the ultimate goal of getting your bright yellow ‘pal’ to the exit vortex. The materials that you are able to split are mainly wood, but you can also slice through other pieces of the many contraptions such as wires and ropes, often forming part of a pulley or cam system that results in a complex series of movements that in turn will result in something beneficial if you make the correct cut. You are also limited to the number of cuts you can make in each level, so don’t split hairs, just split the wood in a way that gives you the best result for the smallest number of slices.
It’s unlikely that Splitter Pal’s aesthetic is going to blow anyone’s minds, but it does have a certain level of polish and a fairly unusual style about it, though not quirky enough for it to stand out in today’s collection of increasingly eccentric (often just for eccentricity’s sake) flash-based puzzle games. The physics that hold the game together are pretty solid and the puzzles are challenging enough if you work your way past the introductory levels just like similar games such as Super Stacker 2 designed to be easy enough to allow you to get accustomed to the game without becoming so frustrated that you leave immediately. The whole thing is based on a very simple concept, but you will find the puzzles become increasingly intricate and complex and feel compelled to keep coming back just so you can beat the one level that has been bothering you. This ‘just one more level’ attitude is what makes a success of most games, and Splitter Pals has this very quality, making it thoroughly enjoyable and a fine example of a physics-based puzzle game whose marvellousness we should all revel in.