A strange port of a mobile paint sprayer | Traxion

Splash Cars really could have been awesome had it been designed with the Switch in mind.

Splash Cars is not a racing game, but more of a simple driving game where you try to bring color back into as much of the environment as possible by driving a paint-splattered car around isometric (but polygonal) maps.

Your little vehicle automatically speeds up – and you can’t slow it down – so you have to think fast and steer it around the various scenery objects and evade the police as you try to paint a high enough percentage of the map to progress.

It’s not a driving-focused game like Absolute Drift, at first it doesn’t feel like a driving game at all, but some moments of evading cops as you weave between trees carry kudos to the conduct.

However, its mobile gaming DNA is immediately evident. You know, the kind where you play for free, but then you either have to buy coins with real money or watch an ad to get more coins.

Everything here is set up like this, but microtransactions have been disabled for the console, without expectation or advertising, which means it’s obviously geared towards something that just doesn’t exist. Oddly for the Nintendo Switch version, even the touchscreen UI has been removed, so everything is done with buttons. The strangest.

Still, the game itself is pretty good in the end. It takes a few hours, be careful, because the first levels are extremely slow and boring. But soon you unlock faster cars and better power-ups, and start noticing other vehicles in stages.

Besides the cops, there are also small golf cart-sized vehicles and bigger trucks that drive around, painting what you’ve been up to. You can burst in and destroy them, but the best tactic is to get close to them and paint them instead, turning them into allies.

Do it early enough and they’ll get to work painting the map as you make your way to the more intricate areas. It works well and there is a good sense of smugness when everything goes according to plan.

However, those good feelings are negated a bit by the progression system, which is also hampered by its moving roots. The game wants you to revisit levels with better cars, which means getting all three stars on the first try can be literally impossible, which is annoying.

What’s also annoying is how you can rarely get 3 stars on a level without using the latest gasp fuel booster, which costs coins in-game, unless you’ve earned one for free. If the game had been pure skill-based with increasingly difficult maps that you could theoretically get right on the first try, that might have been something. As it is, it becomes a numb, grindy experience.

The game is over in around four hours if you manage to get all three stars, with a few unlockable cars after that, plus the local multiplayer option. Supporting up to four players (apparently requiring two Joy Cons each even though you’re literally only using one stick to spin), this allows you to form teams and try to cover the map with as much paint as possible.

It’s quite fun and works impressively given that the map has to be zoomed in to keep everyone on screen showing the whole level if you go to opposite corners. Not bad for a Unity game on this hardware.

Splash Cars really could have been great had it been designed with the Switch in mind, but as it stands, it’s too expensive for a free port, even at around five cents.

Definitely don’t buy it as a driving game, but if you really have too much free time, it will make the hours disappear in an increasingly enjoyable way, the time of an afternoon. No disaster, but probably doomed to oblivion.


The Traxion.GG Review Verdict: Consider
Developer paper bunker
Release date March 9, 2022
Platforms available Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
Version tested nintendo switch

Casey J. Nelson