Download. Do you enjoy getting drunk on red wine and driving go-karts into things? Tired of getting arrested and being yelled at by your overbearing wife? Well, I have the solution we have both been searching for. Splash Festival is a freeware title by Okahara Mai, a student at the Kobe Institute of Computing’s department of game development (seriously, check out this link). Unlike the seemingly bottomless pit of vertical space shooters and sub-par platformers that make up so much of the Japanese freeware scene, Splash Festival is both unique and a hell of a lot of fun.
In Splash Festival, you play a silhouette who rides a go cart around a square rink and smashes grapes with a mallet. Needless to say this game really spoke to me. Each grape you squash (and these things are the size of killer tomatos) adds a small amount of wine to the empty bottle on to the side of the screen. Once the bottle is full it will be corked, given a star rating out of 5 and a new empty bottle will appear. From what I can tell, the goal of the game is simply to produce as many top quality wines as you can before the time limit runs out. I’m not entirely sure how the star rating for the wines are decided, but generally speaking, the quicker I filled the bottle, the better the rating seemed to be.
You can also get combos if you squash more than one grape in quick succession. Once you have squashed a grape, some of the juice splashes onto the game screen and stays there for a short while. In order to get a combo, you have to squash the next grape before that juice disappears from the screen. It’s actually quite a clever mechanic that lets you know how long you have to rack up a combo.
There is not much more I can say about this game, as it’s a single stage displaying a single concept, but god damn if it ain’t fun. The only downside is that when you swing your mallet, your go-kart stops, meaning you lose any momentum you have built up. There is some kind of turbo mode that comes around every now and then which lets you swing your mallet multiple times without stopping, but it doesn’t last very long. For those using a key board, the Z key is used to accelerate, the X key to swing your mallet and the arrow keys to turn.