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Cheating in videogames often has a bitter aftertaste. It smacks of being a bad player, or of not playing the game the way it's supposed to be played. With that in mind, you'll probably be surprised that the first thing you see when booting up Splinter Zone is a cheat menu. That's right, just like those cracked games of old, Splinter Zone lets you fiddle with the difficulty - or even banish all enemies from the game.

On the surface, Splinter Zone looks like a lo-fi take on the old Megaman formula. And indeed, you'll immediately feel at home with its jumping and shooting if you've ever played a game starring the Blue Bomber. It emulates the classic's basics just right and even improves on them in some ways. The controls in particular feel a lot more responsive and precise, which is no mean feat.

Instead of choosing your path and picking a themed level, Splinter Zone throws random short levels and bosses, picked from a pool of 36 pre-built stages and six bosses, at you. While the transitions can be jarring - from lava level to underwater level to the game's idea of Canabalt - the uncertainty of what's coming next makes every run feel different enough.

Another thing that should be mentioned is probably one of the juiciest screenshake effects in ages, coupled with some wonderfully intense controller rumbling. It is apparent that a lot of thought went into how the game actually feels to play. Needless to say, you can tone these effects down or even remove them altogether - but why would you?

At the end of the day, what I appreciate most is the fact that Splinter Zone lets you adjust the experience exactly to the way you feel most comfortable with. There is absolutely no shame in turning this into an easier game - just as you can leave it as is if you're up to the challenge. Splinter Zone really doesn't judge you; it just wants you to have fun.

You can purchase Splinter Zone from itch.io and Steam for $9.99. For more information, visit the game's website or follow developer Eric 'MOKKOGRAD' Merz on Twitter.