Home Gay Gaming REVIEW: Soak & Splash — Silly sauna-simulator FPS

REVIEW: Soak & Splash — Silly sauna-simulator FPS

A light, free FPS game that needs a little longer in the tub

by Edwin Chris
Two towel-wrapped men chillin' with alcohol on top of a table in Soak & Splash.

Soak & Splash is the debut free-to-play title from indie developers Hosthood Studios. It’s also, all at once, everything that’s good and bad about the low-to-the-ground experience with online indie games that, for better or for worse, gain meme notoriety.

Billed as “ultimate sauna experience where players can enjoy socializing with friends and strangers that easily can become friends,” what Soak & Splash actually is, is a silly, casual first person shooter that replaces guns with towels and buckets of water.

You’re hot, then you’re cold…

It executes the “competitive-sauna” joke well with a set of interesting and mostly-well-thought out system mechanics. Instead of health, you have a temperature gauge, and different attacks (and environmental effects) will either raise or lower it. Get too hot, you’ll catch on fire. Get too cold, you’ll freeze in a block of ice. Either way, that’s the equivalent of a “kill” in this universe. It’s a clever way to represent both the award of taking someone down in an FPS and keeping it friendly and on-point for the aesthetic of the game.

Chasing an enemy through the cold showers.

Chasing an sauna-combatant through the cold showers with a towel.

One of the reasons it feels necessary to cover this game on a gay gaming website is because its aesthetic and sense of humor are so obviously inspired by gay culture, and masculinity writ large. So often in these types of games, particularly those of smaller budgets, “naked men” and “near-naked men” are played to laughs to such an extent that it can feel phobic.

Charming to play, silly to look at

It’s nice, then, that Soak & Splash doesn’t actually feel that way at all. “It is what it is” isn’t exactly riveting critique, but it is the best way to talk about this game’s look because it actually does exactly what it says it will. The proximity chat and pvp-safe areas do, if you want it to be, allow for a casual, chill, silly experience. You’d need a friend and a private lobby password, perhaps, but Soak & Splash’s commitment to even pretending this game can be social beyond its shooting premise is admirable. (Public lobbies are exactly the sort of insane free-all you’d expect them to be, when they are populated, and you are advised to enter at your own risk.)

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…but the UI is garbage.

So, the game-play is imaginative, it nails its aesthetic, and its charming, to boot. What’s not to like about this game? Well, unfortunately, just about everything else. At the time of this writing, the UI and particularly its options settings are dreadfully executed. Everything, and I do mean every-single-thing, is an in-game 3D object. You have to interact with them from a first person perspective. Most of the time this is fine, and obviously it’s also part of the joke of the game. However, there are some UI elements that straight up didn’t work at the time of launch, such as… the “apply” button in the options menu. When you can’t tell whether something is executed poorly or poorly-on-purpose, you’ve perhaps taken your joke too far.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue with a $0 price tag, and if you and a gaggle of your FPS loving gays want a simple competitive game that you can play casually, Soak & Splash is worth at least a brief install. Clunky execution on the interfaces and a lack of overall polish, however, means you’ll probably want to get out of the tub sooner rather than later.


Simple and imaginative twist on the FPS genre

Genuinely funny aesthetic

Nice level layout with a variety of options that play well into the game’s hot/cold mechanics


Poorly executed and buggy UI elements are neither fun nor funny

Novelty wears off quickly

Overall Score: 55/100

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