Splashdown is surely the game with the best water effects ever to grace a videogame console. Water is probably the real protagonist in this game developed by Rainbow Studios. It looks, in a word, real. You'll be amazed to see the perfect sea foam, the water reflections, and the amazing waves. Adding to that, every track has its own unique "type of water". In the Three Rivers track for example, the water looks grey and not too clean but in the Barrier Reef in Australia you can see every detail on the seabed thanks to wonderful, crystal clear water.
In Splashdown there are 18 different tracks, and each of them is a true spectacle. Many of the circuits are definitely much more impressive than those featured in Gran Turismo 3-Spec. For example, the Amazon River, in which you race through an intricate tropical jungle, is a location worth of a fantasy game and the Loch Ness lake has a rather unusual gloomy atmosphere for a game of this genre. Skies and light effects are also magnificently refined, and the buildings in certain locations like Venice are just wonderful.
The characters and the watercrafts are built with a high number of polygons, but it's evident that the greatest part of the efforts was put into the background and in the water effects.
The only thing I didn't like in the graphics of Splahsdown are the Replays, in which the camera angles are definitely uninspired and fail in providing the TV-look that the player could expect from a game of this genre. Adding to that, there are some minor collision problems, and the frame rate is "only" at 30 fps. But this is definitely a thing most of the players won't even notice: Splashdown is one of the best-looking games of the year on any platform, have no doubt about that.
Splashdown features a soundtrack made in great part of pop-punk songs from many popular bands.
While this choice is not exactly "original", the songs fit perfectly the atmosphere of an extreme sport thanks to their fast, adrenaline-pumping rhythm. The bands featured are Sum 41 (Rhythms, All She's Got), Blink 182 (The Rock Show), Smashmouth (All Star), Groovie Ghoulies (Chupacabra), Donnas (You've Got A crash On Me) and a few others for a grand total of 13 songs. Anyhow, if compared to the interesting use of the soundtrack made in a title like SSX, Splashdown lacks in interaction between music and gameplay. In other words, you can turn off the soundtrack of the game and put your favorite CD in the background; the result would be exactly the same.
The Sound effects are extremely good - from all the waterish sounds you could expect in a title like Splashdown to the funny voices of the characters featured in the game. Overall, very good sounds.
Splashdown has an excellent replay value, and for more than a reason. First of all there are all the game modes you could ever need in a racing game. Then, the game can be played in three different difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Hard. The developers had the nice idea to modify the tracks accordingly to the difficulty setting you've chosen. In other words there are three really different versions of each track, for a total of more than 45 different circuits for your races. The multiplayer mode is another reason to keep on playing this game for a long time.