Splatoon

9.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 10/10
Sound: 9/10

Fun | Easy To Play|Family Freindly|Addictive Gameplay|Great Gamepad support|Great Amiibo Support

No Invite/Party System | No Voice Chat | No Split Screen Co-op

Game Info

GAME NAME: Splatoon

DEVELOPER(S): Nintendo

PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U

GENRE(S): Action

RELEASE DATE(S): May 29, 2015

Nintendo is trying to get in on the popularity of the shooter genre and expand upon their already lengthy list of games with their recent release, Splatoon. Unlike most familiar shooting games these days which are almost all in the first-person perspective and use various types of sometimes hyper realistic bullets, rockets, bombs or other maniacal methods of imposing mayhem and death on your opponents, Splatoon is set in the third-person perspective. This of course means you can see your character and aren’t “looking through their eyes.”  Another difference to the methods of war described previously, your weapon of choice is ink! Very vivid, colorful, and sometimes sticky ink.

The basic objective is one I’d liken to a domination game type.  You are trying to cover as much of the play area with your team’s respective color of ink. I’m sure you’re probably sitting there wondering why I’m going on about ink, right? Of course you are. Well, it’s because you play the game as these adorable little “inklings” or better described as half squid, half kid hybrids. Leave it to Nintendo to shake things up a bit, right?

Now at the start of the game, before you even get to start playing you’re dropped into a level that acts more or less as a training level teaching you the basics of play, one of which is being able to turn from a kid to a squid and back again. Each form has it’s own distinct advantages, as you will learn. Once you reach the end of said level, that’s where the splat-tastic fun really begins.

ink

In Splatoon everything is centered around a hub world called Inkopolis. Anything and everything you may need access to or want to do is available from somewhere here in the plaza. You’ve got the multiplayer arena, shops for weapons and other gear, and plenty of other things including a quick post mailbox for posting to Miiverse! You’ll also see plenty of Inklings walking around, some of which even have Miiverse posts above their heads.

I’m going to go in sections here as there’s a bunch to go over.

MULTIPLAYER

Okay, this is the beans of Splatoon. Most of your time will probably be spent claiming turf and inking your friends (And foes!). The basic premise of Regular Battles is to cover as much of the play area with your color as possible, domination style. It’s very simple, he who dominates the map with their color wins the match after the time limit has expired. It really can’t get much more simple than that. Even though it’s not your typical Call of Duty style of  “run, kill and respawn” warfare, don’t let that fool you into thinking that all you do is paint the ground! You can still “kill” but I’d rather call it Splat! It’s much more fitting, don’t you think? I mean, come on, no squids are killed during the inking of territory.

Anyway, if you splat your opponent requiring them to be sent back to their team’s spawn point to respawn, that buys your team very precious and valuable inking time! After reaching level 10 you unlock Ranked Battle in which you’ve got Splat Zones, which is absolutely a control point type of game mode. You’ve got special zones on the map that your team needs to control in order to win, as opposed to trying to control the majority of the map. Splat Zones tends to have more strategic play from what I’ve noticed given the smaller points of control involved.

Nintendo breaks the mold on the genre with also the ability to transform into a squid on the fly.  It is literally as easy has holding down the zL button.  This squid form allows you to traverse through the ink faster and gives you the abilities to scale walls but has its side effect of not allowing you to shoot while in this form.  The classic example of risk/reward.  As for side weapons there are different types of grenades that can be equipped but be wary of grenade use as it takes A LOT of ink.  You can refill your ink (which the level is displayed in the canister on your back) faster by being in squid form.  There are also special moves that range from giving away enemy positioning to turning you into “The Kraken.” They really haven’t missed a beat with all the little details that have gone into creating your perfect weapon setup.

Weapons are all based on either some sort of kid’s toy, i.e. Super Soaker or something associated with painting in some way. Each of them is incrementally unlocked as you progress gaining levels but just because you unlock it doesn’t mean that you can use it.  You actually get to choose which weapons sets you want to fully unlock by “purchasing” them from Sheldon using your in game money. Just like any other shooting game, you’ve got classes of weapons for short, medium and long range. What works best for me, may not work best for you. So feel free to experiment and switch it up depending on the course. The main thing really that I wish had made it’s way in was split screen co-op. Not just Battle Dojo, I’m talking Regular Battles. Would have been nice is all.  The gear you purchase in Inkopolis also gives you stat buffs so you will want to make sure that you are checking back frequently to make sure that you are equipped with the latest and greatest.

SINGLEPLAYER

The single player for Splatoon is, summed up in one word, unique. Still maintaining the hub world aspect of Inkopolis, once you enter Octo Valley (where the single player portion takes place) you must find and open the entrances to each stage where you will be charged with rescuing a zapfish. After saving a particular number of zapfish then you will have access to the boss level for that set of stages.

Each of the single player stages is themed in one way or another, and some are rather interesting! Throughout the Octo Valley missions you will be collecting what are called “Power Eggs” which act as a sort of currency to upgrade your gear in the single player mode. It’s worth noting that the multi player and single player modes have their own independent upgrade system, yet they still have tie-ins via the use of Amiibo interaction.

oct

I’ve seen a lot of talk about how the single player mode feels out of place or tacked on. This is where I will openly admit that I am the odd man out. I don’t know if people were expecting a hard story-driven campaign mode or what, but at this point I don’t even know what I was expecting. What I do know is that it provides a fun set of challenges with some pretty crazy bosses that one could only expect from Nintendo. Honestly, with as atypical of a shooter as Splatoon is, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for them to add a very atypical, off the wall single player mode to compliment the brilliant multiplayer mode? It seems to me that is exactly what they’ve done here.

Amiibo

So far Splatoon seems to have the best Amiibo support yet. By scanning your Amiibo on the GamePad, it makes available to you a set of challenges that once completed will yield not only an in-game monetary reward, but also in some cases some pretty sweet gear. The challenges may just be levels from within Octo Valley, but they have a twist this time. You will be given specific conditions to meet in order to claim your prize. It definitely helps to give a new gameplay perspective, and add some replay value!

splatmiibo

The GamePad implementation is absolutely wonderful for this game, unlike many others that under utilize it and use it just for off-TV play, if anything. In this case, you have total control with the simple touch of a finger on the touch screen. Want to go to the weapons shop? No problem. With the touch of a finger you can get dropped right into the shop to check out Sheldon’s wares. Need to move a little faster? Head on over to one of the other shops and see what abilities are attached to their wares. Some make you move faster through ink, while others will help you to conserve your special weapon or ink. Some gear can even give you attack or defense bonuses. Feel like joining a multi player lobby? You can do that with a touch of the GamePad too. Even though there are other control options, I can’t see any reason to not use the GamePad with it’s clean and intuitive controls, be they tradtional stick and button or gyro.

splatgp

Graphically, the game is phenomenal with excellent textures, beautiful lighting effects and lots of vivid colors. The character designs are not only unique, but very comical in fact. In addition to each being based on some sort of undersea creature, they each have their own unique mannerisms, personalities and even style which is influenced by different genres of music. The soundtrack is, well, something else to say the least. It’s so different in that it’s clearly inspired by various genres of music, yet it’s almost as if it’s what these types of music might sound like from under the sea. A very interesting take on so many types of music. With the way it’s done I can say nothing else but that it is definitely fitting to the game.

And for the part I know everyone has been waiting for me to touch on, voice chat. Yes, I know. There is none. But this shouldn’t be a deal breaker as the matches are generally so short there’s no need and especially in Turf Wars, everyone just kind of knows their role. Now before you cry heretic and try to burn me at the stake for saying we don’t need it, there is a flip side, Splat Zones. As I mentioned earlier, I have noticed that there is a lot more of a strategic side to this mode and players know and acknowledge this. This is the kind of mode where the voice chat could come in handy. As you’ve noticed I don’t have a whole lot of bad things to say about this game, though there are some things (aside from voice chat) that I think it could benefit from. I think the lack of party system or custom/private matches should be added in a future update to allow the bypassing of the map rollover every time new maps cycle into play. Also an invite system to simplify playing with your friends, just joining their room doesn’t cut it at times.

THE RECOMMENDATION

From me it would be a resounding YES! Splatoon is a breath of fresh air into what is otherwise becoming a quite stale genre of morbid, dark shooting games. Splatoon not only brings a fresh new take on the genre by adding vivid colors aside from red to the mix, but by having addictive family friendly gameplay and doing it in a way that will not only turn heads, but make you smile and laugh as only Nintendo can.

 

Summary

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Author: Alonza Searer View all posts by
Father of two trying to teach the gaming and Jedi arts to the younglings of the future. Primarily a Nintendo Switch, Wii U, New 3DS XL and PlayStation 4 gamer with an appreciation for all games retro and modern. You can friend me on Facebook and you can also follow me on Twitter @gamerdadjedi