By: Ashley Quirke
Splatoon is an online multiplayer 3rd person shooter game that has the players work in teams to try to cover more territory in ink than their opponents. This game throws you right into the fray as soon as you start it up! After doing some minor customization work on your character–called Inklings–and a brief tutorial, the player is told to visit the lobby, where they are thrown head first in to their first online turf-war. Thankfully, the game is pretty easy to grasp, though I wish the tutorial was a little more clear about special and sub-weapons, which are abilities that you can use alongside your regular attack to help ink more territory. I had to do a bit of reading on that myself before I really understood it. The tutorial has you use motion controls to aim your gun, which I found a little difficult. Let’s just say my aim greatly improved once I turned motion controls off! Other than that, I thought the controls were pretty easy to master.
Off the bat, I noticed that there weren’t many maps to play. There was 5 when the game was released, but since then two more have been added through updates. Not very many, especially considering that the game picks two maps per day, per mode, to be playable, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Meaning if you’re planning on just playing regular battles that day, you’re going to be playing the same two maps over and over again. Despite this, the battles never grow stale. Each match is new and exciting! It’s surprising how much you’ll learn just by getting “splatted,” where you’re sent back to your team’s base to respawn, by members of the opposing team. If you’re a charge gun user like me, you’ll pick up on all the best spots for sniping!
The different weapons available allow for vastly different play styles. There are four basic weapon classes right now, though the game was released with only 3. Shooters rapidly fire ink, and you can get some with decent range too. Charge guns have the most range of any weapon in the game, but as their name states, they have to be charged briefly before they can be fired. Paint rollers are arguably the best weapon class in the game. They can cover huge areas of the area with paint, and you can easily run over unsuspecting opponents to “splat” them. They can also be used to splash paint at enemies in front of you, but this doesn’t have a lot of range. The fourth and newest weapon class is the Paintbrush. It’s similar to the paint roller in function, but it sacrifices area coverage for speed. There are quite a few weapons to choose from in each of these classes, and they’re all fairly easy to learn. One mechanic I really liked about this game is the ability to test weapons before you buy them!
An update shortly after the game’s release introduced a new game mode: ranked battles. Ranked battles aren’t unlocked until players reach level 10. I imagine this is to ensure that everyone playing has a pretty good grasp of how the game works. This mode has a much more competitive feel than regular battles. Instead of running around and splattering ink wherever you can, teams fight to gain control of Splat Zones. Splat Zones are controlled by whichever team has the most ink in them. Each team has a 100 second timer that starts to count down once they’ve gained control of all Splat Zones in the area. The first team to get their timer down to zero wins. If neither team gets the timer to zero at the end of 5 minutes, the team with the lower timer wins. If your team wins, you get some money and your rank increases. If your team loses, your rank goes down. I think this mode could be a lot more fun if you were able to form teams with your friends, or at least be able to have friends join your team. As it stands now, teams are formed randomly from players who have similar ranks, so I can see how introducing friends with different ranks into the mix could be a problem.
I should take a moment to talk about single player mode. I thought it was cute and it really helped me learn the game quickly starting off. It is short, but that’s understandable since this is a game with a multiplayer focus. Local Multiplayer consists of a balloon splatting mini-game, which I was a little disappointed with. I would have really liked to have been able to have a local battle with a friend, or even be able to have a local friend join me online.
I really like that Splatoon keeps adding new content, ranging from new maps, to new weapons, to new modes. Though it kind of gives me the feeling that I paid a lot for an early-access version of the game. Oh well, as long as the keep the free DLC coming, I’m not going to complain. I’m looking forward to seeing what new additions these updates will bring!
Until next time…