- Release year: 2015
- Consoles: Wii U
One of the most common criticisms thrown at Nintendo, is that they no longer come up with new IPs and, instead, rely on and milk existing franchises. Considering some of the best games on the Wii U are Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros Wii U, it’s hard not to think the criticism could be valid. So when Nintendo released their own take on the ‘online shooter’ genre, added their own unique twist, made it one of the most addictive games of all time, continued to support it long after its release and even included a fun single player mode, it was hard not to be a little bit excited.
Splatoon is a ‘shooter’ with a difference. In fact, it’s hardly a shooter at all. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are weapons, there are guns, but these weapons aren’t shooting bullets or even lasers. These weapons are spraying paint. And although you will no doubt find yourself being killed by or killing other players, this isn’t really the primary goal of Splatoon, at least with the main online mode, Turf War.
The Turf War battles make up about 90% of what I play. They are that damn good. The single player is okay and the Ranked Battles, which features a rotation of Splat Zones (capture zones), Tower Control (capture and escort a floating tower back to your base to win) and Rainmaker (capture a single flag and bring back to your base), are fun, but nothing beats the simplicity and charm of Turf Wars, for me. This is an online mode that features two teams of four facing off against each other from opposite sides of the map. The aim is to paint as much of the floor (and walls) as possible. At the end of each match, the amount of paint is calculated and the winning team is announced. This mode is really addictive and really tense.
Control and gameplay is really tight in Splatoon. You play as ‘inklings’, which move from a third person perspective. It plays exactly how you’d expect a shooter to (dual analogue sticks, run, jump, shoot etc), but, if you wish, you can also use motion controls to aim. The inklings can turn into a squid, with the hold of a button, and submerge themselves into the paint on the floor (as long as it’s yours). This is the only way to ‘reload’ your paint, but it also has the benefit of allowing you to whiz across the painted floors and walls to reach other areas with speed.
Splatoon is a really wacky and over the top game. Weapons include rocket launchers, shotguns, machine guns, paint brushes, rollers etc and all have their own pros and cons, providing different strategies.
Splatoon is Nintendo’s take on the third-person shooter and what an incredible, unique and original take on it, it is. The game is full of creative, amazing maps to play and Nintendo are always updating the game with new maps and modes etc. The splat fests (monthly? weekend tournaments, where you must pick a side to represent) keep me coming back and even normal online matches are consistently fun to play. This is a game I just can’t stop coming back to, even if I have the odd break.