So Splatoon, the newest third person shooter with ink, arrived on the Nintendo Wii U not too long ago. If I was to sum it up into one word? Fun.
Now I went over some of the basics of the game, notably the Global Testfire, a few weeks back. If you missed it, check it out here.
A few things first, that differed from when I did the Testfire. Firstly, the tilt controls are boss. Being able to reflexively adjust the gamepad while moving so that your shot strikes true I’ve found to be invaluable. Others may prefer turning it off, but I would highly recommend giving it a good amount of time before saying “Nah, not for me.”
Secondly, being forced to use the gamepad isn’t so bad after all. Being able to check the map at a glance can be very handy in seeing where they are, or if there are patches of their ink within your own. Sometimes those little bits can decide a winner (I’m a member of the “I’ve lost by 0.1%” club), while also kinda seeing where the enemy “might” be to either cover them up or splat them. Tapping a teammate will Super Jump to them (which can be done at ANY time, not just when you are at the spawn point). The battery life issue is something I’ve run into just about every session, but that’s because I typically can’t put it down once I start playing. Plugging it in isn’t TOO much of a hassle, and can even be a sign to put the game down for a bit.
A look at the Gamepad mid-battle. Know where to strike!
When you first boot up the game, after you customize your Inkling (boy/girl, skin colour, eye colour) you get a news bulletin; “The Great Zapfish has been squidnapped!” Callie and Marie deliver the news, but seem playfully “meh” about it; it isn’t the end of the world and no one knows what happened, but maybe it’ll turn up somewhere? It leads off the games lack of seriousness. They then show you around, letting you know what is where. All of the locations can be accessed from the Gamepad, but walking around lets you see other Inklings you’ve encountered and check out their gear / Miiverse message. There is some CRAZY good art on there.
SINGLE PLAYER – OCTO VALLEY
Yes, he is hanging out in the sewer. Turns out there is a lot under the city to be discovered…
To be honest I wasn’t expecting a lot from this mode. It wasn’t overly the “focus” of the game but there for if you felt like playing alone. They kinda outdid themselves with it.
It leads you through a story consisting of 27 missions and 5 bosses, coached by Captain Cuttlefish, a grizzled veteran in the war against the Octarians.
The single player game plays vastly differently from the multiplayer, acting almost more like Super Mario Galaxy; sections separated by a “warp jump” that you go through until the level’s end. Levels ranged from easy to moderately difficult; usually you could figure out what to do pretty quickly. The game foregoes the common “lives” scenario most games use, and instead give you 3. When you get splatted, you lose one. Reaching a checkpoint (which are frequent enough) restores one. Of course, if you simply cannot get past a section, seeing those 3 lives go by can happy quickly. Overall it was nothing overly difficult, with the “most difficult” part being the final boss. You can also find “Sunken Scrolls” hidden in the level, which also vary in difficulty for how hidden they are. The scrolls give you backstory regarding why there are no humans, how squids became land-based (and unable to swim; everyone knows squids can’t swim, though), and how the battle with their foes, the Octarians, came to be. They’ll always fight over which amount of tentacles is better, though they look awfully similar to Inklings… Maybe evolution works in similar ways? To be honest I haven’t collected ALL of them, so they may explain it in more detail.
You need to be Level 10 to even set foot into Ranked Battle. Be sure to Freshen up!
Multi player was partially explained in the Global Testfire Impressions article, though a lot has changed. There are many more weapons, more maps, and more customization. Weapon loadouts are locked to weapons (ie a main weapon decides the sub and special weapons). There are usually 2 variants of every weapon, so you can have a change of pace.
Clothing plays as impact as well, as each article (hat, clothes, shoes) posesses various abilities that you can use, such as the expected Damage Up and Defense Up, but also things like Ink Recovery Up (restore ink faster), Ink Resistance Up (not be affected by opposing ink as much), and Swim/Run Speed Up (swim/run faster… Duh). Building up sets for different weapons is highly recommended, as it can help make a win from a loss with proper preparation. Of course, you can always just get whatever items you want that you think look good; the lack of mic support means that you won’t hear the complaints of others. As with most games, skill can overcome gear abilities, allowing doing it for the fashion to be a thing. You can buy these items from the local shops, or once you are fresh enough (ie leveled up), you can order what you see on other players for a premium price.
Gear also has up to 3 ability slots, which add a slight bit of whatever they get. Using the piece collects points for it, which uses the slots. Upon getting enough points, you get a random ability which may or may not be helpful. Don’t worry, you get the ability to reroll slots later at the steep steep cost of 30,000 points. Points which you earn from multiplayer modes; on average you get 1000 a win in the “Fun” mode, 2000 in “Ranked”. Shops reset at midnight.
Looking good is just as important as battling well. Its all about fashion, baby!
The “Fun” mode is Turf Wars, where the goal is to simply cover more of the stage than the enemy in a 3 minute period. It can lead to a chaotic 3 minutes, so seeing the map on the Gamepad can be super useful; you can really turn it around by simply sneaking where there probably isn’t someone and covering it up in the last minute or so. The tide of battle changing can happen instantly and happens frequently, so you always have to be ready for anything. Win or lose will net you some points, though as the points you get is dependent on how much territory you covered at the end, usually the losing team has lower than the winners. The winners also get a bonus 300 points for winning.
The “Ranked” mode is Splat Zones, which is a King-of-the-Hill style game. No, not the TV show; you ink an area(s) and hold it to count down a timer of 100 within a 5 minute period. Losing the area while winning and the opponent getting it gives you a penalty, so upsets in the battle can change the outcome quite quickly; having 2 or 3 squids splattered usually means losing the area(s) and the opposing forces getting a foothold in that can turn into a “You were winning but lost” scenario. That happens quite often, be it by a couple squids not noticing something, or just sloppy play. KO’s matter a bunch more in this mode, as you can imagine. You can get a massive amount of points in this for winning. Losing… Well, if the game times out you might get some points? Usually the games result in a 100% win (a “Knockout”), so losing team generally gets a whopping 0 points for their efforts.
The ranking itself is quite competitive. You start at C-, getting 20 points a win and losing 10 a loss. C you get 15 a win, C+ 12 a win… While still getting -10 a loss. In B- I was getting 10 for win and -10 for loss, so I try not to imagine how the future ranks are.
What you would see during a Ranked Battle. That’s a lot of info on one screen…
The game, I admit, has a limited amount of maps at the moment, but with the promise of new free DLC releases giving new maps, weapons, and game modes (we’ve already gotten 2 updates thus far), its hard to be upset about it. Amiibo support also adds additional costumes and challenges for Single Mode, having you go through various missing with the different weapon types for some fancy gear. It certainly puts a spin on things.
A look at the Amiibo unlocks, showcasing what you get from the Inkling Girl, Squid, and Inkling Boy Amiibos.
While I have gone over a LOT of things thus far, there are still a few that I haven’t gotten to; think of it as incentive to play the game and find them yourselves! Splatoon is available right now, only for the Nintendo Wii U.