The major selling point of Splatoon is ink. Players control an Inkling creature which can transform into a squid to traverse ink to increase movement speed, become invisible when stationary and replenishing their ink tanks. Players are damaged if they enter ink not of their own colour or get shot by an enemy. A very refreshing mechanic in the day and age of generic first-person shooters that generates intense experiences as the indicator displays that the map split is close to 50/50.
Players are able to select and unlock different weapon types that offer completely different gameplay experience; the main example being the Splat Roller which lets the player roll ink with a paint roller instead of shooting it increasing their spread but decreasing their range. Each weapon also comes with a sub weapon that is charged over time such as the Sprinkler which can be placed to spray ink in a radius. The weapon system is expansive and well designed giving plenty of playstyle options to the player through customisation and upgrades dependent on player level which doesn't feel like a huge disadvantage with the matchmaking system in online games.
Splatoon comes with a rather unexpected, due to the marketing focus of it being online multiplayer, single player campaign. It is rather expansive and teaches the player about key skills and tactics which are easy transferable to the multiplayer game. Unique enemies, puzzle like areas, boss encounters and great level designs the single player campaign is a great addition for the game and an excellent starting point for new players acting as a streamlined tutorial without dumbing down the game. Not only that but the single player campaign earns players blueprints which they can use to upgrade their weapons, this may be seen as 'forced' content but it works well for introducing players to the world of Splatoon and the skills they will need in the world of online multiplayer.
In addition to a standard offline 1v1 multiplayer mode, which is unfortunately not very expansive, Splatoon's main focus is on online multiplayer. It includes a variety of game modes such as Turf War, where players must control as much of the map as possible, and Tower Control, a capture the flag scenario. When Splatoon released the game mode types were limited with few maps which Nintendo responded to quickly with more game modes and maps which is very refreshing to see. Each game mode brings new depth and experience for players with a fair matchmaking system. Even games that feel lost can be brought to a victory quickly with good teamplay, something well designed and balanced in Splatoon. There are occasionally games where one side dominates but this is standard for online multiplayer games.
Innovative mechanics, an expansive single player campaign and balanced online multiplayer games, Splatoon delivers well with some minor annoyances.
Offline Multiplayer: The worst part about Splatoon is the way it handles Offline Multiplayer. It only allows 2 players and one must be using a pro controller or classic controller which aren't as easy to come by as the usual Wii remote. Battle Dojo is the name of offline multiplayer where balloons must be popped, the most popped at the end of the game wins. There are no other modes or variants.
The simple solution to this would be the implementation of online game modes instead of the bland balloon popping game. Ideally the addition of Wii remote support would remedy the controller issue but it is likely down to control support.
Splatoon is an incredibly refreshing title especially in the shooter genre that brings many surprises with only minor issues since being updated. An incredible start for Nintendo's new franchise to be.
What I Would Change
Developed by Nintendo EAD and released in 2015, Splatoon is an Online Third-Person Shooter, a first for Nintendo. The game received positive reception; 9/10 from Edge and 8.5/10 from Destructoid. A new IP for Nintendo in a new territory with a very unique take on the shooter genre.
Players compete to cover maps in ink of their colour with their guns, in the standard game mode whichever team has covered the most area in their colour at the end of the timer wins. Players can turn into squids to travel through ink of their colour undetected and fire at the opposite team to briefly defeat them.
How does Nintendo's new IP hold up?