Splatoon - Wii U

Release Date:

May 29, 2015

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


Splatoon will see players splatter enemies and claim their turf as the ink-spewing, squid-like characters called Inklings arrives on the Wii U console. Challenge your friends in chaotic four-on-four matches, in which the goal is to get your ink on as many places as possible and claim your turf, all while strategically submerging yourself in your team's colours and blasting your enemies. This is a colourful and chaotic online third-person action shooter, exclusively on Wii U. Players will be able to team up and take on other teams in an action-filled battle to cover the level with as much ink as possible.

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Wii U


Splatoon was developed by Nintendo for the Wii U as part of their push to dip into new genres. When you think Nintendo you don’t typically think of third person action shooters, but that is exactly the direction that the company is going with this title. In an attempt to tie together a new genre with a burgeoning online network, the MiiVerse, Splatoon pushes gamers to work together or against one in another in frantic online multiplayer action. The gist of the game is that you want to ink up your opponents, take over their turf, and come out the cleanest character on the map. While the concept itself is deliciously simple, the execution is complicated and absolutely wonderful. Underneath this kiddy veneer is a game that pushes players, young and old, in a way that is inventive and altogether fresh.

Let’s face it, Nintendo knows their audience by now. If you pick up a Nintendo title you likely value gameplay over carnage, entertainment over blood lust, and invention over the tried and trusted norm. The last bit might make some people roll their eyes, as Nintendo loves to stick to their classic IP’s, but really look at what they’ve done with them! Mario has played every sport on the planet, he has been an artist, a Tetris leader, and the main character in Smash Bros.
Anyways, I digress.

Splatoon gives kids, and older gamers alike, the chance to make a mess and have fun doing it. The gameplay focuses on bite sized action, with three minute matches. You can play online or offline and there is even a small single player campaign. While there is quite a bit to do there, the goal of the title will always be to get you into an online lobby so you can take out gamers from all over the planet. Nintendo’s secondary motto has always been, 'Let’s play together' and Splatoon makes that so easy and enjoyable to do.

So Splatoon is a 'territory' shooter. Much like Call of Duty or even the turf wars in Tony Hawk, Splatoon divides players into competing teams and forces them to fight for every inch of the map. Turf Wars is the primary game mode that most people will get addicted to and it is a competitive 4 on 4 variation. In this mode you want to fill the map with as much of your color as possible and if any enemy players get in your way, then ink them too. But know that violence isn’t at the core of Splatoon. If you fight your enemy that is only a side effect of trying to drench the map. Instead, you will largely be focused on scrambling all over the map with your pseudo gliding Squid character.

While this all sounds simple, there are a few cool wrinkles in store for gamers. Whenever you are on your color, or your turf, you can press a simple button to turn your squid into an incredibly fast moving creature. You can’t fight while zipping around in this mode, but it allows for you to travel quickly in order to advance your attack. Once you hit the end of your turf switch back to combat mode and drench it with your ink. When the game mode ends a cat judge will appear and tally up all of the claimed territory in order to announce a winner. Yeah, it’s strange. I don’t know what a cat has to do with squid. I mean the ink makes sense in relation to the squid but, whatever, it’s Nintendo.

Your weapons in Splatoon are as effective painting the ground as they are painting up your enemy, and they all look good thanks to the rock solid 60 FPS that the game runs at. You can use the Splatroller to shoot wide lanes of ink or you can switch to the Splattershot in order to emulate the machine gun type firing for rapid ink spreading. The longer you play the more variations of weapons you will unlock and the more effective you will become. Splash Wall and Sprinkler weapons make for awesome strategy game changers but at the end of the day you can keep it simple. No matter what you do, paint the town your color.

Thanks to the visual element of turf wars it is always easy to find your enemies in the map. Whenever enemy ink starts popping up it is on you to get over there and shake up the paradigm. The GamePad in your hand will keep track of who is winning the match and it will helpfully point out areas that you need to attend to. Unfortunately Splatoon doesn’t have any sort of voice chat because that would have been a super helpful addition to the game. This type of frantic gameplay definitely lends itself to shouting commands over your headset. But Nintendo has always been family friendly and we have a feeling that voice chat would become abused, much like in the Xbox Live and PSN worlds.

Being that this is an online centered game where multiplayer is the prime rib of the entry, you need to be able to effectively connect to other game modes. Fortunately we never had any issues with connectivity and we were in and out of matches without any sort of down time. Matchmaking worked well and for that we are thankful.

There are a few little nice wrinkles that make progression possible. You can dress up your characters, purchase things with in game currency from the shop in between matches, and even customize your game worlds with drawings that you used in the MiiVerse. Progression also means that you can become overpowered pretty easily. Better gear definitely sways the battle into your favor so be careful about who you go up against or your team could get steamrolled.

Playing offline offers a six hour campaign that is enjoyable but lacks the spontaneity of the multiplayer version. In any event, if you are a Wii U owner then you owe it to yourself to buy this game.

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Release Date:

May 29, 2015

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