Splatoon 2: Ink-splatting squids

I never imagined that being a squid that splats ink on everything around it would be entertaining. It is.

Caveat: I didn’t play the original Splatoon on the Wii U (I don’t own a Wii U) so I have no opinion on how it compares to the original game (I’ve read some reviews say it’s essentially the same game with a few tweaks). I went into Splatoon 2 fresh – and I liked what I saw.

It’s bright aesthetic and quirkiness just makes you smile when you start it up and splatting things with different colours of squid ink proves strangely cathartic in a gaming landscape littered with shooters that dismember limbs and spill buckets of claret in fast-paced arenas. Online matches are also less than five minutes in length so the game is perfect for pick-up-and-play sessions when you’ve got a limited amount of time.

The game’s Turf Wars mode has you use a variety of ink-splatting weapons to try to cover as much territory on the map with your ink before the timer runs out. It’s fast paced and frantic, with players wielding dual pistols, giant paint rollers and sniper rifles as battle to ink as much of the play area as they can. With battles less than five minutes, you’ll be splatting, running and jumping as you try to gain ground against the enemy.

A nice game play mechanic is that you can sink into your ink colour, transforming into a squid. Not only does this let you move faster around the map (provided you stay in the ink) it also refills your back-pack mounted ink reservoir – and makes it harder for enemies to spot you.

The single player mode is a good taster for the online play, teaching you the game play mechanics as you test out a variety of weapons and environments in a mission to rescue imprisoned zapfish from the evil Octo-whatevers. Single player missions take anything from 10 minutes to 20 minutes to work though, again just perfect if you want t few minutes of ink action.

There’s a new online mode called Salmon Run, where players team up to “defeat hordes of salmon and collect their eggs”: So it’s Horde mode like in Gears of War but with bright colours.

The online maps are rotated every two hours so maps you played at 10am won’t be available at 2pm and I guess Nintendo have done it this way to keep things fresh and players interested. Time will tell if it works. I’ve also heard that it’s a nightmare (to say the least) to use chat while playing the game, forcing players to jump through hardware hoops just to get the feature working. I didn’t even bother, to be honest.

For me, Splatoon 2 is a hit on the Nintendo Switch. It’s just another indicator that Nintendo is killing it this generation with games despite not having the most powerful console.

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