A tl;dr haiku
Squid related puns
Something with calamari?
Whatevs. Game is fun.
Time for squids! Time for shooting squids. Time for fresh squids. Ha ha! Get it? Like, fresh as in the slang for an admired and novel idea but also fresh as in seafood? Cause they’re squids? Nintendo / 10 humor. Fantastic. Expect other such naming conventions, as well as fun gameplay and a surprisingly competent online mode if you choose to pick up Splatoon by Nintendo for the Wii U.
Giving a fish
Gonna be upfront with my bias here: I’ve been excited for this game since I saw the trailer that was released at E3 2014. With that out of the way, I love what’s been delivered here. Splatoon is a third person shooter with more wackiness than grit that makes its living with a fast-paced chaos that somehow still feels controlled. Kind of like a fire hose, only with more squid puns and brightly colored ink.
The hardest thing to get used to in Splatoon is the control scheme. Specifically, aiming with the Wii U gyroscope. The right control stick will only shift the camera side to side. Looking up and down is done by tilting the game pad up or down. For hard core shooter fans, such controls likely feel something like being hit over the head with a garden hoe. My reaction, while not as severe, was initially similar. But. after playing with these unconventional for awhile, I’ve actually come to like them. The gyroscope just feels right, somehow. Now, I doubt it’s for everyone, which is why I’m glad Splatoon also provides the option to disable gyro controls, and give full control of the camera to the stick. So there are options available.
As of now, the only game mode available for online play is one called, “Turf Wars.” The objective is simple: cover everything in ink. Whichever team covers more stuff in ink wins. Shooting the other team happens too, but only because it’s a pretty good way to prevent them from covering stuff in ink.
Splatoon has three main weapon types: Shooters, Chargers, and Rollers. Each of those types has individual weapons with different stats. The individual weapons also come with different secondary weapons and super abilities. The secondary weapons are all along the lines of grenades, protective barriers, and other minor tools. The super abilities are a bit more out there, falling more in line with becoming The Kraken or calling in an air strike. Different weapons become available for purchase as the player’s level goes up. This becomes a bit of a problem for a reason I’ll get into later.
Aside from weapons, there is also gear available to augment skills. This gear comes in the form of clothing: hats, shirts, and sneakers. Different gear gives different bonuses, such as faster movement or higher damage. Like weapons, more gear becomes available as the player levels up. The reason this system is a problem is because the player can only level up through online play. Online play has awful matchmaking. Starting off, it seemed like every match I was in had a a bunch of low-leveled players, then one person who was max level. The team with the max level player would invariably win. Not only because of the difference in gear, but because there is also about three hundred matches of experience separating an average level 5 from a fresh level 20. Once the mid-levels are reached, this becomes less of a problem. But early on, it’s rather off-putting.
Another issue with online play in disconnects. Not in that the game disconnects while playing – the online is shockingly good for Nintendo. I experienced very little lag while playing. By disconnects, I mean there is no contingency for when a teammate disconnects or AFKs. Being down a player when teams are made of only four people is a significant, and often insurmountable, disadvantage. True, games are only about three minutes long, so it’s pretty easy to just suck it up and move on. But, I’m an overly competitive and easily frustrated person. So I’m mentioning it anyway. You know who you are, Splatoon AKFers. Your reckoning will come.
Teaching to fish
To the other stuff that’s not online play. Single player. It’s good. Really good. I was surprised how good it was. Fun, fast-paced courses and exciting bosses. It wouldn’t work as a stand-alone game, but as a bonus to an already great game? Gourmet gravy. I love it.
The only mode I’m disenchanted with it the local multiplayer. It’s just sort of… lacking. Certain weapons are very much not designed for one-on-one play, and it shows. But hey, two for three. I’ll take that.
Long and short of it: Nintendo finally tried something new, and I think it worked out great. Splatoon is fun, has a strong online mode, and has given itself room to. T fresh flavor also helps. It’s a great game, and a must have for the Wii U.
Yeah, do it.