On a platform surrounded by some of the most well known characters of all time, Nintendo had an uphill battle with Splatoon right from the get-go; thankfully, it has managed to hit this one shy high, right out of the park. Splatoon is a great introduction into the modern shooter, it is a must buy for anyone with a Wii U.
The game begins with you designing your very own Inkling, a humanoid creature which can turn into a squid. Odd as that may seem, it’s a unique design which proves itself interesting. The character customisation is rather simple. There are the basic colour and gender options, as well as better look-altering gear on offer with multiplayer progression.
In singleplayer you play the mysterious ‘Agent 3’. You are tasked with fighting off an Octoling invasion which aims to steal the power source of the hub world. Singleplayer is a rather paltry affair compared to Nintendo’s usual, but it is enjoyable enough to justify completion. It’s refreshing to see that they are not concerned with arbitrarily maintaining their norm of 20 hour + story modes where they’re not needed. Splatoon should take you less than 6 hours in total, which is complemented by the real meat of the game: an exciting and challenging team based multiplayer.
Splatoon’s multiplayer divides players into two teams who must pit it out to cover as much mapped territory as they can in their team’s ink. You’ve got to cover the ground in your ink, and struggle to keep it covered. This idea plays out like a really messy team deathmatch. Unfortunately, as yet, there is no other multiplayer mode. I can see this single chaotic objective becoming tired with enough play. Alongside multiplayer comes the customisation of gear and weaponry. Headgear, clothing and shoes all carry with it unique stat boosts and abilities. Kitting out with speed boosts and ink refill bonuses may prove vital in the ink-wars ahead. This in unison with various weapon combinations has the effect of creating vastly different gameplay styles; there’s something here to suit every playstyle. Having enjoyed all of this original game design, I still think Splatoon is sorely lacking in one key respect: there is no ability to talk to team-mates. Without this, players are forced to use other means to communicate strategies and tactics; using skype or just shooting in a particular direction to try and get your squad’s attention seem needless barriers to entry .With no intention of adding this feature in, I have no intention of teaming up with friends to take the battle online.
Nintendo does, in some ways, seem dedicated to providing ongoing additions. So far (in the first week) we’ve had new maps, weapons and a ranked multiplayer mode.
Splatoon certainly nails what it set out to do. Visually it’s vibrant and bright. Multitudes of colour catch the eye and excite. Splatoon feels polished and the developers loving eye for detail shines through. I came across no glitches, errors or game-breaking issues, which is the standard of quality we’ve come to expect from Nintendo. Splatoon falters in a lack of features, intentionally left out: in game chat, multiple game types, the ability to play solely on the gamepad. Putting these issues to one side, it’s important to note that Splatoon is a must buy for Wii U owners. An eye popping aesthetic, great soundtrack and solid original gameplay count as another win for the Nintendo family.