Developed by: Nintendo
Published by: Nintendo
Release Date: 5/29/2015
Available on: Wii U
Splatoon was announced at last years E3, completely out of the blue. It was shown as an online multiplayer 3rd person shooter focused on claiming territory and less on shooting people in the face. Splatoon was made by a younger team at Nintendo, and as such seemed totally fresh. It stole E3 attendant’s and the internet’s hearts. So, did it live up to its heart stealing debut? Let us find out.
Graphics: Let us start with the graphics. The game world has a cute colorful chunky urban look to it. The Inklings themselves are well animated and are absolutely adorable. The fashion you can buy is wonderfully stylish. The store owners are also well animated and designed. The ink effects are outstanding, the light shines off of it at the right angles, it looks and feels thick and gooey. Basically it looks and feels like real ink. The octopus enemies in the single player are silly and well animated as well. Everything else is just alright though. Clearly effort was made to make the game run as smooth as possible online and off, which leads to the environments having extremely basic textures. It is not bad but certainly noticeable. Overall the games graphics/art style are stylish, adorable, and get the job done. Despite not being the most good looking WiiU game.
Sound: The music first and foremost is great. It is all designed to feel like the popular music of this world and it totally works. Some of the music is metal, some pop, some rock etc etc. All of it is a hodgepodge of silly gibberish and noises. As for the sound effects themselves they are also great. The ink sounds like it should, you dive in it with the right amount of gooey splash sounds, it hits the ground with the right amount of gooey splash sounds. All the characters talk in an adorable gibberish. Overall the game’s sound design is impeccable.
Multiplayer: The main multiplayer mode is Turf War where your goal is to cover the majority of the ground with your color ink; It is put in 3 minute rounds. The matches are always fresh and exciting. The constant shifts in momentum make it a blast. Switching between being a squid and being a kid is smooth and effortless. Meanwhile the weapon types feel well balanced. With rollers (Melee weapons/shotguns) Chargers (Sniper rifles) Splattershots (sub machine guns/machine guns) and a few others all working well together. The weapons I am personally a fan of are the Splattershot jr. and the Zapper weapon that was just added. With the sub weapons and special weapons rounding it all up nicely. The fashion you wear provides neat stat boosts and abilities to help you build your own playstyle. The other multiplayer mode just added is Splatzones, which is part of the ranked battle mode. You must be level 10 to enter. Splatzones requires you to ink 1 or 2 specific points on the map and then hold them till your timer runs down. but be careful if the enemy team takes control away from you you will receive a time penalty and have to work it off before you can move the timer again next time you get control. Splatzones is much more intense then Turf War. Splatzones is far more strategic, as well as being a mode where kills are more important. It is also a huge blast and fun to play. The downside to the multiplayer is no voice chat. As well as the lack of ability to play ranked with friends. The online for the most part runs extremely smooth. I have only had a few matches with any lag. Overall the online multiplayer is a great time. The game also has a local 1v1 mode where you try to pop more balloons then your opponent. Its OK, pretty throw away in all honesty but it’s there if you want it.
Singleplayer: The game does have a singleplayer story mode. The mode is set up like a classic 3D puzzle platformer. You have a hub world where all the levels are hidden, which our found by spraying ink on them. The levels themselves are fairly similar to Mario Galaxy. In their singular focus on one concept taken through to the end. As well as the fact that they are made up of smaller segments you launch between. There are five worlds, each featuring a small number of levels and each culminating in the best part of the singleplayer, The Boss Battle. The first four are very classic Nintendo style bosses in the vein of the 3D Mario games. With telegraphed moves, and taking three hits. Where after each hit their attack patterns change and get tougher. The final boss though is absolutely one of my favorite final boss fights in a good long while. The fight goes through multiple phases each tougher then the last, and required you to use all the skills you learned over the course of the story. The character design of the boss is also wonderful. I won’t spoil it here though. You really have to see it for yourself. It is fairly short taking me less then six hours to beat though. Overall the singleplayer is better then it has any right to be.
A few extra points:
The hub world Inkopolis that features the shops and your entry points to the different modes is colorful and has a great atmosphere.
The shopkeepers are great and full of personality.
I appreciate the fact that each shops wares change daily keeping it fresh.
The map selection is fairly small at the moment, as you only get to use two maps per four hours it feels limited. But it also makes you learn the maps faster. So it has it’s downsides and upsides.
Final Thoughts: Splatoon is a blast to play, and extremely charming. It is an excellent multiplayer game despite missing some key features. It is also a surprisingly competent single player game. All in all if you have a Wii U you should buy this game. And I hope this is the just the start of a brand new franchise for Nintendo.