Splatoon seemed like a huge risk to take when it was released. A new IP released on a platform that was not very successful, and was probably released in the worst drought of games the system had seen, the mid 2015 to 2016 stretch. Now let’s take a look back at this hit Wii U title, and see what it does right, and what it could be improved upon.
The game starts you out each time in the Inkopolis Plaza, where Callie and Marie give you reports, you can buy some weapons, clothes, etc. Even activate amiibo support and chat with other inklings. Splatoon indeed had a singleplayer story mode, despite some people possibly missing it as I have heard online. But there is a sorta older squid character in the plaza that resides in a corner, you walk over to him, he goes down a manhole, you proceed and follow after. The older fellow then names you Agent 3, as you must fight back against the Octarians. There is about five worlds, and you can beat the story in just a few hours. But it is fun to play, the levels are satisfying as they take full range of all of your abilities. There is some decent level design here, adding new obstacles and challenges each level to keep things fresh. Plus each worlds levels can be finished in any order, so it’s not linear and keeps options open. The boss battles start out interesting but easy, and they pick up some speed on the later worlds. I do feel like bosses could use some work, maybe some more Koopa kid esque villains would help? The story here is fun and light but I do desire a little bit more, despite it being a game about kids shooting each other with ink.
The real core of Splatoon has to be the community and it’s online 4v4 multiplayer. The basic gameplay here is shooter or hitting with guns and melee weapons, you can be a kid or a squid. Squids can travel fast through ink, and kids move slower but can attack and defend themselves. Before we continue the game can be played offline in 1v1 battles in the Dojo, but this feature is servely lacking, and I do desire at least some local multiplayer functions. But the online is something that is very fresh and enjoyable to go back and play to this date. You have a basic setup here, Player Matches and Ranked Matches. With player matches being free battle, and ranked matches having a C- to A+ ranking system. Of course you can play with your online friends in each type of match, even hosting private lobbies for your friends. Now we have 3 game modes here, Tower Control, which is very self explanatory. Rain Maker is like reverse capture the flag, with you obtaining a weapon called the Rain Maker and carrying into the enemy teams base. Turf War is the clear core of the title, having you simply cover as much of the map as possible with ink to win. There was also events called Splatfest, which were the truth life and core of the game and community. The Squid Sisters Callie and Marie would host these events and allow players to decide which team they would want to be on. You could pick, Pokemon Red or Pokemon Blue Team, Team Autobots and Team Decepticons, and the final Splatfest had Team Callie and Team Marie. The Splatfest would make the maps and plaza all night time, ending with concerts from Callie and Marie. This feature was great but I could see some improvements made to it, just to lighten things up.
Splatoon was of course a Wii U title, which had some technical heners to it as it was basically just a Xbox 360 and PS3. The game runs at 720p and 60fps, but the vibrant colors make things fine to nice to look at. The game never really drops frames and runs very smooth, which is key for multiplayer focused titles. The art style is wonderful, having this ultra weird Japan feel, yet feeling so lively and fun, making you feel like a kid again. The music does the same thing, just being upbeat and trying some weird things out with sounds, which works. You play the game with the gamepad, which actually works here, as when you look down you can see your map and tap it to go places or back to the spawn, and see how much of the map is splatted.
Splatoon was a risked that paid off. Being one of the top selling games on Wii U, and one of the most played multiplayer games of the past few years it is nothing short of a success. Sure it’s not perfect, a expanded story mode would help, more modes, more customization, etc. But it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I give Splatoon a 8 out of 10.