Splatoon Review (Wii U)

Splatoon Controller Layout

Splatoon, Nintendo’s newest IP has stirred up plenty of hype over the last few months. Although avoiding the cringeworthy commercials on TV may be a hassle, the hype surrounding the upcoming title will definitely allow players to experience the game in its full glory when it’s released on May 29th. Well, was Splatoon worth our time? Let’s find out!

Well before I begin talking about online multiplayer in Splatoon which happens to be a big chunk of the game, I wanted to talk about its single player mode. Single player in Splatoon isn’t necessarily in-depth, but it gets the job done for a game whose sole focus is online. In Splatoon, the story is simple. After seeing a suspicious old man in a drain pipe, your curiosity takes over and you decide to follow him. He tells you about the Inkopolis’ missing Zapfish which is the main power source of the city. You eventually find yourself in a hero’s suit which comes with artillery that can be upgraded after collecting power orbs throughout the game’s levels.

Splatoon’s levels are divided into separate worlds, so you’ll probably get around 6-7 levels per world. The goal of each level is to make it to the end and collect the mini Zapfish which bring you one step closer to finding the one that powers Inkopolis.

Now I can’t really say much more about the single player mode, but there’s still a lot to be said for other chunks of the game. One of these chunks being customization. In addition to having so many options that almost every squid can be visually unique, clothing also affects your playstyle. In addition to having 3 pieces of clothing (headgear, shirts and shoes), players can also expand ability slots for more active powers during battles AND choose between 3 classes of weapons.

The environments in Splatoon are stellar. Although multiplayer matches are usually urban environments such as skate parks and malls, a lot of Splatoon’s single player mode varies and can consist of things like floating isles, deep space exploration and even a circus in one level!

However, one gripe I had with Splatoon’s multiplayer is that the maps don’t use enough of the single player mode’s environmental objects. In single player mode, you have things like invisible pathways, super jump panels, travel wires and even giant sponges that grow the more you shoot at them. Unfortunately, these aren’t carried over to the current selection of maps we have, which is kinda disappointing because they could really add another tactical layer to the game. There’s always hope that unique usage of map elements will be improved in future updates.

In team battles, I didn’t like the fact that having one inactive player could cost your team the match, though that’s generally how a team-based shooter works. Fortunately there are passive abilities you can add to your clothing that take effect when you have an AFK teammate and can give you the edge in combat.

Once you get enough EXP from online battles to get to level 10, Splatoon opens up a ranked battle mode. In ranked battles, players are pitted against each other in teams of four to see who can keep a specific area of the map filled with their color until the countdown timer runs out. These battles are super intense and prove to be a true test of even the best of team’s skill.

These options are cool and all, but something I’d really like to see added to the list of modes in the future is your traditional team deathmatch mode. I notice a lack of sniper rifle players in both ranked battles and regular turf wars due to the fact that it’s just not that viable in terms of paint coverage, and a deathmatch mode would be a perfect place for this class of weapons to shine. More modes were announced during the Splatoon Direct that happened not too long ago, so something like this happening could definitely be a possibility.

Now that we have online multiplayer covered, I wanted to take some time out to appreciate the amazing music that Splatoon brings to the table. It’s hard to describe the music in this game, but I’ll try my best to explain:

The music in Splatoon is wackier than you could ever imagine and there’s no other way to really describe it! When playing through the story mode, you’ll see that the music grabs inspiration from games like Earthbound and other classic Nintendo titles. Of course, the game’s music can stop being wacky when it wants to. The battle music never fails to get me pumped.

I got around to trying Splatoon‘s local multiplayer mode called Battle Dojo. You can get together with another friend and compete to see who can shoot the most balloons with one player using the Wii U Pro controller and the other using the Wii U GamePad. Unfortunately, Battle Dojo just feels like a lame attempt at adding some sort of local multiplayer functionality and is just redundant overall. One thing that I hope carries over to the main game from Battle Dojo is the Wii U Pro controller support. Having control options besides the Wii U GamePad would allow players to experiment and help future-proof the game.

All in all, Splatoon is a great new IP on Nintendo’s home console that deserves to be played by every Nintendo fan out there! Though the game lacks some vital multiplayer features at launch, it still comes packed with enough content to keep you entertained for weeks upon weeks! Nintendo is releasing DLC this summer that fixes a lot of online multiplayer’s flaws, so expect this review to be updated once it hits! Splatoon comes out May 29th for an estimated retailer price of $69.99. Ready to get inked?

Splatoon Review (Wii U)
All in all, Splatoon is a great new IP on Nintendo's home console that deserves to be played by every Nintendo fan out there! Though the game lacks some vital multiplayer features at launch, it still comes packed with enough content to keep you entertained for weeks upon weeks! Nintendo is releasing DLC this summer that fixes a lot of online multiplayer's flaws, so expect this review to be updated once it hits! Splatoon comes out May 29th for an estimated retailer price of $69.99. Ready to get inked?
Pros
  • Fun team-based gameplay
  • Ink-tastic music
  • Entertaining campaign mode
Cons
  • Lacking vital multiplayer options at launch
  • Control options are a bit lacking
9Overall Score
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