Splatoon: Nintendo’s newest IP is an intense, as well as surprisingly addictive, paint ball shooter named playfully after army terms and the sound of ink hitting your opponents. It started out as a small game with only one mode that was updated throughout the summer and is now a fleshed out full size Wii U-only title. It has cute characters, lighthearted single player mode, stylish clothes, and a large competitive community that has stayed with the game since launch.

Upon completing the mandatory tutorial you are first greeted by Inkopolis; the hub world of Splatoon and you will notice that the game has a very colorful world and vibe. When entering the plaza the Squid Sisters will give you live updates of what stages are in rotation as well as updates, DLC and Splatfest theme information. The town is filled with other players, referred to as Inklings in-game, that show you player drawn memes and art. There are shops to buy shoes, shirts, hats and guns to fight and dress your Inkling. There is also a back ally with a shady looking sea urchin named Spyke that offers to help you get an item if you see one you like. There are also weekly events called Splatfests in which you pick between two teams in the plaza, like cats vs. dogs, and play for your team in a 24 hour event to earn super sea snails to add more ability slots to your clothes.

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Image source author: Engaged in a battle.

There are two main online modes in Splatoon, casual and competitive, which you unlock only after reaching level 10 by playing in casual. The competitive battles have 4 different game types while casual only has turf war. Turf War is the first mode that you play online and the first mode that was available in the game. In this mode players simply have to help their team cover the most area in the ink color they are representing. Splat zones is the second mode and requires players to control specific areas to earn points. Tower control is the third mode and has players pushing a tower towards the opposing team to win. The last mode, rain maker, has you fighting over one of the game’s ultimate weapons of the same name and trying to get it to the enemy base.

The single player mode, or hero mode, is accessed by going down a drain in Inkopolis that Cap’n Cuttlefish is peering out of. Once you have entered the drain you learn that there is a secret coup d’etat going on and you have to help Cuttlefish stop it by defeating the Octolings, who have stolen the Zapfish that powers Inkopolis. The story mode is made up of classic platforming propelled by the path you create with your ink guns. There are 27 stages across 5 platforms with 1 boss fight each that you have to make your way through. Of course there are collectibles that unravel squid history that you can pick up and read along the way.

In game screenshot: An octoling agent appears.

Image source author: An octoling agent appears.

Fashion and decorating your inkling are a huge part of your game play and can make all the difference in you becoming skilled on the battlefield. There are three types of gear; shirts, shoes, and hats. Each one has up to six ability slots depending on your level or winnings from Splatfest and you unlock the abilities by leveling up the gear. The abilities range from reloading faster to swimming at high speeds in your teams ink. To go along with gear, there is a gun for every style of play.

Ink weapons are in huge supply with a choice between shooters, chargers, rollers, sloshers or splatlings. Shooters are basic guns that are equally effective in everything. Chargers are long-range weapons that need charging in order to fire ink and splatlings are guns that can be charged twice and can be used for either power or speed. Rollers are giant paint rollers that you can use like a melee weapon that are fast and cover wide amounts of area while sloshers are slower and use ink faster. There are also secondary weapons like bombs, ink sprinklers, and ink walls to combine with weapons as well as each weapon coming with an ultimate weapon that can cover huge territory or take down a whole team.

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Image source author: Finding a friend’s inkling in the plaza.

So who is this game for? This game is the type of game that you look at first glance to buy for your kid and end up trying to play yourself. Despite its kid friendly image it has a huge following from mature gamers and has pulled players from three of the most popular FPS (first person shooter) games – Halo, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. It is an amazing game for anyone who loves the FPS genre since there is always different strategies you can see coming from all the dedicated fans of the other FPS series. Splatoon is also suggested for anyone who can enjoy the more lighthearted casual version that can easily be used as a party or family game.