Splatoon: An over-the-shoulder shooter with squirt guns


Staff Writer

Matthew Byers | Staff Writer

The shooter genre is saturated to the brim with yearly releases, DLC that adds maps and not innovation, and sequels that are hardly any different than the previous year’s. Nintendo attempted to break this mold by creating a new shooter that has almost broke the mold of every best-selling shooter from previous years.

Released just this year on May 29th for American audiences, Splatoon is a fast selling Nintendo shooter that has sold over one and a half million copies in just one month. What made Splatoon so different from competing shooters such as Battlefield, Call of Duty, Killzone, or Halo? First the graphics are cartoony, bright, and the color palette focuses on bright greens, pinks, blues, and reds. The style is reminiscent of the Gamecube game Super Mario Sunshine (where Splatoon was originally intended to be a full Mario game) with bright colors and a focus on appealing fluid animations. Even the music is a mix of pop and punk, perfectly complimenting the visual style.

The gameplay is unique itself due to the focus on spraying brightly colored ink onto the environments rather than enemies. When standing in ink of your color, your “Inkling” character can switch into a Mario style squid and swim through the ink opening access to ambushes, hasty retreats, flanking, and even climbing up walls. Almost every object can be splattered with ink, leaving players with free reign on how to play – aggressively splattering enemies while switching to a squid to avoid fire, or tactically splattering ink trails to hit your enemies from behind.

The controls are a bit unintuitive. Instead of using the Wii U’s joysticks to primarily control aiming, the Wii U gamepad must be moved itself to control where the character looks, and what trajectory to fire the ink. It definitely takes getting used to but it is a breath of originality.

The game has a focus on two modes: story mode and multiplayer-turf war. The story mode places you as an Inkling agent who is tasked to retrieve various electrically charged creatures called “Zapfish” to restore power to the central hub-city where all modes and shops are accessed. The beginning levels of story mode are designed to help players build their comfort with the unusual control system and shape-shifting of kid and squid against AI octopus enemies called the Octarians.

The bulk of the game focuses on two multiplayer modes: 4 vs. 4 squads and 1 vs. 1. While it is team fighting, the focus is spray as much of your team’s colored ink onto the environment. The more you play the higher your ranking will go and when you receive a high enough rank, you can begin to customize your Inkling to your liking. This can be adding hats, shoes, changing clothes, (cosmetics all have added abilities) and of course changing weapons from anything to standard automatic squirt rifles to giant paint rollers. Weapons are designed to be balanced as possible, and finding what weapon works best for you is critical

The game is new, but it is exactly what people are looking for if they want something different and to get away from the cookie-cutter military shooter games. It might be meant for kids, or squids, but anyone can find enjoyment from the game, and a level one can play just as well as a level thirty. Between beautiful colors, originality, and guns all wrapped together with Nintendo quality and style this is a new game that could get anyone into shooting people with ink and winning a turf war, just watch out for the rollers and ink grenades.