Splatoon 2 (Switch) – Review

Don't Get Cooked, Stay Off the Hook.....

For all practical purposes the Wii U was a colossal failure for Nintendo.  However, the first party titles released on the Wii U were nothing short of brilliant. Two short years ago we were introduced to a new IP on the Wii U called Splatoon.  Since new IPs are fairly rare for the big N these days, Splatoon immediately caught the attention of gamers who owned the system.  Unfortunately with the Wii U install base being so minute, not nearly enough gamers were able to experience this gem.

Fast forward two years and the Nintendo Switch is off to one of the best first years a console has ever seen.  The Switch has all but guaranteed it will outsell the prior system significantly, enabling more people to have access to these incredible Nintendo first party games.

On the surface Splatoon 2 appears to be more of the same, and that is in no way depressing.

 

TURF WAR

The bread and butter of Splatoon has always been Turf War. The sequel takes the basis of the original and adds enough to make it fresh without changing it in any significant way. Matches are still 4 v. 4 and last for 3 minutes. The goal: cover more of the arena with your team’s paint color than your opponents and do it by the end of the 3 minutes.

How you accomplish that? Completely up to you.

The variety of weapons makes each match completely different depending on your choice. The roller allows you to zip around covering a ton of ground as you run through the arena but the only downside is that you are vulnerable to/and have no ranged attack. A fan favorite of the new weapons in Splatoon 2 is by far the dualies. Weilding 2 guns at the same time feels great. You still have the ability to cover tons of real estate for your team without giving up any offensive capabilities.

With new maps and weapons, both primary and secondary, Turf War found a way to stay significantly the same without feeling stale. Without the second screen of the Wii U, one thing to keep in mind is when pulling up the map, gameplay does not stop, so you must be brief when switching back and forth between the map and the gameplay.

The only real downside to the multiplayer is Nintendo’s inconsistent online service and terrible matchmaking for friends. In order to play with a friend, you have to wait for them to finish a round and enter matchmaking and then hope you can hop in before the lobby is full.  You aren’t even guaranteed a spot on their team. With voice chat being directed through an app, it makes the incredibly mobile Switch bogged down and clunky with wires all over the place.  You still get kicked out of lobby’s way too often and now they added a nice message letting you know that if you force quit too many times you will receive a temporary ban from Turf War.  Hopefully, when the online service becomes a paid service they will get the kinks worked out and we’ll see less of this.

 

SINGLE PLAYER

The single player story mode returns in an expanded way this time around. You follow a mysterious girl through a drain pipe (pretty original idea, Nintendo) and find yourself in a world of mystery and espionage.  Many Zap Fish that give Inkopolis Square power have gone missing and it is now your task to locate them.  After agreeing to help, you are dubbed Agent 4 of the Squidbeak Splatoon and set out to save the world from the evil Octarions.  What ensues is 27 levels and 5 boss battles of squidtastic fun.

The Single player harkens not only memories of the original Splatoon back, but of Super Mario Sunshine as well.  The variety of weapons is on display in full force in the single player for sure.  You are testing out some prototype weapons as you go through the levels making sure they are ready to go to market.  This is a fantastic way to try out all the weapons in the game that you wouldn’t give a chance otherwise.  Spraying enemies with paint really brings back memories of Mario’s FLUDD from Sunshine and it feels better than ever.

One of the most interesting ways to move around certain levels involves riding a Zamboni/Rumba hybrid that will clean up paint as it is sprayed.  Need to go in a certain direction? Spray some paint down in the direction you need to be and the machine will go that way to clean it up.  This comes in handy when reaching higher points on the map that won’t allow you to spray and swim up them.  You will shoot, spray, swim and jump your way through the 27 levels opening up 5 different boss levels each one incredibly interesting and hilarious.  The first of which is a huge oven that shoots open its doors allowing you to spray the bread that’s cooking in its belly, enabling you to climb to the top and shoot the tentacle- the only vulnerable spot on the boss.  This is just one example of how creative the boss battles are.

SALMON RUN

Salmon Run, the newest addition to the game is by far its most addicting.  Salmon Run’s gameplay can best be compared to the likes of Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty’s Zombie mode.  After a couple tutorials where you are introduced to the gameplay and the 7 different bosses, you are able to join in with a group of friends or freelance your way into a random group for a 3 round match.  In Salmon Run you are hired to go out and collect golden eggs.  Each of the 7 different bosses leave behind 3 golden eggs upon their defeat.  Once a boss is defeated you are tasked with collecting the golden eggs and delivering them to score a point.  Each round requires you to collect a certain number of golden eggs to advance.  Fail to do so or if your entire team dies simultaneously and you will lose the match and be sent back to the shore.  Defeating each boss is a very unique experience.  Each of the 7 bosses requires you to defeat them in different ways.  The vast variety of bosses make for some of the most memorable in the genre.

  • Throwing ink bombs in the area where the boss will appear or in compartments when he opens them
  • Shooting the pots and pans out from under the boss until he falls to his doom
  • Shooting the ink balloon above the boss until it explodes on him
  • Flanking the boss and inking them where they are vulnerable

While collecting eggs that the bosses drop and delivering them you still have to fight off the countless hordes that are chasing you down doing everything they can to keep you from completing your task. You receive daily points for how many eggs you deliver from each match and you can earn Salmon Run exclusive rewards when certain daily milestones are reached.  These mystery perks will have you continually saying, “just one more round.”

While the original Splatoon looked great on the Wii U, Splatoon 2 looks absolutely gorgeous on the Switch.  Splatoon has a very distinct art style that is easily recognizably as its own. The fresh coat of paint on the Switch really shines. The music is another strongpoint as well. The tunes are catchy and the sound of the ink splatting feels as though it is keeping time with the music.  Notably absent as hosts are the Squid Sisters, they have been replaced this time around with Pearl and Marina.  While slightly less annoying than their predecessors, you still can’t help but wonder why you have to sit through their nonsense every time you boot up the game or the maps change.

Recommendation:  Splatoon 2 builds on the foundation of the first title and expands upon it greatly.  For any fan of the original this is a no brainer, this game is for you.  Any Switch owner new to the series should definitely give the sequel a shot.  While it still has it’s faults when it comes to some features, specifically in the Turf War mode, there is plenty of content to keep you busy for a long time.  The 3 minute matches allow you to play for as briefly as you would like and the Salmon Run mode is there for longer play sessions. Following the model of the first game, Nintendo will be adding even more content for the foreseeable future. Splatoon 2 will continue to evolve only making it a stronger addition to the Nintendo first party lineup.

Author: Phil Neyman

Philip is better at buying video games than he is at playing them. He was once told “it must suck to love something so much and be so terrible at it.” As a boy he would write terrible poems about himself and Ross Perot. He enjoys the best and worst of all forms of media, but nothing in the middle. Puyo Puyo Tetris has almost caused unreconcilable differences between him and his wife. He’s never had a hangover, but not from lack of trying.

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