Before May 2015 only a few people had heard the term ‘Inklings’ and they were most likely certain types of geeks with a certain obsession over squid girls. Confused? Morbidly interested? That’s okay. So was I.
It is now coming up to three months since those adorable little inklings infested wiiu consoles the world over… and there’s no sign of them stopping soon. Splatoon is the dark horse Nintendo had up it’s sleeve and it’s already being hailed as potential game of the year 2015 and for good reason!
But first let me explain the rules. Simply put Splatoon is a turf war game. You play as one of the colourful critters above in a team of four. The aim of the game is to cover as much of the game map as possible on your colour ink. There are many ways to do this. You can use giant rollers, ink bombs, giant paint brushes, guns that look like modified super soakers and more. When you start to run low on ink you submerge in a pool and refill. Also I should mention that when you submerge you transform into an adorable little squid. You can also swim through the ink at super high speeds to get to your destination quicker, re-filling as you go… but there’s a snag. I probably should mention that there is another team of another colour at the opposite end of the map, hell-bent on covering as much of the map in their colour as possible…
What follows is a three minute round of mayhem and blood- sorry- ‘ink-shed as you use your weapons to cover ink and shoot opponents. If you sustain enough damage your little inkling will explode and re-spawn after a time delay back at your base… in all it’s quite a sinister game when you stop to think about it… AND PEOPLE LOVE IT!
But WHAT is it that makes this game so popular? Well for one it has a stupidly addictive factor. As the rounds last only three minutes or so you really can pop on for a ‘quick’ game… (I myself have yet to have discovered this term yet,) as you then think; ‘well another three minutes can’t hurt…’ and so it continues.
The ever expanding maps are richly decorated and mainly focus on suburban areas though the odd rural setting is starting to appear. There are of course other modes that have been added recently to the game. These now include ranked battles for players wanting more of a challenge where you can either, control and hold a zone of ink whilst holding off the other team. Tower control, where you have to control a giant tower through the onslaught into a marker on enemy territory, and the newly added ‘Rainmaker’ mode, where teamwork is the key to infiltrating enemy territory again but this time a lot more vulnerable whilst carrying sacred relic (in the form of a golden dragon head for some reason). And of course don’t forget the hero mode you can enter to fight off the evil Octarian who have stolen the great ‘Zapfish’ a sacred source of power for the citizens of Inkopolis. The story is simple light-hearted and filled with short courses that must be treated more like puzzles to get to the bottom of the twisting turning crime.
The last factor though, and let’s be honest here is our little inkling buddies. According to Nintendo their average age is 14… not too old for kids to not connect with them, and just the right amount of sass and attitude to please the older players. During each match you win ‘money’ which you can then spend in the ‘Plaza area’ when you first enter the game. This money can be used to buy different outfits and accessories which give different abilities and also give the player something different to try to see what suits their playstyle best.
In short this is a game that even your Mum can enjoy. The most violence is exploding in an adorable blob of ink to re-spawn seconds later and with no voice chat there’s no risk of foul abusive language as is so often with multi-player online games… at least – none that can be heard outside the house…! There’s truly something for everyone. It’s worth noting that this game has been produced by the new team at Nintendo. This was their chance to prove themselves and they’ve done an amazing job!
If you want to try your sharp shootin’ there is a global test fire running until the 28th August for free. Just download the free demo on to your wiiu console and get squidding!
See you on the field….