Thursday, 16 July 2015

Splatoon

You've got to hand it to Nintendo. When one of their consoles turns out to be an utter failure they don't discontinue it and pack up shop, no, they say, “F*ck it! Lets just keep going”. The Wii U started off as a massive failure, and barely managed to gain any traction in the wake of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. But now, over three years since it was released, the Wii U is finally starting to make a profit. It's a good thing too, as I always thought the Wii U was a great little console with massive potential. The only problem is that there haven't been many must-buy games on the system. Splatoon hopes to change that, and though it's not exactly going to sell Wii U's by the truckload, it's yet another great game on the underrated console.


Developed by Nintendo and out now for the Wii U comes Splatoon, the most colourful game I've played since Jet Set Radio. It's a game that's very heavily based around its online mode, but it does contain an offline single-player campaign. Focusing around a plot as colourful as the game itself, Splatoon's simple player mode, known as Hero Mode, places you in the role of the Inklings, human looking characters armed with ink filled weapons. After the Zapfish, who is essentially the source of the Inklings power, is kidnapped by the evil Octarians, it's up to you to get them back. New areas and chunks of the story open up when more Zapfish are rescued, and though this all seems rather simplistic, the single-player campaign could almost be seen as a tutorial for the online mode. The online mode is where the real meat of the game lies


Splatoon is hybrid of a platformer and third person shooter, and a great one at that. Online you can play with up to 8 players, with being on each side. Inklings have the ability to change from a human to squid form at will, and though this means nothing when your running about, it's a game changer when you've laid down some ink. Inklings can dive into ink, and if you've fired down a good deal of it, you can find yourself swimming through the ground and even up walls. This leads to you and your team getting around a level at a rapid speed, but without sufficient ink to light the way, you're stuck using your dumb legs. In terms of putting down that helpful ink, Splatoon offers plenty of nifty guns at your disposal. All the weapons in the game have real life counterparts of course, so you've got your machine guns, pistols, rocket launchers and grenades...but, you know, all ink-y and stuff. Once you've covered enough areas in ink and built up your special meter, you can also use special attacks and abilities, some of which place traps down for the opposing team, and even shield certain areas from your enemies ink attacks.

At launch Splatoon only has two online modes to play, and they come in the form of Turf War and Splat Zones. Turf War places the players focus on the ground beneath them, as the winner of this mode is the team that covers the ground the most with their coloured ink. Splat Zones is based on a similar concept too, but it leans more towards your team holding onto their own area using ink. It king of plays like a king-of-the-hill mode, but instead of mowing down people in a hail of gunfire and camping at their base in order to gain control, you'll be blasting yellow or purple paint at walls, into the air and on the floor to maintain superiority.


Visually Splatoon is lovely to look at. It's colourful- REALLY colourful- and that's something that's quite rare in gaming nowadays, especially when it comes to the third-person shooter genre. Levels are nicely designed but are often aching for some colour, so it makes it extra exciting and fun to blast ink all over them. Also, to add an extra layer of colour and customization to the game, you are also able to change your characters clothes, shoes and headgear. It's a tiny addition to gameplay, but helps your differentiate who's who on-screen when the level is drowning is purple and yellow. Finally, though the game is hugely playable on the basic modes available as of right now, it's a shame Nintendo are holding some back for a no doubt inevitable DLC pack. Sigh. Still though, as it currently stands Splatoon is worth splashing out on.

Splatoon hits the mark with a 4/5.

★★★★☆

Denis Murphy


Splatoon at CeX


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