If you’re after a fresh perspective for a Splatoon 2 Review, look no further. I didn’t touch the original Splatoon. Mainly because I’d become tired of the Wii U. But this early in the Nintendo Switch‘s life-cycle, Splatoon 2 has been a perfect fit.  Especially for somebody with no expectation of the game.

To cut a long story short, Splatoon 2 is fantastic from several points of view: level design, art, movement and shooting; all stellar. Though it has a few drawbacks in terms of getting used to the motion controlled camera (which can be turned off, but I don’t advise it) and how tedious some of the single player missions can be, Splatoon 2 is a top notch game for me regardless of its subjective flaws.

So why do I seem to love Splatoon’s third-person squid-based brand of shooting? You’ll find the answers in detail below. But that’s not the end! We’d love to hear what you think about Splatoon 2. Leave us a comment and share the review with your friends. We’d greatly appreciate it.

Look and Feel

Splatoon 2 is littered with visuals that can only be described as “adorable”. Or a plethora of other terms. The point is, whether it’s the squid kid designs, their clothes, the main hub area or the news cast that opens your play session every time; this game oozes endearing art design.

It’s just so colourful, with the ink flying everywhere

The supporting cast feel fresh and unique, whilst still maintaining this sea-life city theme. It’s a Nintendo staple to have great design out of their first party and Splatoon 2 is yet another example.

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It’s obviously not a powerhouse of a game, but it doesn’t need to be given its design. The game’s performance is consistent, without a single flaw in my two weeks with it, and it still impresses despite being on the least powerful hardware available.

It’s just so colourful, with the ink flying everywhere, dripping down buildings as you spray various shades of the ink’s respective colour. That and I appreciate the neon glow of the main hub area.

The screens with adverts reflecting the big city life. These squid kids don’t belong in the water! They belong on our ground. And in their own ink, I suppose. At times.

HUD

There are other little accents, such as the ink-pack strapped to your character’s back. It houses your ink and, though there is an on-screen indicator of low-ink on your H.U.D, you can also see it drain from the on-screen character. Not only does that add a bit of visual appeal, but it can keep you ahead of the game as you carelessly spread your mess all over the place.

From what I can tell, it’s largely similar to Splatoon, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Splatoon’s style is distinct and I’m fine with it being an iterative franchise that builds on its solid foundations. That said, if you thought the second game would revolutionise anything visually, I can’t say that it has.

Gameplay

Splatoon 2, or Splatoon in general, is a third-person shooter with ink-based weapons. The player takes control of their very own Squid Kid. Squid kids are human-like kids with the ability to morph in to squids at the push of a button. Each mode is put to use in the game’s various modes and are essential to the gameplay.

Check out my Let’s Play:

Two major modes deliver the Splatoon 2 experience: Hero Mode, which is the game’s story, and its various Online Modes, which make up the majority of the game’s appeal and longevity. Outside of those two main modes, there’s a hub area to explore.

The area features shops with clothes and weapons for sale that each have their own special abilities attached and, on the clothing specifically, to unlock. Those abilities can impact a variety of skills, such as quickly refilling ink as you swim in squid form or making your character faster when on foot in kid form.

Another change from most games: the motion controls. The camera is automatically set to follow your controller. It feels awkward at first but trust me; it gets better. Especially when compared to turning it off. The camera motion makes it easy to aim quickly in a particular direction. The right analog stick helps too, but those quick movements come in handy throughout the game.

As I’ve said, it takes some getting used to but it’s worth it. Now, on to the game modes available…

Hero Mode

Acting as the story, Hero Mode allows players to engage with five worlds, filled with roughly four-to-six levels each, topped off by a Mario-esque boss fight. The levels themselves are like obstacle courses, with some inventive platforming and use of your weapon. Often times, the level will force a weapon upon you as the level is designed to make use of it. For instance, the Hero Charger is a sniper Rifle. Some levels – far too many, perhaps – have distant grapple points that require a long range weapon to shoot and therefore reach and proceed.

Splatoon 2 Review image 2The boss fights in particular are the highlight of the experience. Reminiscent of the creativity once found in 3D Mario games, Splatoon 2 has you take on enemies with various attack patterns that get more intense the closer they get to death. They tend to die after three direct attacks to the weak point that’s exposed by navigating the bosses themselves for a way to penetrate their armour of sorts. Whatever mechanic is protecting their vulnerable point, basically.

As if that wasn’t enough, the game features two types of collectibles per (most) level. The map pieces, which I have not collected all of, promise to lead to something special if you find them all. The Sardiniums, on the other hand, are much more simple and obvious. They’re a material to invest in to your guns along with these orange/red pellets for an upgrade. I think the upgrade pellets come few and far between to be honest, but if you’re after a collectathon, there’s a reasonable amount here to keep you busy.

Online Modes

Online battles are four-vs-four. The aim is to cover as much of the map’s territory in your team’s ink colour as possible before the end of the match. Splatoon veterans will be familiar with this, but as I’m new, I found it to be a refreshing change of pace from all of the kill-based multi-player games.

Salmon Run is their version of Horde Mode. By teaming up with three other players, either online (on select days) or locally, four squid kids take on waves of enemies. The objective is to claim golden eggs from boss monsters and store them in the basket. The field of battle shifts over time to keep things interesting. It’s a great mode that can easily overwhelm a team that doesn’t work together, especially the final wave.

I thoroughly enjoy plastering the surroundings in my team’s distinct ink.

There are some quality of life issues with Splatoon’s online play. The inability to change your loadout without quitting the entire lobby, for instance. Meaning if you’d like to use a different weapon, you’ll have to leave and hope you’re back in the queue without delay. Granted, I’ve only ever ran in to one instance of the game being busy (keeping me waiting a minute), but for the sake of changing your Splat Roller to the Aerospray MG, that’s a bad design choice. Hopefully they’ll fix it at a later date.

But, regardless, the online games are still the height of Splatoon 2’s fun. I thoroughly enjoy plastering the surroundings in my team’s distinct ink and tearing the territory from the tentacles of my enemies. I can see myself returning to Splatoon 2 for months to come just for those quick five minute matches. It’s so easy to digest and, most importantly, it puts the fun of it all first.

Online Level Progression

By playing online you gain experience. That experience levels your character up. New clothes and weapons become available as the player climbs the ranks. As well as that, ranked and league modes open up for the highly leveled and subsequently highly ranked players, assuming you want to take things a little more seriously than I do.

I dislike how the unknown abilities that unlock on the clothing are random. That said, they can have their progression reset (separated from your player level) and broken down in to upgrade chunks. These can then be traded for the upgrades you’d rather have. Granted, this ability (from Murch, to the right of the Online Lobby) is fairly expensive, so be prepared to cough up some hard earned coins.

Overall

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Splatoon 2 has a few design choice issues I’d like to see addressed, what with the inability to change weapons in the online lobby, but it’s an incredible game all the same. It’s easy to see how endearing the characters can be, such as the two new newscasters that open every play session (well, Marina at least. Pearl can jump off a cliff).

That and just how well the motion control-based camera works when targeting opponents. It’s tough to get used to, but turning it off is far worse. It all falls in to place after a bit of practice. I’d say it’s best played with the Pro Controller, but all controller methods work reasonably well.

I’d highly recommend Splatoon 2 to newcomers on the Switch. Its flaws are minor and its strengths are formidable. Whether it’s for the Hero Mode, Online or both, Splatoon 2 should keep you busy for quite a while. Just don’t ask me about online party chat. No way I’m diving in to that hot mess. Check out my scores below and don’t forget drop me a comment too.

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