Splatoon 3

Review: Splatoon 3

Until recently, Splatoon 3 has been a mystery. Earlier this month was the first time we saw a stellar preview of the highly anticipated title and follow-up to Splatoon 2. Now as Nintendo’s next major release on the Switch, there is a lot to discuss and certainly a lot to discover.

Disembark in the Splatlands, a scorching desert inhabited by Inklings and Octolings. The great city of chaos, Splatsville, is the bustling heart of these wastelands. Fans of Inkopolis will quickly acclimate to the change in scenery and after spending some time in the new city, I can safely say it’s an incredible follow-up and worthy base.

Territory wars and battles rage in this apocalyptic environment where you, as the new Agent Number 3, will have to fight against the pesky Octarians in the game’s campaign, titled Return of the Mammalians and you’ll soon learn why it’s called that.  You will also discover a brand new unknown area called Alterna, a strange place in which a species of Fuzzy Ooze is spreading at breakneck speed. Fortunately, your companion Salmio, this funny little salmonoid being who follows you and helps you, will be able to feast on this porridge in exchange for some rewards.

Splatoon 3’s gameplay has evolved

To get it out of the way immediately, Splatoon 3 is in no way different from its predecessors: the goal of the game is still to ink everything and upgrade your character in the story world and collect all the weapons then rush into multiplayer mode and go have fun spraying opponents with our colourful paint. Besides, I think that’s one of the most charming things about the game, the fact that they’ve retained the importance of the story mode alongside the multiplayer mode when we think back to all those other games that evolve and set aside their story mode in favour of player versus player (PvP).

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Those who don’t know this franchise and want to learn about the series with this game, know that it is not necessary to have played the first or second Splatoon to embark on this adventure. Splatoon 3 will take you to visit a place called “The Crater” where you can experience the first part of the adventure and, thus, pass the game tutorial and handle some of the weapons that the game will offer you.

You will therefore have to spray your ink everywhere around you in order to destroy your opponents by splashing them, dive in the form of a squid in your puddles of ink in order to climb walls, cross fences, and dodge the gaze of your enemies, reload your ink bottle faster than ever.

The more you progress in the game, the more you will be able to master your gyroscopic aiming, your movements and even use techniques like the squid surge which will propel you high quickly on a wall or even the squid spin which will allow you to move in all the senses while swimming in the still.

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Multiplayer with a co-op buddy

Highly anticipated in the franchise, it had been claimed that the game would offer couch coop, which means local cooperative with a single console and a split screen. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. In fact, each player will have to have a console, the game and Nintendo Switch Online in order to be able to play as a team with your friends in the Salmon Run or Turf War or other multiplayer modes offered. That said, it will now be easier to be able to play with friends compared to previous titles.

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Last week, we were invited to play with fellow media and test out Salmon Run a few times which, for those in the know, consists of an island besieged by waves and waves of enemies, which we must eliminate to then place the eggs in a sort of repository while the new waves get more and more powerful. Subsequently, I was able to get into the Turf War as well, allowing me to test out new weapons that weren’t available in the last iteration of Splatoon, such as an ink vacuum and a bow. The bow is all in all quite pleasant to maneuver but the ink vacuum is, as for me, really brilliant because it allows us to suck up the enemy ink and then splash over a very long distance the absorbed ink which has become ours.

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There is another mode, called the Tableturf Battle which, unfortunately, was not available during my online period. That said, we’re talking about a whole new mode here where you get cards to cover the board in ink much like a deck-building game like Hearthstone.

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A complete customization system

Splatoon 3 promises a good batch of aesthetic customization that will allow you to make your character entirely to your liking, thanks to cards and objects that you will obtain in the game’s campaign as well as new custom items that will arrive every three months according to Nintendo. We can also claim the possible arrival of microtransactions in order to be able to personalize our characters as we also wish, but only the future will be able to confirm for us.

Personally, this is a perfect way to allow all players to make their Inkling truly their own unique avatar and I’ve always enjoyed how much variety the series offers to make your character fit right in — especially if it makes you stand out amongst the crowd!

Colours Influence The Soul

Clearly, Splatoon games all have one specific thing in common: beautiful, attractive colours. Splatoon 3 has absolutely nothing to be jealous of its predecessors since it is just as, if not more, colourful, stylish, and attractive. The characters, as much the Inklings, the Octolings as the Octarians and others are visually superb, the world when we walk around in Alterna or in the Splatsville is very pretty and the zones in which we work through to complete the campaign with all its puzzles are very well done, offer great challenges and will put you to the test. As for the soundtrack, that said, I found the music very nice but I had the impression that it lacked a bit of musical choice.

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Verdict

Splatoon 3 is definitely a superb game that will greatly please fans of the franchise as well as newcomers. Offering a campaign that is short and worthwhile, it should not be forgotten that the game is especially loved and recognized for its multiplayer mode where Inklings and Octolings clash day and night to find out who is the best. Changes to the gyroscopic system for significantly improved aiming, new suggested weapons and customization offered will appeal to fans, regardless of their skill level in the game.

So, are you ready to become the new Agent Number 3? Will you have what it takes to beat the Fuzzy Ooze and solve Alterna’s puzzles? Remember, you have to know how to learn to swim before doing the Squid Roll!

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Splatoon 3
Recommended
Stunning story mode
Lots of weapons
Nice customizable content
A very pleasant online mode
Nice control improvements
Still missing couch co-op with split screen
Story mode is a bit short if you plan not to play online