Splatoon 3 splats back with a new coat of ink for fans

Antonio Cerda-Puente and Eduardo Cerda

After about five years since the last release of a Splatoon game, fans of the series eagerly awaited the release of Splatoon 3 in September.

This Nintendo-exclusive series, which was originally released on the Wii U in 2015, featuring a new take on the third-person shooter format with a less violent and fun take on the genre. Instead of bullets, the squid/humanoid hybrid characters, or inklings, shoot colorful ink. And instead of loot boxes, characters can buy stylish outfits, accessories, and weapons that provide them with power-ups and special abilities.

Splatoon is most well known for its multiplayer game mode, in which players join a team of four and compete against another team in an arena to paint the most territory with their team’s color. The other main objective in multiplayer is for players to “splat” their opponents while avoiding getting splatted themselves. At the end of each match, players see their statistics and are given a total for how much experience points and coins they earned, which can be used to level up and make purchases in the shops.

A great part of Splatoon’s multiplayer is the fact that the number of times you splatted an enemy or got splatted yourself doesn’t directly decide what team is the winner. Fans tend to enjoy that the main factor to accumulate points isn’t based on “kills” and instead is based on the amount of coverage, which encourages teamwork.

There is also a ranked mode called Anarchy battle, in which you play more and more matches to get a higher rank. In this mode, the number of splats you get does matter. In the city square, which acts like a game lobby, players have all kinds of shops to customize their character and accumulate buffs for you to use against their opponents. All of the shop owners have unique personalities and provide many ways to customize their characters’ looks and abilities.

One new feature in Splatoon 3 are the lockers, which are similar to houses. Players can decorate them however they want and they can invite other players to check out their lockers. Although it’s not a very useful feature, it’s certainly fun and gives players new creative freedom. Aswell as the ability to customize their in game name plates with banners they can earn as they play through the game.

The mini-game mode called Salmon Run, in which players fight against waves of salmanoids, makes a return featuring a new weapon cycling feature. This helps keep the game fresh by adding different weapons to use against the salmonoids.

Where Splatoon 3 suffers the most is in the back-end of the game, specifically the problem players are experiencing with connectivity issues. Many players have experienced this issue in which they join a queue for a match but end up getting disconnected and kicked out. This has even happened in Salmon Run, which is not a multiplayer mode relying heavily on the network. This is a very common occurrence with online Nintendo games and it’s still yet to be fixed.

The story mode of Splatoon 3 takes place on a whole new map based in a place called Splatsville, located in a region called the Splatslands which is a desert wasteland. The player faces off against the main boss of Splatoon 1, bringing back the iconic antagonist DJ Octavio. However, during the fight, the player is dragged through the sand by a random furry tentacle.

The player then loses all of their armor and weapons and has to start anew. You meet up with characters from the previous games, including Callie and Marie from Splatoon 1 and Agent 4 from the second game. They then proceed to show you around the new area, which they describe as an “Underground City” that has a more futuristic look than the current city you reside in when you first open the game. Your task is to find “Power Eggs” to get rid of the fuzzy tentacles infesting the underground city while fighting the old and new bosses.

The story mode is adapted from the mechanics of Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion, where players go into a station and complete challenges with a specific weapon. Players could now play as an octoling in this game, which is a surprising change as the octolings were main antagonists in the first 2 games main story campaign. The storymode starts off pretty easy but picks up in difficulty over time and gets more addicting. It has a lot humorous features where you can throw partners off the map or use them as a distraction. There were also a lot of new things added to the game overall, like the game’s updated graphics to give it a sharper look on the new OLED Nintendo Switches.

And for players who prefer using motion controls to aim, the developers have fixed the sensitivity to fit in with the gyroscope in the controllers. As players progress through the story, they meet a trio that at first appear to be residents of the Futuristic Utopia, and seem like they’re trying to escape to the overworld. They have the ability to control old bosses from the previous games. Later on you see that they’re actually after some treasure and the main antagonist of the game is the boss of the game mode Salmon Run.

Nintendo offers a mobile app, called the Nintendo Switch Online app, with a section that allows you to interact with your Splatoon account. It is referred to as SplatNet 3, where you can view your match history and buy app-exclusive clothes with rare abilities that will help you out in online turf wars. In the online lobby, there’s also a character that accepts tickets to help players level up or earn more money. As for the online lobby, there are some dummies that players can use to test out weapons, as well as a new clone that mimics what players are doing so they can improve their battle style.

And now for the final verdict. Is this game worth spending $60 to purchase? We think the game is great and very entertaining. However, we do not think the game is worth $60. When we consider everything the game brought to the table, we think the game should have been priced a little bit lower. However, if you are a fan of the franchise, it’s definitely worth considering buying or waiting for it to go on sale. It’s a fun game, with fantastic multiplayer modes, a great and lengthy story campaign, and noteworthy additions from the previous installments.