Splatoon 2 is the sequel to what could be argued was one of Nintendo’s most surprising games of the last few years.
Splatoon was unlike anything the company had attempted before. It was a neon-soaked multiplayer game that pitched ‘Inklings’ (tiny squid-like humanoids) against each other in what looked like the world’s most exciting paintball match.
None of it made much sense, but no-one really cared because it was so damn fun to play.
It was almost a shame then when the realisation slowly sunk in that this was to be one of the last great titles on Nintendo’s ill-fated but charming Wii U console.
Nintendo, realising that they quite clearly had an absolute hit on their hands, didn’t hang about then in making sure that Splatoon would return for its next console the Nintendo Switch.
So here it is, back in our living rooms and now more importantly, on the move as well.
Splatoon 2 feels in many ways like the game that should have been released back on the Wii U. The original had a great core concept which was the characters, the easy-to-grasp playing style and addictive match types. Sadly it felt like it lacked a little in substance.
The sequel deals with this question straight from the start, this is an altogether bigger, better and more well-rounded version of Splatoon and it’s all the better for it.
For starters, your inkling is completely customisable which means that as you progress through either the multiplayer or single player you can earn knew gear that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.
Next up, and as we mentioned earlier, there is now an offline single player campaign. This is great news not only because you can actually play Splatoon on the go when you’re not connected to wifi but because it also acts as a glorified training camp preparing you for the ink-filled arenas ahead.
Then there’s the core multiplayer experience itself and it’s here where Splatoon 2 truly shines.
You’ll start off in the game’s core multiplayer mode: Turf War.
The objective is simple, cover more of the map in your team’s ink than the other team while also splatting the other team. It’s simple, but glorious fun.
Then as you level up you’ll be given access to new, harder game modes in the Ranked Battles section. It’s here that you’ll face the pros of Splatoon 2 in various modes such as Tower Control, Splat Zones and Rainmaker.
Sure some of them are simply Nintendo’s take on traditional multiplayer games but honestly it doesn’t matter.
What makes you coming back for more, even when you’re on a losing streak, is that it’s just pure fun. This isn’t violence and death not yet seen since you last played Battlefield 1, this is two teams of absurd-looking squid-like creatures going absolutely off the rails with some industrial-strength paintball cannons.
It is fair to say that Nintendo has had its fair share of getting decisions wrong, but one thing that it can undeniably say it has mastered is taking something that on the surface appears trivial and cartoonish and then adding in such a masterful amount of depth and complexity that you’ll find yourself utterly hooked.
This extra layer of depth shines through in the form of Splatoon’s third and final game type: Salmon Run.
This is essentially a fishing-based horde mode in which a team of inklings must battle against waves of enemies and bosses that become more and more difficult as you continue to play.
It’s simple, it has been done before and yet just like Splatoon’s other game types it’s just an enormous amount of fun.
If there is any part of the game that could deserve some criticism though it is the mechanics of matchmaking. Oddly Nintendo hasn’t considered the fact that because you’re playing this on a portable console there might be times when your wifi connection cuts out (either in a coffee shop, on the train etc).
As such we found that every time we had a connection issue it would kick us out of the match and then subsequently consider us a hostile player. Drop out of games too many times and you’ll actually get banned for a short while.
It’s frustrating, especially when the other features of the Switch work so well with game. Being able to create a local wireless group of up to seven players is a major step forward for mobile multiplayer and we can see it becoming one of the main reasons to buy a Switch as more and more games support it.
Who shouldn’t buy Splatoon 2?
If you own a Nintendo Switch this is a no brainer. It’s a glorious nonsense-filled multiplayer splat-them-up with vast amounts of replayability and a cast-iron guarantee to leave you smiling at the end of every session.
Who shouldn’t buy Splatoon 2?
People who have a phobia of the sea and all things sea-related. Also people who aren’t a massive fan of third-person multiplayer shooters. It’s great fun if you can get the hang of it but for people who prefer their Nintendo solidly offline this isn’t for them.
Splatoon 2 is available now for Nintendo Switch.