When the original Splatoon game hit shelves, players were left in awe at how exciting and addictive such a simple game could become. We’ve seen it before with the likes of Candy Crush and Flappy Bird; give gamers something good-looking, eye-catching and quick to learn, and they’ll jump right into it head first without coming up for air. That’s what happened with the original Splatoon, and that’s what will likely happen with its superior sequel, Splatoon 2.
Bigger and brighter than its predecessor, this game builds on all of the good that has come before it, adding a slew of new toys for budding inklings to get their hands on and slam their opponents with. Online multiplayer is of course where most of the fun lies, with a variety of different maps allowing players to get to high ground and attack those foolish enough to cross below them, or slink in the shadows below and plan an ultimate ink attack.
Though Splatoon 2 may at first seem like an online game where you just mindlessly splat ink across the stage and hope for the best, it’s surprisingly brutal if you go in blind without any strategy. Before long, you’ll be working on your ink management, setting out safe zones that you can run back to if you find yourself in danger and planning assaults instead of just blind firing and hoping for the best.
All of this means a player can never really get into a groove or feel comfortable in their surroundings. In going up against different opponents in every random online game, they’re forced to think on their toes and adapt to consistently-differing situations. While that can be frustrating at times, it’s a better path to go down than one in which you quickly learn the ropes and always win; that gets boring very quickly.
Every detail has been thought through exponentially. Developers didn’t even want to leave players without something to do on loading screens, and so a quick click of each button will see the gamer become a DJ, adjusting the speed and pitch of the music being made with the control sticks.
When you’re in-game, the sounds and effects surrounding the player are intricate and beautifully brought to life. The splats, clanks and screeches are all spot-on. Little touches like this are exactly what game developers should be aiming for; especially so when bringing a sequel to a hugely-popular title.
As you level up, you gain new guns to play with and random abilities that will allow you to take control of different weapons, or even defensive talents. Again, it means that players are never given the opportunity to stick to something that works and go with it. The allure of switching things up is too much. For those who would stick to what they know, the option isn’t even available, with maps changing every two hours.
The 32-mission single-player campaign is where developers seem to have let things slip just a tad. While it’s an enjoyable six-hour romp, it’s one that serves more as an incredibly lengthy tutorial for online play than anything else. The player is rarely challenged with the story, and it sticks too closely to the single-player mode we saw in the original game. There’s not much more to be said about the campaign, to be honest.
One of the game’s shining moments comes with Salmon Run. If there’s ever been a game open to kiddies that will prepare them for their inevitable future of crushing zombies in Call of Duty, then this is it. The enemies may not physically look the same, but the concept is there. You’re forced to battle for control of the ground as enemies come in from all angles in waves, pushing players to switch-up strategies and even ripping weapons from their hands to replace with another random one each time a new flock of bad guys descend. It’s utter chaos, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable; and actually a major challenge!
From everything we’ve seen so far, Splatoon 2 is an essential purchase for those looking to top up their Nintendo Switch. It provides countless hours of fun and still, with 20 hours plus pumped into it, doesn’t feel stale. This could be a game that entertains us for many months to come.
Splatoon 2 is officially released for Nintendo Switch on Friday, July 21.