Revisiting Splatoon - Enemy Slime

Revisiting Splatoon

Nintendo has been releasing content for it all year. What does the game look like six months later?


Splatoon came out in late May, with what seemed at the time like an inexcusable low number of maps, weapons, and game types with Nintendo promising to add content to the game as the summer went on. While many outlets, reviewing the game in a Pre-Starwars Battlefront world, were harsh on the game at launch for this lack of content I gave Nintendo the benefit of the doubt in my initial review. It helped that while reviewing this, Nintendo had already started to release content for the game so I was inclined to believe in the promise of more content, a promise that Nintendo has almost certainly kept at this point. Splatoon is not the same game now that it was at launch to the point that it merits revisiting it.


As of this writing the number of maps in the game has gone from the 4 available on release day to 14 with two more stages to be added soon. While the initial stages released felt like simple continuations of the old ones, the stages released later in the summer brought a lot of fun twists to the game, and quickly became my favorite places to play. Camp Triggerfish released towards the end of the summer, and Mahi Mahi Resort released this month both stand out as favorites, with changes to the level that are triggered as the match enters its later stages. For Camp Triggerfish, a new way into the enemy base is revealed, allowing for new angles of play. Mahi Mahi Resort, on the other hand features a rather large pool that at the beginning of the match is filled with lethal water. As the match goes on, the water level is lowered, revealing new turf to ink. Some of them have strange layouts, such as Hammerhead Bridge’s two tiered set up, or Museum D’ Alphonsino’s rotating platforms. Much like with Mario Kart’s DLC, the extra time Nintendo had to work on these stages shows with more variety and different, fun mechanics.

The equipment selection likewise has been expanded. Weapons have seen the introduction of the sloshers, essentially giant buckets of ink, brushes, and splatlins, miniguns that charge up to deliver a powerful torrent of shots. There are 7 types of gun in total, but within each type of gun there are series which often have several iterations of the weapon that might have slight differences in performance. Along with this, each weapon comes automatically equipped with a special ability and an explosive. Think of it like you would pre-built loadouts in traditional shooters. Despite adding a lot of variety to weapons and premade loadouts, the game has managed to still feel balanced. You never feel like you have quite unlocked a killer combo that will make you dominant in every mode, rather you will want to have different weapons in your tool box to suit your style of play and the modes you are playing in. For example, I like to use the Aerospray MG for turf war, as it gives me the ability to cover a lot of turf quickly, while being a good weapon to defend myself in case I get in a shoot out. For ranked, I usually opt for a mini splatting, which gives me the flexibility needed for the more limited objectives, and the fire power for the higher frequency of combat you see in this mode.


Despite these being my preferred lodeouts, I don’t feel either of them is perfect. The mine for the MG is a great tool, but limited in turf wars. While I wish the special in the mini splatling was something more tactical than the inkzooka. There is a variant of the mini splatling that has a bubbler as the special, which makes it even more deadly in combat, however the great suction bomb you get with the regular variant is replaced by a disruptor. The disruptor is a great tactical weapon, but you lose a lot of the raw power the suction bomb lent to the loadout. There is really no right combination, and the variety of weapons you will see when you play the game is a testament to that.

Nintendo has not only added weapons, but also has greatly increased the amount of gear that is available. Now you can pretty much dress your inkling to look like anything you want. There are sports jerseys, hip hop, rock and hipster gear. There is military gear, there is paintball gear. There is even gear that makes your inkling look like the squid girl from Shinryaku! Ika Musume. I am personally fond of a boots, jacket, glasses combination that makes my squid-kid look like the Terminator. The gear has different levels and different abilities (which are randomized), which means that initially at least the cool shirt you love might not be high level enough to suit your needs. Luckily, you can add ability slots to your gear, and even re-roll its abilities if you are not happy with them. This will allow you to make sure the gear that you have is competitive while still giving your avatar the style you want. All this costs is Super Sea Snails, and you can acquire those by participating in Spatfests.


Splatfests are easily one of the best parts of Splatoon. They are special events where the community is divided in two camps. These usually have you choosing one of two options: Rollercoasters VS waterslides, South Pole VS North Pole, etc… This is presented in the context of a music show by the squid sisters Callie and Marie, with each of them championing a side. This encourages competition as you work with your team to try to make sure your side comes out of on top. Mii Verse is integrated into the action, splattering the lobby with posters of the Mii Verse posts of both sides, and putting high ranking posts in the arenas. Beyond the feeling of competition, depending on whether your side wins or loses, and on your individual performance, you will be awarded Super Sea Snails. If the theme does not awaken your warrior spirit, Splatoon will entice you by letting you upgrade your gear.


Six months on, Splatoon is definitely a much meatier game than what we received at release. The best part of this that Nintendo shows no sign of stopping. At least two more stages have been announced to be released in 2016, so it looks like we can still expect to get more content for this game into the next year. Of course if the gameplay isn’t solid that doesn’t matter, but the truth is that I’ve been playing it through the year. I don’t play it every day, but at least once a week, and I definitely play it during Splatfests. If you were waiting to see if Nintendo was going to follow through with their content promises before picking up the game then consider that wait over.