Splatoon 3 Nintendo Switch review | Vic B’Stard’s State of Play
Originally a Nintendo Wii game, with 2015’s Splatoon, the sequel, Splatoon 2, was released in 2017 as a Nintendo Switch Exclusive. This third iteration is more of the same, which is a good thing as the concept is rather unique and the games are fun to play.
Splatoon 3 offers up three ways to play single-player, competitive multiplayer, and 4-person multiplayer co-op. Unfortunately, multiplayer requires membership to Nintendo’s online subscription service. The game has no split-screen multiplayer modes, which I think is a missed opportunity. With the above in mind, this review focuses on the single-player element only, which is available to all for the retail price of the game.
The story mode follows on from that of the last game in being set on a future earth where the ocean’s creatures have evolved to walk on the land. Players take on the role of a customisable “inkling”, a creature that has evolved from a squid.
The player’s character has two forms: one humanoid and the other looking like a squid without tentacles. In humanoid form players can fire an ink gun, covering floors and walls with ink splats, The ink can also be used to activate objects and dispatch enemies. As a squid, the player can swim under ink splats, quickly across floors, and even up walls. If it’s covered in your ink you can move through it. If it’s another colour ink it’ll slow you down, or even injure your character. In squid form, your character can also pass through mesh objects.
Players have a partner in Little Buddy, a smallfry fish friend. Little Buddy can be thrown to activate objects out of reach, as well as charged up to remove fuzzy ooze blocking your path.
The characters all talk in gobbledegook with subtitles. Great for the developer’s localisation budget, but pretty bad for kids who may struggle to follow the story. Not that there’s much in the way of a tale to be told.
To be honest, the plot serves only to link the engrossing gameplay across the various lands. The game is structured across areas that have players following a path which in turn branches out to separate puzzle-filled levels that need to be solved. The genius of the single-player campaign is how simple game mechanics are utilised to create complex and challenging puzzles.
Walls need to be inked and climbed, jumps timed, and painted overhead rails traversed. Activating objects move walls into place and opens up new paths. There are also enemies that need to be avoided or splatted with ink. It’s not a particularly hard game, but a lot of fun. Even the bosses, a gameplay element that I’m not fond of are not too much trouble.
As fun as the game is, the levels do start to all feel the same after a while, as they begin to feel just like different combinations of the same puzzle elements. It’s a minor criticism, but one that may stop you from returning to the solo story in a hurry.
The default aiming controls take a bit of getting used to. In handheld mode, the game uses the Switch’s built-in movement sensors. As you move the switch, the crosshairs move in the game. I found it a bit of a gimmick. Playing on a TV with a Pro controller was even worse. Thankfully the movement controls can be switched off and the joystick used instead.
The game looks really good, be it on the small switch screen or a TV. The framerate is slick and smooth. The unique character designs top off a very polished presentation.
As a parent, Splatoon 3 is a shooter that I’m very happy with my kids playing. With popular cartoony-looking games like Fortnite featuring very real weapons, Splatoon 3 is comparatively innocuous, even for young kids.
I had a lot of fun with Splatoon 3 ‘s story campaign. It offers a moderate challenge and is easy to pick up. It’s a shame that there’s no local multiplayer, especially as the online modes are off-limits without a Nintendo Switch Online Subscription. On the whole, is another good entry for Nintendo’s portable gaming console.
Originally published at https://vicbstard.com on September 20, 2022.