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Both John and Michael took some time to try the Splatoon demo this weekend. Here’s their off-the-cuff thoughts!
Michael:I played Splatoon for a single one hour test of the three Nintendo offered up as a server test and demo for Splatoon. While I did run into the occasional hiccup when searching for a match, most of my time was spent shooting paint all over the place. The game is set up like most shooters are two teams vying to rack up the highest score. Splatoon isn’t all about killing the opponents. Instead you need to paint around the map, covering as much of the turf as you can with your color paint. The team with the most paint covering the map at the end wins.
The Nintendo touches are where the game really captures my heart. During gameplay you can glance down at the Wii U gamepad and get an overview of the map and where you need to be painting. The colors, the character design, and even the way the paint smears and covers the ground and walls is fun. The pace feels slowed down from the average CoD match. Your movement speed isn’t quick, especially in Inkling form, but you do go a little faster as a squid swimming through your own ink. Splatterguns take several shots to kill opponents, while rollers and chargers (rifles) take one hit. This pace makes the game feel accessible even for someone playing only an hour of it. I found myself earning MVP every few matches or so.
This isn’t a Call of Duty or Halo clone. It may be another shooter but it is doing something different. If Nintendo sticks to their brushes and supports Splatoon like they promise they will, this could be the first multiplayer game I dedicate myself to in a very long time.
John: Michael explained Splatoon pretty well already, so I’m going to get right to the meat. Splatoon is the next step in team-based shooters. I played two of the three demo hours, and it was fascinating watching the meta change in real time. Players were tweeting out tips to each other, calls for nerfs sprung up (including some from myself, the paint roller is annoying!) and were silenced. It makes perfect sense that there’s already a Smashboards spin-off for Splatoon called Squidboards.
Splatoon isn’t just what the shooter genre needed, it’s also the game Nintendo needed to show they still shine. All the Nintendo hardware features are used properly: Michael mentioned the gamepad map, but the built-in gyro aiming is almost a better option than using the control stick. Billboards decorate the battle arenas with Miiverse fanart, breathing life into each turf war.
From playing the Testfires, I’m very excited for the future of Splatoon. Future updates could keep it afloat for a good while, and the Splatoon team seems to know how to make a balanced metagame. We still have items to unlock and a single player campaign to experience. The first splash of ink on Splatoon’s canvas was gorgeous, and I have an INKLING that the rest of it will be just as fun.