About Splatoon 3
Splatoon 3 - Splat It Up
The Third Time’s Just as Charming
The Most Colorful Shooter Of All
Splatoon 3 is the third iteration in the Splatoon series, developed and published by Nintendo. It’s available as a Nintendo Switch exclusive. It is a third-person shooter game, offering many multiplayer modes in a colorful world.
Welcome to Splatsville
Splatoon 3 has returned with its franchise standard of offering a single-player campaign alongside many online multiplayer modes. The majority of these online modes consist of two teams of four battling to ink turf in their team's color.
The world of Splatoon is inhabited by Inklings and Octolings: beings from the far future that have evolved to shift between kid and squid form, or kid and octopi form, respectively. For the first time in the franchise, players can choose to play as either Inklings or Octolings within the base game.
Concept Rating: 4/5
To help sell the concept of a kid-friendly shooter game, Nintendo has filled the Splatoon series with color and carefree style. For example, teams might compete with bright blue ink against cotton candy pink or deeply saturated purple against sunshine yellow. Nowhere will you find dark, dreary browns or blacks, and every corner of Splatsville is animated with joy.
In Splatoon 3, the UI has been refined to perfection. In-game maps and indicators for splats (Splatoon's word for kills) are clear and unobtrusive. Linked to these are the fictional languages of Splatoon: Inkling and Octoling. They sound similar to the cutesy dialogue in Animal Crossing and work in-game to communicate with teammates. You can signal a “Booyah” to start the match off right, or you can emote a dejected “Ouch” to warn others where the enemy splatted you.
With a new title comes brand-new music. As always, Nintendo delivers on all fronts. The new songs are yet another way the game breathes fresh life and energy into each match, though fans of the previous games are no doubt hoping for Nintendo to bring some old favourites back in future updates, as they’ve done with fan-favorite maps.
Ink, Swim, and Dive Into Splatoon 3
A surprisingly important part of Splatoon is mobility. Inking turf not only racks up your points and works towards your objective but also allows you to swim quickly across the turf in squid or octo form. Additionally, you can climb up walls or retreat from enemy fire. It also doubles as the quickest way to refill your ink and heal.
Some new mobility features added to Splatoon 3 are choosing where you spawn, Squid Surge, and Squid Rolling. The first gives more freedom and helps to mitigate potential spawn-camping. Squid Surge involves boosting yourself up walls, and Squid Rolling is a much-welcome way to quickly change direction while swimming through ink.
Combat involves “splatting” others, temporarily taking them out of the game while they respawn back at their team’s base. While most game modes are 4v4, the new Splatfest Tricolor battles shake this up for the first time in the series - more on this later. Each main weapon also comes with a kit comprised of a pre-determined sub and special weapon.
There is no lack of weapons to choose from in Splatoon 3, with many more to be added in future updates. These include classes such as shooters, chargers, rollers, and new classes in Splatoon 3 stringers and splatanas. Shooters are your standard, all-around balanced weapon, best for inking turf quickly. Chargers are snipers, which are generally bad at inking but great at racking up splats. Rollers and brushes are modelled after real-life paint rollers and paint brushes. Players push these around the map to ink turf and splat anyone standing in their way. Stringers, new to Splatoon 3, are based on archery bows and land somewhere in between regular shooters and chargers. Splatanas, also new, are based on katanas, and specialize in focused damage rather than inking turf.
Sub-weapons are typically types of ink bombs to help combo or pressure enemies, and some are better than others at inking turf. Special weapons are charged by inking turf without getting splatted and result in powerful attacks to help change the course of battle.
There are six main mode types in Splatoon 3: Turf War, Anarchy modes, Salmon Run, Table Turf, the single-player Story Mode, and the special Tricolor Turf War mode unlocked during Splatfests.
1. Turf War
Turf War is the heart and soul of Splatoon. In these 3-minute battles, you face off in a 4v4 to cover the map in your team’s color. While splats are tempting, don't forget that the real objective is inking turf!
2. Anarchy Battle
Anarchy Battle is Splatoon 3’s replacement for the previous games’ Ranked Battles but works the same. In Anarchy, you can play Rainmaker, Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Clam Blitz. Rainmaker sets your team with the task of carrying the “rainmaker” across the map to a platform deep in the enemy’s turf. Splat Zones is the most similar to regular Turf War, where teams only battle for control of a small section of the middle of the map. In Tower Control, teams battle to ride and keep control of a tower as it moves through a series of checkpoints toward the opponent’s base. Finally, you score points in Clam Blitz by launching clams into the other team’s basket.
3. Salmon Run
Salmon Run, first introduced in Splatoon 2, rivals Turf War as the most popular game mode. As a fully cooperative 4vE mode, it’s a breath of fresh air when you need to take a break from losing against other people. In Salmon Run, you collect golden eggs for your totally-not-sketchy boss Grizz by splatting boss salmonids. Each shift is composed of three waves, each racing against time to fill a quota of golden eggs. Meeting quotas for all three waves means players can rank up to earn points and unlock gear, coins, and more, as well as increase the Hazard Level to take on more challenging shifts. By successfully surviving all three waves, teams have the chance of encountering the Cohozuna. This is the boss of all bosses salmonids - an absolute monster of a fish. Depending on how well you do, you’ll be rewarded with a certain number of bronze, silver, or golden scales to be traded in for Grizzco-exclusive items, banners, and gear. Big Run is a special event that also debuted in Splatoon 3. These are Salmon Run waves on regular Turf War stages, offering a new challenge to players of all skill levels.
4. Tableturf Battle
Tableturf Battle, new to Splatoon 3, is an in-game card game that emulates Turf War. Designed as a turn-based 1v1, players customize decks and add ink patterns to a board to out-ink their opponent. Cards are based on various weapons and characters in Splatoon and are acquired by increasing their Tableturf Battle rank or their catalog level.
5. Story Mode
As with all iterations of Splatoon, players are introduced to the game with a single-player Story Mode, called Return of the Mammalians in Splatoon 3. As Agent 3, you fight the Fuzzy Ooze-infused Octarians. This involves a series of levels that introduce you to different weapons, abilities, and ways to play and move throughout the world as you explore the hidden gems of Alterna. Previous games' Story campaigns were rightfully criticized as being hours-long tutorials, but Nintendo has improved notably this time by offering more interesting storylines and characters, along with some truly challenging gauntlets.
Last of all is the much beloved Splatfest. These are special events where players join a team by voting on their favourite of a selection, such as rock, paper, scissors, or spicy, sweet, or sour. Splatfests only last three days, during which all of Splatsville gets colorful and festive. While the event is ongoing, players earn conch shells and Super Sea Snails, which help personalize and acquire new gear. In the second half of the Splatfest, Tricolor battles are unlocked and available to play. These are special 4v2v2 battles, where the leading team has to hold their own as a team of four against the other two teams of two.
Even with all of these modes available, there’s still so much more to Splatoon 3!
There are shops, such as Naut Couture, Man-O’-Wardrope, and Crush Station to buy gear to wear in matches, or just around Splatsville. You can get new weapons at Ammo Knights, and locker decorations at Hotlandis. To upgrade your gear and become more powerful in matches, you collect useability chunks. Lockers are available in the Lobby, which you can decorate with stickers and other decorations you can win from the catalog or the Story Mode, as well as Hotlandis.
Every few months, a new Season Cataog is available. Leveling up your catalog means earning special gear, emotes, and other ways to personalize your splashtag. Splashtags are banners, titles, and badges which are earned or unlocked, and appear on-screen when each team is introduced at the start of a battle, and when you’re splatted by an opponent. Emotes are ways your Inkling or Octoling can celebrate on the victory screen (so long as you win!).
As with previous iterations of Splatoon, Amiibo give you access to the truly exclusive gear you can’t get anywhere else. Along with the gear, you can take pictures with the characters who visit you in-game.
And lastly, as if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s a Save Data Bonus for players who racked up experience in Splatoon 2, so that you’ll dive into Splatoon 3 with a headstart and avoid some tedious grinding. This can help you unlock your favourite weapon faster, and place you in Anarchy Battles at a more appropriate skill level.
Splatoon 3 is available for purchase for $59.99. To play its many online game modes, it also requires a yearly Nintendo Online Membership starting at $19.99, which is well worth the price.
Splatoon 3 was released on September 9, 2022. As of January 17th, Splatoon 3 is in version 2.1.0.
Any fans of Splatoon 2 who are debating on whether to jump on over to Splatoon 3 have no reason to hesitate - there are an absurd number of quality-of-life changes, and Splatoon 3 will no doubt see all of the updates and fun Splatfests as time goes on, just as Splatoon 2 did.
Nintendo took to heart all the feedback players had from Splatoon 2 and went above and beyond, bringing a near-flawless addition to the series. With the love and attention given to its predecessors, we can expect to see at least a year or two worth of exciting updates with new gear, weapons, stages, and content for Splatoon 3.
Replay Value Rating: 5/5
- Countless quality-of-life upgrades from Splatoon 2
- Huge variety of modes to play, keeping things fresh
- Massive replayability value
- Requires Nintendo Online account and yearly payment for online play
- Offline play is limited
Splatoon 3 is even better than what fans could have hoped for from the new series iteration and is guaranteed to offer hundreds of hours of fresh, colorful fun for everyone.