Splatoon 2 is the sequel to the original Wii U title. The system didn’t have many shooters so a paintball style where you play as a human/squid using ink based weapons really worked with newcomers to the game.
From first glance at Splatoon 2, I was shocked. It must be said that I played the first entry for just over an hour and that was all I needed. I was satisfied and decided to return the game as I had lost interest. But that was just my experience, it just must not have been what I was looking for in a game at the time. Now comes Splatoon 2 and something has grabbed my attention. I am having an absolute blast with this game, both in the Single player and Multiplayer areas.
Before you dive into any modes, you are dropped into the hub world of Inkopolis after you have done some basic character design choices. Inkopolis is where the fun is had. Many shops surround the hub world where you can buy different items for parts of your body. Each item has their own little bonuses to them that help aid you in battle. These bonuses or perks can be switched out and customised as you progress more through the game. They also require money that you earn from playing Multiplayer. Levelling up also unlocks various outfits and weapons back in stores so it makes participating and wanting to be the best online that much more exciting. Apart from the stores you also have gateways to both the Multiplayer area of the game and Single player areas. No menus here. Once the game has booted up on the main screen you push both back buttons of your joy cons/pro controller and you are immediately dropped into the world of Splatoon 2 to venture off and decide what you chose to do in game.
Single player mode is a fantastic introduction to the game and all its ins and outs. Probably the best place to start for anybody. It starts off basic with lessons on how to jump and go into squid form which I’m sure you would have figured out like I did by messing about in the main hub world Inkopolis. But once the game gets going and your hand is held less and less by the game, you find the levels become more and more puzzling and challenging to finish. Not in a hard way more so fun. Each world has you tasked with collecting zapfish and an optional objective with finding 2 collectibles on each level that are usually cleverly hidden so if you miss them on a level, it gives you a good reason to jump back in later to collect them all. A substantial change to the first games Single player mode is that here you’re able to try and change your weapons, so you’re not just stuck with the same weapon. It really helps you decide which weapon you’re best with using before you jump into Multiplayer.
This is where it’s at. Multiplayer is of course the creme de la crème of Splatoon 2. As I said previously, levelling up here helps to unlock more weapons to use in game. Strangely however, once you are in a match you are unable to change your loadout. You are stuck with the same loadout until you change it outside of a match, so make sure whatever you’re going into a match with is exactly what you want. Splatoon 2 has around 8 maps for their Multiplayer section and you are informed before jumping in every time which 2 maps for what modes are currently playable. The maps rotate every 2 hours to mix it up.
There are several other different modes that you would be familiar with from other kinds of shooters but the most unique here of course is the turf war mode that sees your team trying their best to cover the map with as much of their sides coloured ink to dominate and win the round. You can of course also splatter an enemy to make them respawn and stop them from making progress with their team’s colour.
Nintendo’s Online App with Splatoon 2
Here is where it gets rough. Now not the games issue it still is a major feature that other systems out there have had down for years but sadly we’ve got to also use our phones to communicate and get games going together. When you’ve got the app going you can’t do anything with your phone. It must be opened and have the app open at all times. No going to reply to an important message midway through a match.
We both found issues with the App and its functions with Splatoon 2, some that made it difficult and frustrating for myself and fellow DJ team member Chris to get a game going. Chris was the one to set up the matches so I’ll let him dive in and give his thoughts as well on the app and its functions with Splatoon 2, take it away bud.
Hi readers, Chris here. While the anticipation of the newly release Nintendo Switch Online Mobile App was incredibly high in my camp, expecting a streamlined, accessible process for online matchmaking, we’re instead left with a system that holds glowing potential in some areas, whilst lacking sorely in others. Allow me to preface by saying that SplatNet, the multiplayer hub for Splatoon 2, provides a very exciting premise for Splatoon 2 players. Once you’re logged in to the application using your Nintendo Account, detailed statistics on your activity in Multiplayer matches, both regular and ranked, are present, as well as exclusive gear to splat in style in Turf War.
The statistics SplatNet provides are vast, including your Victory/Defeat ratio, your favourite stages, ability to check and share your loadout, as well as interesting stats like Total Ink Coverage (as well as a mini-challenge you can follow along with as you cover more area with your ink). One facet of SplatNet that truly shines, is the ability to see the arena rotation schedule. If not yet informed, two arenas are chosen from a pool and are available for a two-hour window while you play in Ranked and Regular Battles (league matches are also covered) If you’re tuning in via the app, you’ll know when to log on for your favourite maps to be playable. My two favourite arenas are by far the Musselforge Fitness and Humpback Pump Track, and as of writing, I’ll need to log on at 11.30pm to play these – informed politely via the Nintendo Online App and without the need to pull out my Nintendo Switch. It’s a neat convenience and a neat little quirk I found particularly useful.
It should also be mentioned that the exclusive shop included within the Nintendo Online App also provides cool new threads and style pieces, and the app does a competent job explaining the time you’ll need to pounce on each limited deal.
Where the app falls miserably short, is during online matchmaking with friends. While this isn’t directly an issue of Splatoon 2 itself, the app that supports it provides a few notable inconveniences. Initially, while attempting to create a private multiplayer match, I was unable to build a working session between Kyle and I. Unfortunately, I was met with error messages throughout the process, in between selecting loadout and match settings, and frustratingly, right before entering the match. Where the frustration continues, though, is the inability to lock my device while using the mobile app – it will simply stop voice sessions and render the app into hibernation. And while I know it is noted earlier in this review, it must be noted that this means significant battery drain, having to keep the screen lit during hour long battles, which simply isn’t sustainable for the average player and their respective device.
Splatoon 2 is a splatteringly good time that only Nintendo can provide. There are some early teething issues with the online app when playing online with friends, however there are a million different ways out there to chat with friends while playing so don’t let the App hold you back. I do hope though Nintendo fixes these issues that myself and Chris came across. Issues with the App and games pairing aside, Splatoon 2 itself is a fantastic game that shouldn’t be missed by any Switch owners. I highly recommend this game for anyone looking for a fun game to play on a long trip or even from the comfort of your own loungeroom. Splatoon 2 is a wonderful title and one that Nintendo should be proud of.
Please note that it is not a requirement to download the Nintendo Online Application in order to play Splatoon 2 online, it will function perfectly without it and thus has not had a bearing on the game review score here.