One of the hottest video games this fall has landed! Splatoon 3 is the latest entry in the ink-splatting, multiplayer action series and is available now on Nintendo Switch. Splatoon 3 introduces new features and modes making their debut for the first time in the series, while overhauling fan-favourite modes in distinct ways.
It’s been 5 years since Splatoon 2 launched on Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look and see what the wizards at Nintendo have been cooking up for us in Splatoon 3.
Splatoon 3 Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action, Multiplayer
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
A new game or just add-on content in disguise?
At first glance, you might think Splatoon 3 is add-on content for Splatoon 2—a fresh coat of paint, new weapons and arenas followed up with some quality of life game mode improvements. And, honestly, there really isn’t anything new that will knock your socks off so to speak. But, that’s ok! For those of you like me, who want more Splatoon you will be pleasantly surprised.
As expected, Splatoon 3 features an intense competition where you claim turf with splashes of colour and splat your rivals as ink-spraying Inkling and Octoling characters. The game has three main modes: an all-new single-player Story Mode, “Return of the Mammalians”; the iconic four-on-four team battles, Turf War, featuring new weapons and new and returning stages; and the revamped Salmon Run, a co-op mode in which a team of four fends off waves of enemies, which now adds giant, dangerous bosses to the mix.
What’s new in Splatoon 3?
Let’s take a look at some of my favourite new additions in Splatoon 3. The game takes place in Splatsville, a change from Inkopolis from the previous two games. Acting as the game’s main hub, the explorable area is a bustling city with plenty going on and feels more lively than Inkopolis ever did.
Return of the Mammalians
The game’s all-new single-player story mode may sound very familiar to fans of the series. Five years have passed since Splatoon 2 and The Great Zapfish that has been powering Splatsville has been stolen by the Otcarians. All your favourites like Marie, Callie and, my personal favourite, Cap’n Cuttlefish return.
You take on the role of Agent 3 and you must make your way to Splatlantis to thwart the Octarian enemy. The levels feel unique and interesting rather than just a rehash from previous games. To keep things fresh, you can replay them using different weapons, which will require you to use different tactics than before.
While the story is nothing really new, I did enjoy the story mode. The boss fights are wacky and the stage designs keep gameplay fresh. Nintendo managed to include a perfect mix of both new and familiar faces.
New maps and ink-tastic weapons
Five new maps make their way to Splatoon 3. These desert themed maps include: Scorch Gorge, Eeltail Alley, Hagglefish Market, Undertow Spillyway and Mincemeat Metalwork. All are unique and offer a great variety to play on. These new maps are in addition to the seven maps from previous games in the series that are also included in Splatoon 3.
What would a new Splatoon game be without weapons! While there might not be a whole lot of new weapons yet, there are some new weapons to talk about. My favourite new weapon is the Tri-Stingers, it shoots out three different shots at once in all different directions. It’s a great medium long range weapon that takes a bit of getting used to, to master.
Additionally, there are 3 new Special Weapons: Tacticooler, Wave Beaker and Reef Slider. You earn these by inking enough surfaces and splatting your enemies. The Tacticooler acts as a team buff. It is a beverage cooler that has four energy drinks, one for each teammate. The Wave Beaker can be thrown and once it lands it starts bouncing up and down, with each bounce releasing a shockwave that expands from the base of the cone.
Over a short period of time, the Wave Breaker will unleash a total of three shockwaves before being destroyed. Finally the Reef Slider is an inflatable toy shark that you ride and goes in a path. It splats opponents upon contact. And, at the end of the path, the toy shark stops in place and lets out a blast of ink, splatting opponents.
New gameplay mechanics
As I mentioned earlier, Splatoon 3 isn’t a huge step forward for the series but the additions and improvements it does have are welcomed. My favourite new gameplay mechanics are the Squid Surge and the Squid Roll.
By pressing and holding the B button, you can charge up a dash that allows you to swim up vertical inked surfaces quickly. On the other hand, the Squid Roll allows you to jump out of the water in squid form and change direction while giving you a brief invincibility window. Combine this with say the Splat Dualies dodge roll and you’re golden!
Three way Splatfests
The Splatoon series is known for its Splatfests and Splatoon 3 doesn’t disappoint. Splatfests are weekend events where players face off against each other and are grouped into teams based on an answer to a question. You are given a choice between two things, for example Marshmallows or Hot Dogs, Past or Future, SpongeBob or Patrick. You then compete in matches to earn points for your team and the team with the most points at the end of the weekend wins.
Splatoon 3 introduces three way Splatfests. This pits three teams against each other instead of two. Splatfests are now divided into two halves. For the first half, the three teams will compete in 4-v-4 Turf War battles. However, for the second half the new Tricolor Turf War battles are introduced. This is where three teams fight at the same time. The first-place team must defend themselves in a 4-v-2-v-2 match type.
During the Splatoon 3 demo period I played the rock vs. paper vs. scissors Splatfest and it literally was a blast. I had so much fun. The next Splatfest is set for September 23, 2022 and I can hardly wait!
Splatoon 3 gives fans what they want, more Splatoon
Fans of the Splatoon series will fall in love instantly with Splatoon 3. It offers the same tried and true formula that has made the series popular but with some new additions and quality of life improvements.
Additionally, new fashion catalogues will be released every three months and new weapons around the same time. As a result, there’s no doubt that you’ll keep coming back for more. Finally, Nintendo has already revealed that they are working on single player DLC for Splatoon 3. As you can see, Nintendo is really committed to supporting the game with a constant flow of new content for the next two years.
As a big fan of the series, I can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for us in the coming weeks and months.
+ Exhilarating gameplay
+ Bright, colourful graphics
+ Can play casually or competitively
+ Nice selection of new weapons and abilities
+ New characters are “Oozing” with personality
– Online play is a bit shaky with a lot of player disconnects
– Doesn’t do enough to innovate or move the series forward
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF SPLATOON 3
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5