Splatoon is a shooter game for the Nintendo Wii U made by Nintendo.
In Splatoon, you play as creatures known as Inklings. Normally, Inklings appear in their humanoid form. However, they can transform into a squid mode that can swim through ink of their own color.
The gameplay is a third person shooter. Most of the weapons are based off of the types of weapons you'd see in most shooter games - pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, automatics, etc. In addition, there are also giant paint brushes and giant paint rollers. Rather than these weapons shooting bullets, they shoot ink.
The single player experience in Splatoon is fun, but very short. Playing through single player rewards you with various blueprints to buy new weapons with. The final boss battle in single player is probably one of my favorite boss battles in a game.
Single player mode isn't the real draw of the game - that would be multiplayer. There are multiple game modes for online. In unranked matches, you can play a mode called Turf Wars. In Turf Wars, the goal is for you and your team of three other people to cover more flat land than the "bad guys" before the timer runs out. "Splatting" (killing) people on the other team is not the goal of this mode.
In ranked matches, there are three modes: Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. All three of these modes focus more on splatting members of the other team. In all three of these modes, your goal is to stay in control until you reach the goal or until the game timer runs out.
In Splat Zones, the goal is to hold control of one or two "zones" by keeping it covered with your team's ink. In addition to the game timer, each team has their own timer. When you hold control, your team's timer goes down. When the other team takes control, your timer gets a penalty added to it. The winner of this mode is whoever runs their timer out first, or whoever has the lowest timer when the game timer runs out.
Tower Control has you climb on top of a vehicle. The vehicle is on a track, and it starts to move towards the goal of whichever team has members on it. A team's goal is near the enemy's spawn point. The vehicle moves (marginally) faster when you have more team members on it. If nobody is on the vehicle for a period of time, it starts to move back to the starting point.
Rainmaker is similar to Tower Control. A giant weapon called the Rainmaker sits in the middle of the arena. Your goal is to destroy the shield of the Rainmaker, and bring it to the goal near your enemy's spawn point. The Rainmaker can be charged up to shoot large tornadoes of ink. Whenever the person holding the Rainmaker is splatted, the Rainmaker gets dropped and can be picked up by someone else.
Before starting matches, you can select your clothing (which can have different in game powerups) and your weapon. Each multiplayer weapon also has a subweapon (such as ink mines) and a special. As you cover the ground with ink, your special charges up. The specials include an "ink strike" that covers a large area of your choice with ink, a bazooka that shoots tornadoes of ink, and a tracker that temporarily shows where all of the other team's members are.
The controls in the game are quite unique. You have to play using the Wii U Gamepad. The touch screen shows a map of the stage with the location of your teammates. You can tap on a teammate to "super jump" to them, which takes some time. You can choose to move around with traditional shooter controls (walking with the left control stick, aiming with the right control stick). However, the default (and most used) control scheme has you walk with the left control stick, and aim by tilting the Gamepad. You can still make adjustments looking left or right using the right control stuck when in this mode. Using the tilt controls adds a lot of accuracy to shooting. It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but great once you get used to it.
Splatoon doesn't follow the traditional model of DLC. Rather than selling extra/locked content, content is slowly unlocked for free over time by Nintendo. All three ranked modes started out as being locked. Many stages and weapons have also been unlocked by Nintendo over time, and will continue to.
There are three Amiibo compatible with Splatoon - the squid, Inkling boy, and Inkling girl. Each unlocks single player challenges that award in-game currency, a special minigame, special clothes, and a special weapon. The challenges all take place in various stages from the regular single player mode, but add a twist. The special weapons are just reskins of weapons you can get through normal gameplay. They don't do anything - they just look cool. The clothes also have abilities you can get through normal gameplay.
The squid Amiibo has two different types of challenges - limited ink, and Kracken time attack mode. In limited ink, you are only able to refill your ink tank a limited amount while completing the level. This is easily the toughest of the challenges. Kracken time attack mode is the easiest! Instead of transforming into a squid, you transform into a giant Kracken that can attack with ease and doesn't take damage. Completing the challenge unlocks a robot warrior costume, a rhythm minigame that contains all of the game's music, and a reskin of one of the basic guns.
The Inkling boy challenges replace your gun with a giant paint roller. This makes some of the stages a lot easier, and others a lot more difficult. Completing the challenge unlocks a warlord costume, a racing minigame, and a reskin of the basic paint roller.
The Inkling girl challenges replace your gun with a "charger" - basically a sniper rifle that you have to charge up. As with the roller challenges, this makes some stages easier and some stages harder. Completing the challenges unlocks a school uniform, a volleyball minigame, and a reskin of the basic charger.
In the United States of America, you can buy the Inkling boy and the Inkling girl separately. The only way to get the squid Amiibo is in a three-pack that also contains both Inkling Amiibo.
The Amiibo aren't necessary for full enjoyment of the game, nor do they give you an advantage aside from some easy in-game currency. However, if you really like the game's single player mode or some shinier weapons than everyone else, they are worth getting. The figures are all highly detailed.
The graphics in Splatoon are very cartoonish - which isn't bad. All of the stages, weapons, and clothes are quite detailed. Players and ink show quite well on the stages without the stages looking bland.
Although the ink colors of the teams change each match, people who are colorblind will be glad to know that Nintendo has a feature that allows you to lock the ink colors to two contrasting colors that are generally colorblind friendly.
Most of the music in Splatoon sounds like pop or techno. They sound good, but playing online will make you quite tired of them pretty quickly. The sound effects all sound appropriate - right down to the sound it makes when you run someone over with a giant paint roller.
The single player experience is very fun, but not very long. It's barely a complaint though, as multiplayer is the main point of the game.
$59.99 on the Nintendo Wii U eShop and most retailers
Splatoon is a must have for any Wii U owner with their Wii U connected to the internet, and appropriate for all ages. It's a game that will keep you coming back for more.
10/10 StarsGameplay: 6/6
Amount of Content: 2/2