My Weekend With Splatoon 2
Over this past weekend, Nintendo launched the first “Global Testfire” event for the much-anticipated sequel to Splatoon. For the uninitiated, Splatoon was one of the diamonds in the rough on Nintendo’s flop of a console known as the Wii U. Splatoon was praised for its style, and smart take on making a “family friendly” version of the team-based shooter.
The player takes on the role of an Inkling, a child with the ability to transform into a squid. As an Inkling, you’ll compete in shootouts using paint guns in lieu of bullets. Kills aren’t your main objective in Splatoon, instead, you’ll fight to cover the map in your teams paint color, in the aptly named “Turf War” mode.
Naturally when the Nintendo Switch was announced Splatoon 2 was a no brainer. The Wii U’s sales were proof that one of Nintendo’s most inspired new IPs in years had only reached a very small audience. On the Nintendo Switch, Splatoon has a chance to reach an abundance of gamers who skipped out on Nintendo’s last console.
While I didn’t get to play a whole lot of Splatoon 2( maybe 35 to 40 matches), I got a good idea of what’s changed from the original. Gyro controls are back and feel as natural as ever. I spent the majority of my time playing with a Switch Pro Controller, on which Splatoon’s gyroscope aiming system feels just as good as it did on the Wii U. The few times I played in tablet mode felt just as intuitive, although you may feel a tad silly waving the whole unit around in order to aim. Gyro controls can be disabled from the menu for anyone looking for a more standard control method.
With the Public Testfire event, we also got our first look at the Splat Dualies, the new twin pistol style weapon coming to Splatoon 2. These little guns may be my new weapon of choice. Splat Dualies are all about speed, they fire fast and give you the ability to perform a dodge roll up to three times in succession. Unlike weapons focused on coverage, like the Splatroller, the Dualies seem focused on getting behind the enemy and taking them out quickly. The Dualies super ability allows you to temporarily hover on a sort of paint jet pack, covering the ground below you and firing off large blasts of paint from a bazooka-like weapon.
Splatoon 2 is fun in the same way its predecessor was. It’s stylish as hell, addictive, and safe for all ages. What I’ve seen so far feels less like a sequel and more like an update on the original, but that may be for the best. So many people missed out on the original that any major overhauls might be too much, while at the same time, it’s important to make those who owned the Wii U feel like they’re getting a new experience. Whether or not Splatoon 2 is worth your time and money is up to you, but you’ll certainly see me on the splattle field(see what I did there?).