By Kimari Rennis
SPLAT! Splatoon 2, the colorful, messy, yet fashionable series has returned, this time on the Nintendo Switch. The fast-paced game became available on Friday complete with its feisty little cephalopods wielding new ink-spreading weapons and battles galore for eager fans. So grab your ink rollers and bombs because many memorable showdowns await you – even though I might not be part of those showdowns.
Splatoon fans are once again introduced to story-filled single player campaign mode. And the story goes like this: After Callie — from the almost inseparable sibling duo of Callie and Marie — goes missing, Marie recruits your inkling to stop and infiltrate the Octatarian’s headquarters. This mission is put in motion in hopes of retrieving the stolen Great Zapfish. He’s responsible for powering all of Inkopolis — and for finding out what happened to Callie.
When you stray away from the campaign, there is more fun to be uncovered online. Online multiplayer is where Splatoon shows its true inky colors. Four versus four player showdowns occur and players are matched with those around your level of expertise. You and your team dominate the battlefield with your assigned color. As you level up from playing online, you earn money to buy new messy weapons and clothing that not only give you advantages in battle, but make you look fresh and stylish. In Ranked battles, this fun game of paintball becomes more serious. No mercy is given as ink flies, and Inklings fight to rise up the ranks to join and create leagues. League battles, in the end, are organized team fights. You must be worthy and skilled to join and make leagues. Splatoon 2 can quickly turn from new players messing around to competitive matches where players do things with ink we never thought were possible.
The graphics and physics for Splatoon 2 are remarkable when you take the relatively smaller things into consideration. While you are showing off your sick new apparel, moving down inking opponents, and painting the town your color, you can see faint trails left behind by squids speeding around to get the upper hand on opponents. The glossy look of the excessive amounts of ink on the floor really adds to the aesthetic of each themed crash course battleground. Ink slowly running down the battleground walls. It’s all a messy wonder.
The same gloss is visible for your inklings’ hairstyles as you customize them with different haircuts, skin color and even clothing. Who knew tentacles could be put in such a cute bun? With over hundreds of clothing items to buy, inklings can look as if they are ready for a casual business meeting then change to look as if they are already prepared for massive wars. No inkling is the same: it is all up to the player to decide how their inkling performs in combat and how they want to appear.
Although I have missed the hype train for both Splatoon games, I can totally see why this game is so popular and loved. Splatoon 2 is a lovely third person shooter, where inklings alike engage each other in friendly, competitive, and even stressful battles where every drop of ink determines whether you win or lose. So use it wisely.
Yet Splatoon 2 just isn’t my cup of tea. This is even hard for me to believe but strangely enough, I find the game to be tedious. Keeping track of where enemies are, how much of your team’s color is down, how much ink you have left, and making flexible decisions taking all that into account is too much to take in all at once. Not to mention the lack of communication established between you and your team besides the barren and pre-made audio of “This way!” and “Booyah.”
I don’t dislike Splatoon, but I can never see myself dedicating many hours (as I usually do) to consistently play and compete in this game. I’m all for colorful, hectic games like this, but oddly, this time around I lack interest. I can already feel the wrath of many Splatoon enthusiasts bearing down and shunning me for my lack of knowledge for the lore and for the main characters. I’m terrified, but that’s just how I feel. I appreciate the fact that this game can be seen as wonderful in innumerable ways. And with time, I may grow to adore this game.
There’s way more to come for Splatoon 2 with events and Splatfests in the near future. With what Splatoon 2 has to offer now, it’s almost guaranteed that this game will be as successful as the first Splatoon. Grab a few friends, compete in the ranks and ink everything to your heart’s content.
I just might not be there with you.
Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern/writer, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.