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Review : Splatoon (WiiU)

sp1It’s not often that you come across a game that truly feels unique. Splatoon is definitely one of those games! Set in some sort of post apocalyptic world where everyone is basically a squid/cat person and can swim around in ink, Splatoon is a vivid and playful world.

There’s really not that much too this game when it comes down to it. You’re a squid person, which frankly I think look more like cats, and spend your time battling other squid people in teams of four with paintball style weapons in various stages in the city. The team with the most ink on the course wins! There’s also a small single player campaign but I think most people could play the game quite happily without ever bothering to go down that suspicious manhole.
You start with regular battles and are thrown in at the deep end as a level one with only a small tutorial to get you going. As I’m usually a ps4 gamer initially I kept finding myself confused and staring either at the ground or the sky. Honestly I swap positions so often while gaming that it took a bit of training to realize that I had to use the motion sensor in the controller to get my view right. You feel a bit silly trying to shoot paint at someone only to miss completely but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it – or if you’re me just press the ‘y’ button every time you move position.
The regular battles are a special kind of frantic craziness. There’s people with all sorts of weapons and specials and there’s brightlysp2 coloured paint everywhere with squids popping up out of nowhere. This fact makes me seriously happy, the colours of ink used are all super bright and contrast with the other teams. It’s super easy to tell what’s yours and what’s not. At its most basic level Splatoon recognize that bright colours, guns and squid-ing around are super fun and capture people’s interest immediately.

When the music feels like that old Rugrats game you played as a child you know you’re onto a good thing. It didn’t take long for me to get good and pack on the levels, you can start to get cooler gear at level four and what’s available improves the fresher, sorry, better you get. The single player campaign is marginally interesting for some of the skills it forces you to develop, but the battles stages are what this games is really about and the fact that you can play for hours over the same levels really shows you how addictive and well executed this game is. Every battle feels different, different players, different tactics, whole new experience. As I’ve played I’ve seen the community hit the max level (20 right now) but new courses and weapons continue to be released and assuming the content continues players should stick around. Even if they don’t p the content I honestly can’t see myself tiring of it any time soon.

sp3What I did get sick of pretty damn quickly though was the news and lackluster banter between the presenters, Callie and Marie (get it? Callimari! Ba-boom-chi). At any time only two stages will be open for ranked or regular battle and the news announces which they will be. Honestly if I get told to ‘stay freeeeesh’ one more time I think I will lose it. You can speed them up but can’t stop their whiney voices and it was a serious misstep to force players to listen to their babble every damn time you play.

There’s also ranked battles for those sick of the regular battles or wanting to be graded against other players. Where in regular battles it’s cover the most area in paint as possible and there’s a crazy energy with everyone everywhere and a map full of bright colours that are constantly changing, the ranked battles are a fight for a rectangle space in the middle of the map. Whoever holds that square for the longest wins. That’s it. Honestly it lost some of the sheer joy of playing when it’s a small space because it encourages all the things I dislike in games, camping, higher levels with better gear dominating because of their upgrades and not skill and it all feels a bit pointless in the end because it’s hard to control the whole of that small place with 4 people on each team always hovering.

My style of play was tactical, and I liked that I could be. I was all about covering the most ground, sneaking kills and only when sp4necessary and keeping an eye on the map to mop up problem areas. I get a bit obsessive in this kind of game and like to cover the area completely in my colour. No messy splotches for me! To that extent I like using the roller but for frantic fun and a bit of that third person shooter fun I favoured the rapid fire, lighter machine gun weapons. There’s all the sorts of weapons you could ask for based on your style of play and wackier ones like the ink brush or specials like the inkzooka or ink mine.

Splatoon is a wicked game that lives up to its promise and is fun and playable for gamers of any ages. Get on it!

Review by Zahra Emily

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