Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

From the moment I first experienced the franchise, I’ve considered myself an avid fan of Splatoon. The first entry on the Wii U is undoubtedly my most-played title on the system. In fact, because Wii U online play is still free, I find myself coming back to classic Turf War every now and then despite owning a Switch.

With all that in mind, you can bet your gosh darned beard I was tickled pink when I received a copy of Splatoon 2 for my 20th birthday. After years of not purchasing it due to pure negligence, I was granted with the opportunity to experience the flashy sequel to one of my favorite Nintendo franchises of all time. How flippin’ cool is that?

Now that I’ve had half a semester of college to experience the squid-based combat all over again, I’m here to report Splatoon 2 holds up to the pristine standard set by its predecessor. Does my glowing appraisal signal that you should pick up a copy right here and now? I guess you’d better read my review to find out, kiddos.

Gameplay

If you’ve played the original Splatoon, you’ll know exactly what to expect going into Splatoon 2. This sequel takes the family-friendly, third-person shooting formula that worked so well and serves up even more of it.

For the newcomers among us, the premise is pretty simple. The weapons in Splatoon fire not bullets but colored ink. You’ll spend the vast majority of your playtime shooting said ink at opponents to eliminate them or spraying the ground to accrue more “turf.” Treading in the opposition’s ink is harmful to your health.

Adding to the fun are sub-weapons and specials. Sub-weapons, ranging from bombs to sprinklers, consume more of your ink reserve in exchange for dealing more damage. Specials, which are charged up by covering turf, will wipe the proverbial floor with your fellow inklings if you time ‘em just right.

Shooting isn’t all you’ll do, though. Inklings, the squid-kid hybrids proudly adorning the box art, possess the unique ability to swim through ink plastered on the various vertical and horizontal surfaces making up a given map. Of course, as I established, you can only wade through ink of your own color.

Even refilling your ink takes advantages of the inklings’ swimming ability. Unlike most shooters, where reloading is as simple as pressing a button and waiting out an animation, Splatoon asks the players to dip into ink until to reacquire the oh-so valuable resource. You don’t even have to remain stationary during this process.

With the underlying mechanics out of the way, the question remains: What’s will you actually do in Splatoon 2? Well, the main hook is the online multiplayer, which overs up a plethora of modes for your playing pleasure.

Turf War sees two teams competing to cover as much of the map as possible in their own ink before the 3-minute timer hits zero. This is fantastic introductory mode that stays fun regardless of your skill level.

Ranked battles, which group you with players of similar skill level, encompass three modes: Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. In Splat Zones, your goal is to maintain total ink coverage of a designated plot of the map longer than the other team. In Tower Control, you have to ride a moving tower from one end of the map to the other. In Rainmaker, you must haul the titular Rainmaker weapon to the enemy’s base.