The ink hits the fan with Nintendo’s Splatoon 2, bringing back the colorful shooter for a revamped single-player campaign and more impressive multiplayer action. Does the sequel stand out as another Nintendo Switch success, or is it more of the same? Check out my full review to find out!
Nintendo’s second foray into the world of Splatoon makes for another fun adventure that combines familiar mechanics with unique twists. If you have played the first game, many things should be instantly familiar. It’s a shooter game, but most definitely Nintendo’s unique take on the genre.
Rather than shooting bullets at each other, you’re slinging large dollops of colored ink around the map. More than taking out enemies, however, ink is what helps you traverse the world. Your character moves faster in your own color ink, and significantly slower in an enemy's. Moreso, you can transform into a squid and swim your way through maps, up walls, and around obstacles.
In a lot of ways, how you maneuver around the map is just as important as how well you shoot and the power-ups you find along the way. It’s the ultimate combination of platformer and shooter, featuring a stunning world/character design.
I don’t think I can stress this enough, as Splatoon 2 (so far anyway) is easily one of the best looking games the Switch has to offer. Hitting 1080p resolution and a smooth 60 frames per second while docked, it’s hard to deny how impressive the game looks. Even in handheld mode (which is my primary mode of playing) Splatoon 2 runs incredibly smooth and the diverse color palette stands out.
The art style blends human aesthetic with squid based ideas in a world all about pop culture. As you begin the game, it’s clear that looking “fresh” and unique is a primary element of the game’s world which plays into the story/collectible elements as well. Tracking down XP/points in order to buy new outfits is surprisingly rewarding and the main reason I find myself working through multiplayer match after match.
The single-player story this time around starts off as Callie, the pop star singer from the first game, has vanished and it’s up to you to track her down. You’ll embark on 32 missions spread across five different ‘worlds’, all of which consist of you rescuing a trapped zapfish. Each level brings its own unique aspects and weapons to the table, and once you rescue all the necessary zapfish in a world, you unlock the big boss battle.
The hub-worlds add to the game beyond the missions as well. Most of the time, you’ll have to do some serious exploring just to even FIND the entrance to the next level. There are secrets littered throughout and puzzles to solve; a neat experience in what is essentially just supposed to be a general staging area between levels
By and large, the goals of each mission is the same, and boss battles (while incredible looking) boil down to figuring out the right routine to take them down. After a bit, things do seem to be a little tedious as each mission boils down to essentially the same goal. Each level is unique enough to still be a bunch of fun to play through, but it did reach that point near the end where I felt like I was playing through simply to finish/grind rather than genuine interest.
The big draw, of course, is the multiplayer which brings back all the things you loved from the first game. New weapons and modes spice things up, but the frenetic fun of splatting ink all over the place with your friends and others online is a lot of fun.
It’s too bad then that Nintendo’s online is still such a strange mess on the Switch. I mean...it’s rough. There’s no if, ands, or buts about the fact that the online component of the Switch is far from ideal. Couple that with the bizarre decision to tie online chat through a smartphone app, where you have to loop it through your phone, a headset, and the console. I could go on about the problems inherent with this setup, but frankly, it’s not Splatoon 2’s fault. That said, it’s tough fully enjoy the experience when you feel like you’re constantly fighting the online system.
In many ways, Splatoon 2 feels like a highly polished version of the first game on the Wii U, and upgrade of sorts. This might turn some people away, but frankly I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s much like how every new Call of Duty, or Battlefield, game that comes out improves upon the last one (or tries to).
Another Great Addition to the Switch Line-Up
Even minor changes/improvements can have a big impact and Splatoon 2 feels refined to a ridiculous degree. From the level design, the feel of the weapons, and impressive visuals, everything about the game feels like a solid step up (amazing considering the first Splatoon was already impressive).