The world wanted something new and Nintendo answered numerous times this E3. Splatoon was one of the new titles being boasted on the E3 showfloor which carries even more weight as one of the newest intellectual properties for the company in a long time. Fortunately, as the world hoped, Splatoon is just as fantastic as the rest of Nintendo’s series. We got the chance to play several matches of the game at E3, and it has since won my heart as one of the best in show.
The Splatoon demonstration featured a 4 versus 4 match where two teams must compete to cover the most territory with their respective colored paint. In the style of a third-person shooter, instead of bullets, these characters spray paint all over the place in an attempt covering more ground, stealing ground, hiding, recovering, and traveling quickly. When other shooters make it a point to attack each other, Splatoon opens up its gameplay to change the way you think about traversing maps to achieve a victory.
Really, Splatoon‘s gameplay turned out to be surprisingly in depth as the core mechanics open up a lot of opportunities for unique play styles. Some people liked just running and gunning, blasting as much paint as then can everywhere right into the fray with the variety of powerups and items to switch this up here and there as well, such as bazookas, bombs, paint rollers, sniper rifles, and grenades. I found myself playing a lot more passively, seeking hidden routes and spots throughout the map where I imagined it would be less likely for the opposing team to steal my points. Whenever things were getting heated though, I was perfectly fine going in paintguns blazing.
Unlike your standard shooter, Splatoon makes use of the GamePad’s technical capabilities for a new way to aim with the gyroscope. Having played a lot of Nintendo Land, I’ve gotten fairly used to using the gyroscope on the GamePad, but fellow Twinfiknight Yamilia had a bit more trouble. Fortunately, you can turn off the motion controls on a whim if you’d like to opt for standard controls, using the right stick to aim if that’s more comfortable for you. In the long run though, aiming with the gyroscope feels a bit more practical and as you can have that extra hand to more freely focus on tapping the map to fast travel to other teammates whenever or anything else.
Oh, yes. The action in Splatoon is very fast, and it’s largely what makes it so much damn fun. In the event that you’ve been destroyed by someone else’s paint, you’ll have to wait to respawn but won’t have to wait to get back into the action. At any point, especially after you respawn at your respective base, it is especially useful to just tap on the icon of any one of your teammates and immediately fly on over to their location. Of course, you would have to use this with discretion as you might land right in middle of the battle zone and then die again right away if you’re not careful. Still, it’s an excellent way to streamline gameplay and keep the game both frantic and fun–no matter what.
Excellent gameplay aside, Splatoon is also a visual treat with very nice paint and splatter effects in every which direction. Add a charming art style and fast-paced action and you have a game with more than enough personality. All this bearing in mind that the game is still early in development. While nobody knows where the developers will take the game from there, I can only anticipate something even greater with different modes and options abound if this is what they have so far.
If you can expect anything from Nintendo, you can expect a great game. Splatoon is no exception, offering furiously fun and original gameplay that I couldn’t stop hearing people talk about E3, and all for a very good reason. You can look forward to playing Splatoon for yourself when it’s released sometime early 2015 for the Nintendo Wii U, bringing yet another fantastic title to the growing library of titles for the system. Wii U owners, bring an umbrella and rejoice.