‘Splatoon 3’ offers new content and welcome changes


A screenshot of the game, “Splatoon 3,” shows the environment players can expect to experience.

Craig McKinley, Staff Writer

Among the abundant quirkiness the “Splatoon” franchise is known for lies gameplay that’s hard to find anywhere outside the series. Its newest game “Splatoon 3” was released recently. Even though it shares much of its core with the two previous games, it also features welcome changes and new content. While “Splatoon 3” has some unusual theming and presentation, it also continues to offer something that was nonexistent before the first “Splatoon” game. 

In the “Splatoon” franchise, most characters are based on aquatic species. When the player creates their character, they choose from two half-humanoid, half-cephalopod species. Inklings are more squid-like, while an Octoling is more like an octopus, both of which can transform between humanoid and cephalopod. These two species, among many other aquatic-based characters, inhabit Splatsville. Here, the sports are played with water-gun-like weapons, among other everyday objects that can spread a paint-like substance (referred to as ‘ink’). 

How does “Splatoon 3” play? Making use of one of these weapons, the player spreads colored ink across the environment. They may then swim through their team’s ink by changing into their cephalopod form. This is useful because it reloads the player’s ink, hides the player, lets the player climb vertical surfaces, slip through grates and lets them travel faster.  

Spreading ink is particularly useful in “Splatoon 3’s” main mode, called “Turf War.” In this mode with two teams of four players, points are measured by which team’s ink is covering most of the ground after three minutes. Ink can also be used to temporarily take other players out of the game to stop them from scoring or defending, but contrary to many games of similar types, score isn’t directly dependent on this. 

While Turf War is often fun, “Splatoon 3” offers other ways to play as well. Other multiplayer modes with different goals are available once the player levels up a certain amount. While this means those who don’t care for Turf War still need to play it before they can try other game-types, I find most of these at-first-inaccessible modes to be more interesting. They’re also often more fair thanks to more specific goals that shouldn’t keep the player guessing as often. For those interested in playing alongside and not against their friends, a cooperative game called “Salmon Run” becomes available more quickly than most of the later-accessible modes. Players work together in Salmon Run to survive and collect “Golden Eggs,” which they’re rewarded in-game for collecting. 

Speaking of playing with friends, that’s a fantastic way to play, and something “Splatoon 3’s” online lobby makes simpler compared to past games. Almost every multiplayer mode can now be played with friends. Players can either group up before starting a game, or even spontaneously join a friend in certain situations. For those who wish to play locally rather than online, players can play together using wireless communication. “Splatoon 3” does not feature play between multiple users on the same device though, which means everyone who wishes to play would need a Nintendo Switch with a copy of the game, and those wishing to play online will also need to subscribe to Nintendo’s online service. 

For those more interested in playing offline by themselves, “Splatoon 3” offers a single-player mode with a new story and changes in gameplay. While this new story may not feel like it fits together that well, the gameplay in this mode feels more refined as progress is made. The story mode is played in a main environment that offers entrances to missions with specific goals, and completing these missions will help with traversal of the main environment. The player progresses the story and mode by completing certain significant objectives. There are also many smaller, usually optional missions that can be completed to help the player get around the main environment. While it’s important to note that clever players can skip many missions by planning their path, much of this mode’s fun comes from the gameplay, so I recommend taking the time to enjoy it. 

“Splatoon 3” is an exciting game! The first “Splatoon” game offered something fresh and new, while “Splatoon 3” continues to offer an updated form of the same fun. In particular, I welcome the new lobby, changes to playing with friends, updates to the gameplay of the non-Turf-War modes, new weapons and environments and the new story mode. While not all existing “Splatoon” players consider these changes meaningful enough to buy another game, any “Splatoon” game is unique enough to be worth trying for new players if given the chance.