In 2015 when Nintendo launched an original IP about colourful kid-squids splatting in turf wars, gamers were blown away by the exciting new dynamic on the shooter genre. And then, three years later, Nintendo managed to capture lightning in a bottle twice with its successor. Splatoon 2 takes the pre-established game mechanics in Splatoon and returns with the familiar multiplayer game modes. It takes what fans loved in Splatoon and expands on it and more, arriving with; a fresh single-player campaign, new stages and game modes, new hairstyles, gear and weapons.
The sequel also surprises us with a brand new zombie co-op mode named ‘Salmon Run’, where a team of players must outlast three enemy waves of increasing difficulty whilst collecting as many golden eggs as possible. The mode is a nice change of pace, a new kind of chaos from Turf Wars, and provides something extra for Splatoon veterans that are looking for more in their game.
Despite the freshness of this mode, there is an awkward, and sometimes even frustrating, element in Salmon Run: it is only available to play at certain times on certain days. Fans have questioned this decision—after all, Salmon Run is a lot of fun— and in response game designer Jordan Amaro answered, ‘We made this game. And we’re pretty confident about how this game should be enjoyed.’. Truthfully, the limited availability does not bother me as much as I would have thought. When it is available, I know to make the most of my time and enjoy it.
Turf War is for casual play in multiplayer, a four-a-side match where the goal is to ink as much ground as possible, the winning team being decided by the percentage coverage of the map. There is a vast catalogue of weapon types, each offering a different play style to choose from, such as agile twin pistols and rapid-fire assault rifles to heavy-duty splattling guns and devastating rollers.Turf War is the perfect training grounds where experimenting with different types of weapons is encouraged, there being no real consequence if your choice of weapon throws the match as you cannot fall down a grade unlike in Ranked and League Battles. So hey, you work that sniper rifle until you’re ready to pop those head-shots!
Ranked Battles is a step up into competitive play, with matches and stages that come in four types, rotating on two-hour intervals;
• Tower Control – Your objective is to move the payload, a moving tower, through the map along a series of three checkpoints into the enemy’s base.
• Splat Zones – A king of the hill match type. To win your team must ink and remain in control of the ink zones until the counter/timer runs out.
• Rain Maker – Fight for control of the grenade launcher that is the Rain Maker, and leg it to the opposite team’s podium whilst your teammates protect you like the president.
• Clam Blitz – The newest mode to arrive in Ranked Battles, and what I like to dub as ‘The Football Mode’. Collect as many clams scattered about the map as you can, use the super clam to crack open the enemy’s goal and slam dunk them in.
The single-player campaign follows the same formula as Splatoon’s down to the same mission objective: save the Zapfish stolen by the Octolings! There is, however, a distinct difference that adds a thread of mystery. Beloved squid sister, Carrie has gone missing, and you must team up with her sister Marie to find her. The single player campaign is a fun and chilled to play through, serving so what as an introduction to the variety of weapon types and game styles available to you. Even after you’ve completed the campaign, you haven’t really completed the campaign. You are invited back to replay through the levels once again, including the boss levels, only this time, you use a single weapon type. Should you raise to this challenge, you are rewarded with the hero’s weapon skin of that weapon to take into multiplayer.
The style and presentation of the game is top-notch and just as cool as it was in the first game. The music follows likewise, though I must admit that there were some tracks that weren’t as memorable as the soundtrack in Splatoon. A major feature is the vast customisation of gear in the form of headgear, clothing and shoes, all with stat slots that can be unlocked through battles to give you buffs in matches.
Splatoon was one of Nintendo’s first IP’s to receive continued support and updates after it’s release, and Splatoon 2 has kept to that tradition. There are weekly, or bi-weekly, updates bringing in new weapons and sometimes stages. The stand out being that every month or so, there is a special event called ‘Splatfest’, which is where you choose between two teams of opposing concepts/ideas and then duke it out. Once the Splatfest is over, the numbers of participants and matches won are tallied up to decide the superior team.
Splatoon 2 positively oozes with style. Fantastic, fast-paced, with enticing battles and new modes to keep both old and new fans happy, Splatoon 2 is irresistible, and a must-have on Switch.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.