When you find yourself playing game after game to review, sometimes it’s really easy to become fixated on “review points” that the game passes you by without you ever stopping just to take a minute and enjoy the experience. However, as with any rule, there are always exceptions, and Splatoon 3 was one of them.

Going into Splatoon, my expectations were pretty baseline. I wasn’t dreading the experience, but I wasn’t excited about it either. If you’ve played Splatoon 1, you’ve played Splatoon 2, and therefore you’ve played Splatoon 3, right? Right! But also wrong.

When Splatoon first entered the scene, the Nintendo Switch was still pretty new, and people everywhere were still so enamoured by the console itself that Nintendo could have put any game on it, and people would have loved it. But they didn’t – they put Splatoon on it, a genuinely new concept when it was first released on the Wii U and an absolute delight on the Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon 3 Review - Everyone Is Getting Inked

But in the five years since, I think a lot of the initial excitement surrounding the Switch has worn off. Because of that, I didn’t know if the competitive painting / team-based shooting game would still be able to excite the same way it did half a decade ago. The answer is abso-freaking-lutely.

As I said before, if you’ve played either of the previous Splatoon games, then there isn’t too much to write about here. Nintendo didn’t try to reinvent the wheel with this title; instead, they focused on keeping the foundations and just giving the game a new coat of paint. The results are every bit as great as you could imagine.

As with the previous titles, Splatoon is once again set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited almost exclusively by cephalopod children called Inklings and Octolings. They spend their days competing with each other to see which team can cover the most ground in ink. That’s it; that’s everything you need to know.

Splatoon 3 Review - Everyone Is Getting Inked

Splatoon 3 is a team-based, competitive, third-person shooter that lets you use various weapons to ink the ground so you can swim through it as a Squid. Swimming through ink as a squid allows you to move faster, have a lower profile and recharge your ink supply. The different weapons all alter how the inking process works, and each weapon comes with a sub-weapon that allows you to throw bombs, set mines or detect enemies.

The more enemies you splatter with ink, the more of their territory you take over, and the more territory you control, the closer you are to winning. One of the things that have kept me returning to Splatoon 3 long after I should have been done with it is the different game modes.

The game comes with a pretty entertaining single-player mode where you take on the role of a special agent in training who is learning more about the world. It’s a fun way to learn some of the lore and master some of the skills needed before taking on other players.

Splatoon 3 Review - Everyone Is Getting Inked

Then there is the Turf War mode which is essentially the standard mode and will see your team attempt to ink more of the map than the enemy team can. Splat Zones and Tower control is a fun take on claiming and controlling spaces. Then Rainmaker is pretty much capturing the flag, but only if the flag was a super powerful god-like weapon assuring your team victory, and Clam Blitz is a mad dash to deposit clams in enemy goals.

These game modes are beautifully polished experiences that keep the adrenalin pumping from start to finish and make for some of the best shooting experiences to share with friends on a Friday night.

Splatoon 3

BOTTOM LINE

Splatoon 3 does very little to reinvent the franchise. Instead, it keeps the solid foundation set by the previous titles and focuses on making the tiny little things better and smoother.

PROS

It’s fun solo

It’s fun with friends

It’s fun with strangers

CONS

I don’t know enough friends with Nintendo Switch’s to indoctrinate into the magic Splatoon universe



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