An energetic dive into the uncharted Splatlands!
The long-awaited release of Splatoon 3 is finally upon us! With it undoubtedly follows an infectiously upbeat and enthusiastic atmosphere that defines each entry in the series as a first-party Nintendo title. Splatoon 3 holds all of the childlike goofiness that Nintendo is famous for, yet remains well-suited to the whims of experienced players who like to employ creative inking and splatting techniques when taking to the turf.
As a casual player myself, this review will focus more heavily on the initial experience for those who prefer exciting yet relatively low-stakes Inkling and Octoling face-offs, and what truly marks Splatoon 3 as an innovation of its previous entries.
Splatoon 3’s stunningly creative visuals are an improvement on its predecessors. Splatsville carries much of the friendly yet mischievous charm that Inkopolis was characterised by, but adds the subtle touches of rebellious spirit in the city’s layout, that carries through to the arid areas of the Splatlands present in the game’s campaign.
Splatoon as a series refuses to take itself too seriously; Nintendo has once again reinforced that feeling for players in the dynamic design of the user interface, and various additional customisation options, such as lockers, and the addition of “Splashtags.”
As well as this, the game provides us with even more unique Splatoon personality in the new trio of idols that grace the Splatlands - Frye, Shiver, and Big Man - as well as the differing shops and owners in which the player can select various apparel and equipment for heated battles and their personalisable locker. Each merchant has entertaining dialogue and characteristics even for the brief interactions that the player commonly has with them - and the simple, yet surprisingly gripping, Tableturf "Card Battle" mode allows head-to-head battles of wit with them too!
Our three lively hosts of the Anarchy Cast, Deep Cut, also follow the trend within the series of playing a role in Splatoon 3’s single-player campaign mode, led by the previous Captain Cuttlefish in its newest rendition. The game’s story mode remains faithful to Nintendo’s classic structure but investigates the undiscovered destination of the Splatlands, as well as resolving previously established plotlines and character arcs which some players may forget are integral to Splatoon’s surprisingly rich lore.
The story mode maintains a feeling of mild open-world exploration, and is flexible when it comes to player choice. Depending on the number of Power Eggs you rack up, you can, if your heart desires, skip certain levels entirely! Stacking up on Sardinium also enables upgrades to Hero Gear throughout the campaign - you can be rewarded with boosting both your weakest and strongest areas if the time is taken to discover more about Alterna, our mysterious setting.
The predominant draw of the series ‘Turf War’ returns with a new selectable base launch functionality, allowing for fresh and experienced players alike to discover and further their own strategies. The emergence of new unique Splatfest themes also encourages community spirit and the innovative Tricolor mode, in which three teams of players compete for the win, is a fun twist on the typical festive and enthralling event. Splatoon 2’s Normal and Pro Splatfest modes also make a comeback in the form of Open and Pro battles, which only exaggerates the improved return to form that Nintendo appears to promote with Splatoon 3.
Previously dubbed Ranked battles are now Anarchy Battles in Splatoon 3, finally satisfying veterans with the ability to join friends via the Open option for particularly intense face-offs to climb the ranks together. The option for Series Anarchy battles continues to keep players engaged with the repeated opportunities for large point bounties when scoring five wins before three losses.
Though I’ve suffered more losses than wins, the new Anarchy Battle Series mode is my most frequently played mode thus far. It makes winning or losing more impactful, which provides the impetus to experiment with different play styles, strategies, team formations and weapon choices.
Splatoon 3 is a refreshing yet true-to-form reflection of the franchise in its entirety. Intentionally designed by Nintendo to innovate on the first two games, Splatoon 3 retains the youthful and stylish presentation while also adding splashes of novelty to interest returning players. If you’re a long time fan of the series or just love battling to have a little fun alone or with friends, definitely throw this game into your basket!
Where to Buy
My Nintendo Store
Check out Pawl S. Lax's review of Splatoon 3 here: https://nintendoplayers.uk/news/review-splatoon-3
Written by Katie Miles
Edited by Mark McAllister, Jen Griffiths and Paul L. Russell
Graphic by Paul L. Russell