Review: Splatoon2 on Nintendo Switch

Its been a couple of years since the first Splatoon title was released on the Wii and armed with the new Nintendo Switch hardware, Splatoon 2 takes the game...

Its been a couple of years since the first Splatoon title was released on the Wii and armed with the new Nintendo Switch hardware, Splatoon 2 takes the game to the next level.

Gameplay

In Splatoon 2, you play in third-person and move through the cheerfully coloured environments shooting colored ink which is your light hearted (kid friendly) version of a gun. This ink attacks the bad guys and helps you clear goals. The characters you play as are known as Inklings and with a tap of a button, you can switch between humanoid and squid form anytime you need. When in Squid form, you can swim through the ink you’ve layed down as a humanoid, this includes, and often requires, swimming up walls to reach areas not accessible by jumping. Its a creative navigation scheme and one that adds to the charm and uniqueness of the game.

The single player levels are fun and diverse, keeping your interest as you unlock stage after stage. Inevitably though you’ll want to take a trip straight down the town center and jump into multiplayer.

Its here in multi-player where the game really comes alive. You play in rounds of 4 vs 4 with your team trying to lay down and hold more ink than the opposition. Of course how you go about achieving that is the difficult question. Level matching seems very hit and miss, so you can often have experts playing against newbies which doesn’t end well.

At the end of each round you get points added towards your next level up. Things only really start getting interesting after level 4 where you unlock the ability to purchase weapons from the stores of the town. You can also purchase clothing which doesn’t just change the visual appearance of your character, but adds to their ability, like decreasing respawn time if you get rolled by a member of the opposing team.

New in Splatoon 2 is the ability to have not only standard, but sub and special weapons, including dual-wield pistols, the ability to perform dodge rolls, and even jetpacks and remember that special right bumper to launch your special attack which can be an ink bomb you launch into the air and when deployed can not only end an opponent, but does a very efficient job of spreading ink and winning territory. Ultimately multiplayer is tonnes of fun and will have you coming back time and time again.

Features

The game features plenty of different modes, some of which require reaching a certain level to unlock. After spending enough time in Turf War, you can then venture to League Battles which allows you to form teams with friends. In Splatoon 2, there’s a new game mode called Salmon Run where you buddy up with up to four players in co-op to tackle waves of Salmonids (the bad guys). 

The game features the ability to play multiplayer online or you can play locally if you and a friend both have a Switch and a copy of the game. If you look for games that support Amiibo, you’ll find love here, as the game allows you to store their custom looks and unlock additional content, and there’s post-release updates and Splatfest events are also planned.

  • Turf War – Team up in fierce 4-on-4 multiplayer battles to see which team can cover the most turf with ink.
  • Salmon Run – 2-4 players* can team up for co-op fun and defeat waves of enemy Salmonids.
  • New weapons – Dual wield the new Splat Dualies and avoid getting splatted with the new Dodge Roll move. Mainstays like the Splat Roller and Splat Charger have been remixed to include new gameplay mechanics, and all special weapons are brand-new.
  • Local and Online Multiplayer – In a first for the series, compete in local multiplayer Turf War battles*, whether in TV mode or on-the-go in handheld or tabletop modes. Online battles also make a return.
  • New ways to play – Play with the Joy-Con™ controllers or the Nintendo Switch™ Pro Controller (sold separately), both of which support motion controls for better aiming.
  • Fresh Updates – Similar to the Splatoon™ game for the Wii U™ console, updates will roll out post-launch, adding new content and in-game events.
  • Smart Device Support** – An upcoming smart-device application for the Nintendo Switch system will allow players to set play appointments with friends and teammates, as well as voice chat with friends during play sessions.
  • LAN Play – Up to 10 docked systems – eight players and two spectators – can connect via wired LAN (additional accessories required; sold separately). This feature allows players to create local Private Battle tournaments without the need for an internet connection. Local wireless play is perfect for your regular gaming get-togethers, but LAN Play is where it’s at when you want to organize a serious tournament.
  • Customize – Change your Inkling’s style with different weapons, headgear, clothes, and shoes. Gear isn’t just aesthetic; it offers different boosts in battles.
  • amiibo – Compatible with all Splatoon series amiibo figures. By tapping these amiibo, the figure’s character will appear in the game and befriend players. Befriend an amiibo character and they will remember favorited weapons, gear, outfits and option settings.

Graphics

The graphics in the game are a cartoon render and work incredibly well with the colourful, cheerful and playful aesthetic of the game. There’s plenty of great explosions and animations of moving objects (good and bad) that make the world feel alive. Sure its not photorealistic, but this really does showcase the power of a new generation handheld.

Even when docked and played on the TV, the game looks great and will easily amuse onlookers in your living room.

Price and Availability

The game is available right now available exclusively to the Nintendo Switch. Its available at retail outlets like JB HiFi, EB Games, but the cheapest we’ve found is at BigW for A$64.00 if you need the SD card version. Personally I’m all about digital downloads with games now, so head to the Nintendo Store on the Switch to grab the game for A$59.99.

More information at nintendo.com

Overall

This game is a bunch of fun and one that’ll provide dozens and dozens of hours of entertainment. I found myself regularly picking up to entertain while watching TV, so having the Switch on the coffee table is a great option I’d definitely recommend. There’s a bunch of checkpoints in levels that allow the start-stop casual-style gaming the Switch excels at. Naturally you can dock the Switch and use the joycons to control the game which puts the action on the big screen.

If you’re played through all the games you own on the Switch and are looking for hours of more fun, this casual, multiplayer gamer is a pretty great buy. The price tag is steep for what you get, better priced at around $40-50 it’d be a no brainer.

8.2
Splatoon2
  • Gameplay
    9
  • Graphics
    8.5
  • Value
    7
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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.