We had go on the Splatoon multiplayer and it was encouraging stuff
Splatoon is the project of a younger team of devs from within Nintendo and the colour and exuberance of the E3 trailer really showed off a precociousness that feels distinctly new gen from the Big N. No shameless recycling of old IPs here, something new and something fresh. Not to mention something that is genuinely different to the plethora of samey shooters around.
All whilst holding onto the broad fun-centric values of Nintendo, this game has you playing as shape-shifting Inkling squid people spraying intensely vibrant ink around. The focus of the game becomes less about gunning down your opponents (although you do get points for hits on others) and more about covering the map with your colour.
Two teams of four armed with paint guns fight it out over the map by liberally spraying it with their coloured ink. While on face value this concept seems a bit sterile Splatoon adds a simple yet crazy twist that adds a fun strategy element. By hitting the left trigger your bulbous headed character turns into a squid that can swim through their team’s colour, hiding from the enemy.as they travel. You can use this mechanic to quickly get a sneak shot on an enemy and your ink will also let you magically defy physics by letting you swim up a sheer surface to get a vantage point.
All this handles superbly and is beautifully fluid. From the get-go the action is explosive and hectic enough to compete with your CoDs etc while giving you something than can appeal to a much wider audience. By making the game more about just shooting paint and less about shooting specifically at a target Splatoon lets less skilled players make a valid team contribution.
Add in bonus weapons such as ink rollers, grenades and bazookas and the super-jump obtained via the Wii U gamepad and the game has fun gameplay twists to explore.
The use of the gyroscope on the Wii U gamepad takes some mastering and can get a bit much when you’re swamped by opponents. The controls are counterintuitive to the instinctive twitch urge to aim with the second stick but we liked how this makes you play a bit physically and it does level things a little.
Splatoon did a great job of getting us hooked. We haven’t seen the single player but the multiplayer is very competently done. If the finished game comes with enough variety and depth to compliment the pleasingly frenzied PVP, Splatoon could lead Nintendo down new roads away from Mario World and Hyrule into the world of modern third person shooters.