The Splatoon Global Testfire just passed, and I was lucky enough to be available for all three segments (5/8 at 11PM-12AM ET, 5/9 7AM-8AM ET and 3PM-4PM ET). For those who don’t know, Splatoon is Nintendo’s next big upcoming game, featuring Inklings (think anthropomorphized squids) spraying their colored ink and fighting against Evil Octopus Oppressors. The Multiplayer mode, which was featured in the demo, pits teams against each other in a variety of game modes.
The demo opens with a short character customization screen, going through basic skin tone, eye color, and gender choices. This is followed by a tutorial segment, which teaches the controls (obviously). Motion control is the default, but there is also a standard shooter control scheme available. After the tutorial, you’re dropped into a simple menu which shows the four weapon choices: Splattershot (Assault Rifle Style), Splattershot Jr. (Sub Machine Gun Style), Splat Charger (Sniper Rifle Style), and Splat Roller (Melee style). I tried each weapon and found my favorite to be the Roller, which is powerful at close range and paints the most ground the quickest, which I will get into later.
Each weapon has its pros and cons, and they are all balanced fairly well. The Splattershot has moderate range and damage. The Splattershot Jr has shorter range but faster projectiles, so it does more damage per second. The Splat Charger, true to its name, has a charge attack which has immense range and is almost a certain kill. However, it requires a good amount of control and accuracy to use properly. The Splat Roller, my personal favorite, was tremendously powerful at close range, as well as having a “flick” move where you had short distance projectile doing a bit of damage. Each weapon set also has a special attack, which is unlocked after spreading a certain amount of ink. This leads into my next point.
The only game mode available was Turf War, which drops two teams of four into a map and pits them against each other. The premise is to paint more of the map than the other team. While simple at first, teamwork becomes a major factor in winning. You and your teammates must coordinate appropriately against the opposing squad. Each weapon has a different use for spreading ink. Since you’re shooting ink and not bullets, the projectiles have varying arcs and no gun has incredible range, and all guns leave a notable trail. The Splattershot and Jr both leave average width trails with not much range. The Charger leaves a long thin trail when fully charged, but can be used without charge for a shorter trail. The Roller leaves the widest spread, but also only paints just in front of the player character, like an actual paint roller. One of the most important things for a team is to balance the weapon choices, so everyone can optimize their damage and ink outputs.
Painting the stage is not only the key to victory, it also allows mobility. Your character can change into squid form at any time and dive into paint of your color. This both charges your ammunition supply and allows for an easy escape or a quick rescue, if need be. There is also a Super Jump feature which, by using the Wii U gamepad, allows you to jump to a teammate quickly. This can assist a teammate in need, or to quickly jump behind enemy lines and paint their base before they can catch on.
Overall, this demo was a fantastic show of progress for a game that has had me excited since the first time I saw it. If you have the money to purchase it on release, I highly recommend it. I, personally, will be on the line for the Midnight Release at Nintendo World on May 29th.