Perhaps the best game on the system
Wii U9.30
Overall 9.30

It feels fresh, hip and cool. It's not often that you get a game whose breezy simplicity, belies its many layers of depth. Splatoon has it all, bombastic cheering, chest thumping moments and abject misery when you're losing to a team of crack shot Japanese veterans.

So lets get the easy part out of the way, there is a single player game that is about 8-10 hours long. It's much more in depth than I was expecting and really is a full single player mode. It often imitates Mario Galaxy, with platforming and, loose planetoid structures. With some more tweaks and TLC, with the usual TPS candy like story and cutscenes this could have been a very good single player game. That potential exists in Splatoons future titles though, not this one.

As a single player game Splatoon is adequate. Chances are you wont give a flying **** about that though, once you enter the arena of stupendous fun - that's the multiplayer.

I am not an online gamer, I generally do not enjoy, partake or particularly like shooting people online. And yet, like a needy, shy Renee Zellweger, Splatoon had me at hello.

Were you ever a kid? Do you still remember it? Cowboys and Indians? Cops and Robbers? Paintball and Lasertag? Splatoon is like a homage to adult gamers childhoods, when you enter that bright, colourful and meticulously designed environment and chaos ensues, it's like the feeling of playing Mario Galaxy, when that huge smile like grin spreads across your face and you feel like a kid again.

At first the game, whilst not stingy or sparse, was a little lacking in content. Since then Nintendo's genius, gradual drip feed of (free) updates has kept me coming back for more on a daily basis.

Most of the initial updates were already on the disc and you merely gained access to use them when the servers updated. Of the updates that had to be downloaded, everything was downloaded and installed seamlessly without needed any input from me as a player. As others have said the new maps are a welcome change from the old ones, changing the very nature of the gameplay itself.

Splatoons problems are few and mostly player related. If we were to look at the games flaws it would start with the inability to back out of match once you confirm you want to play. And you cannot change equipment between matches without quitting back out to the lobby. With practice I have found that if you do this fast enough you can indeed rejoin the same group. The players however are another thing.

Since the game has been out quite some time I fear the game may prove to be a harsh trial of fire for newcomers. Some online gamers are experts are this, sometimes unbelievably good at times and so you need experience, tenacity and the weapons(some of which take ages to unlock) to beat them.

Thankfully the very nature of Splatoon means that you can enjoy it on a base level regardless of (splatting) other enemies. The main turf war is a simple stroke of genius. Because you are painting the environment, there is no down time, you are always doing something, always inking the area in between showdowns between you and the enemy. There are also weapons which are more friendly to those that can't aim. You can actually use some of the weapons like melee weapons, a sword or a giant hammer for instance.

Going even deeper you can buy and equip various clothing that gives you different enhancements - and there are a litany of abilities to mix and match. A 30 opening salvo where you abilities are boosted for instance, or a last 30 seconds where your ink drains slower. An invisible jump, a ninja squid where you can swim unseen, as well as all the speed and offensive enhancements.

There are ranked battles of course, you can only play these when you are over level 10 and these battles change up the formula drastically. In Splat Zones you have to ink and hold a specific area on the map. Then there is tower control which is one of the most fun online experiences I have ever had, where you ride a moving tower to the endgoal. Rainmaker mode is where you have to transport a super powerful weapon to a specific point on the map. Initially a little confusing once you practice it becomes very fun too.

In terms of matchmaking, you can either just jump in to join a friend online, or start a squad and play in teams of 2 (in a match of 4 vs 4) or a 4 man squad vs other 4 man squads.

I haven't really structured or planned this review so I'm not quite sure how to sum up.

In summary, this is perhaps THE most fun I've had on Wii U. This is Nintendo at its creative best and the freshest its been in years. With superb mechanics, flexible and responsive controls, catchy chiptunes, whizzing chaos and frenetic battles.

Forget about all your other Wii U games. Those are great and all but Splatoon is where it's at. Splatoon should be a genuine phenomenon now and I'd begrudged that more people don't get to experience it and realise why.
Posted by gamingeek Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:50:26
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Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:59:20
I forgot to mention, you can create private battles with 8 friends playing together and password protect it too.
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:11:31
On the weapons there is a slight imbalance where heavy rollers can deliver far ranging one hit death blows. Which can feel very cheap. If that pisses you off you can change to a heavy weapon yourself, with better range.

There is also a great variety in weapons with variants on machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles and more. With some really inventive weapons and tweaks that no one else has really ever done. The slosher for example that is like throwing buckets of paint, or blasters which explode in mid-air. Seeking grenades which are like homing torpedos.
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:40:44
Wow a review!!! Sweet, great job. Well I get to play this weekend so are we doing a game night. Tonight from 6-9 I can play. Will the test fire allow us to join parties?
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:45:45
Vader the last test fire didn't allow it because review copies were already sent out before the last test fire.

They were on different servers.
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:13:05
And just as I post this review I get killed 6 times in a row by an Octobrush Japanese user despite shooting him virtually point blank in the face several times with my aerospray. Fucking game!

Vader, no idea if testfire guys can mix with the rest of us. I can't play tonight but maybe the weekend and the usual splathour too. When you say 6-9 you mean 18:00 - 21:00 UTC or your local time?
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 17:15:37
I should point out, when you're winning, you'll love the game, when you're losing you'll hate it.

There are a few cheap things which are annoying me, newbies will be caught out by the insta-death super jumps. When you super jump your landing position is marked on the map, so people can just position and kill you. So you need to jump much further back and cautiously make your way forward. Or get the Stealth super jump equipment.

The imbalance in the brushes and rollers, being so much more powerful and requiring virtually no aiming skill pisses me off. Maybe I should try them?
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:54:26
You forgot to mention that this game is for babies who can't handle a man's game like Gears Of War...
Sat, 22 Aug 2015 02:40:44
GASP a GG review! Praise Kraken. Good stuff. I actually feel like the hardest is not when you're a newbie because there are lots of newbies playing turf war, but when they introduce new shit and the people with the best/cheapest equipment have a huge advantage because their equipment is less affected by being having to deal with a new map or strategy.

No way is the campaign 8-10 hours, though. Nyaa

Sat, 22 Aug 2015 07:33:50
I really need to play the campaign again. No time to do any gaming lately.

I disagree with the notion of hating it when you lose though, I still enjoy it, but that's my attitude about a lot of things (bowling, darts, croquet). I just enjoy the actions of doing it and don;t really care about the final outcome.

And yes, I play croquet, but only socially.
Sat, 22 Aug 2015 11:53:44
I guess what I'm trying to get across is that the actual players are the games flaws. If you're paired with a massive bunch of douches who camp, or constantly jump, or endlessly suction bomb in tower control for instance, it gets aggravating. I recently discovered that in turf wars you're scored on how much you ink, it doesn't matter how many you kill or how much you die.
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