Splatoon has a simple but novel premise: players are humans who can turn into squids and back, who use an array of weapons filled with colorful ink in order to dominate as much of a map’s territory as possible. The video above demonstrates what singleplayer looks like in the game.
The game is, at heart, a multiplayer third-person shooter, with unlockables, perks, and load-outs tied to progression, and even has kill-streak rewards in the form of weapons, which allow players who excel or stay alive long enough to unlock (wholesome) carnage. Each of Splatoon‘s weapons have a sub slot and a special slot, with the sub slot accepting grenades, or sometimes a temporary shield, and the specials ranging from a limited-ammo rocket launcher to the ability to summon paint tornadoes.
Unfortunately, at the moment, once players pick a load-out, they can’t change it mid-match. What’s worse is that players can’t see what their teammates have picked, meaning that everyone could potentially pick the same weapon, resulting in significant tactical problems. A representative for Nintendo has said that fixing this is not a priority “at this time”.
Nintendo hasn’t shared any information about split-screen play, either, and say they are focusing on the Gamepad at the moment, so we don’t know yet whether that functionality will be included in the final game.
But let’s get into the gameplay modes available for the online multiplayer.
Turf War is the 4v4 mode that Nintendo have been demonstrating since last year. In this mode, two opposing teams must ink as much territory as possible in their own color, while a countdown clock ticks away. Whoever has covered the most ground when the clock strikes zero wins. Splatoon does track kills and deaths, but it’s about who covers the most territory, not a skill-based ratio. You can watch a match of Turf War above.
A ranked battle mode called Splat Zones has been newly revealed. Here, players must paint a small square at the center of the map in their color in order to claim it, after which a team timer begins counting down. All a team has to do after that is hold onto it for long enough. The “zone” to be captured is static, which is a design decision that emphasizes strategy and skill instead of luck.
This mode, gameplay of which you can watch above, will open up after players reach rank 10 in normal multiplayer. Players will begin at a default rank (C-), and will be rewarded by the ranking system for continued success.
Nintendo is supposed to launch Splatoon for the Wii U some time this May. We’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, check out the new screenshots below, and for even more images and clips of the game, have a gander at our previous update.