When Splatoon was announced at E3 last year, I know I wasn’t the only one who was taken by surprise. For one, it’s a new IP from Nintendo, something we should all get excited about. Even more impressive is its fresh take on the shooter genre, introducing new gameplay mechanics like spreading and swimming through ink while playing as squid-humanoid hybrids called Inklings. So when given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to write the guide for Splatoon.

Splatoon arena screenshot

Early during the project we travelled to Nintendo for an intensive three-day multiplayer session. Prior to our arrival, a conference room at Nintendo of America HQ was transformed into an eight-station arena, ready to accommodate our chaotic Ink battles. All we had to do was setup our gear and start playing. The other seats were filled by some of Nintendo’s most experienced Splatoon testers. We definitely took our lumps during the first few rounds, continuously getting squished by rollers and sniped by chargers. But we eventually got the hang of it and began to hold our own.

Splatoon weapon selection screen

Weapon selection is huge in Splatoon, and there’s no shortage of options. After a few rounds of using the rapid-firing Splattershot Jr., I quickly gravitated to the roller-based weapons, particularly during Turf War battles. Rollers are great for spreading ink and rolling over opponents. These weapons can also be swung to smack enemies or fling ink over wide areas. But as I soon discovered, rollers are more effective on some maps than others. In search for a more versatile weapon, I eventually settled on the Splattershot Pro. Although it consumes ink at a high rate, the Splattershot Pro benefits from high damage output and an impressive range, making it my favorite go-to weapon. Plus, the Splattershot Pro comes with the Inkstrike special, a missile which drops a devastating tornado of ink on any spot you desire-target a location using the GamePad’s map.

Splatoon gear screenshot

Beyond weapon selection, choosing the right clothes, shoes, and headgear can also make a huge difference. Early on, I was getting splatted often. So I adjusted my gear accordingly, selecting clothing, shoes, and headgear with the Defense Up main ability. Defense Up reduces damage from all incoming attacks. When stacked across my clothing, shoes, and headgear, the three Defense Up abilities combined to make me a much harder target to drop. This gave me just enough time to turn the tables on my attacker, even if they had the jump on me. Defense Up is just one of the many abilities linked to the various clothing, shoes, and headgear items. As I became more confident, I adjusted my loadout to include the Ink Saver (Main) ability to help reduce the ink consumption of my thirsty Splattershot Pro. Ink Resistance Up also came in handy, reducing the damage and movement penalty when standing in enemy ink. As you can see, customizing your character with the proper gear introduces a whole new layer of depth and strategy which translates directly to your performance during Ink battles.

Splatoon Octopi screenshot

Learning all the tips and tricks from the testers at Nintendo was a great experience and our guide definitively benefits from their extensive knowledge. On our final day we had an in-depth roundtable discussion where we dissected every map, game mode, and weapon. Everybody had the opportunity to voice their opinions and demonstrate some of their favorite tactics and loadouts. All of this information made it into the guide, giving our readers insight from some of the most experienced Splatoon players in the world. We’re really happy with the way the guide turned out and hope you have as much fun with the game as we are. See you in Inkopolis!

Don't forget to check out our sneak peek inside the Splatoon Official Game Guide!

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