Splatoon arrived for Wii U and it's all about making a mess of things, whether you team up with friends in four-on-four action or take matters into your own hands against an invading army of Octo creeps. No matter which route you take, or if you need to find the Sunken Scrolls, you're in for a splat-tastic time.
Here's a breakdown of the different modes to give you an idea what to expect, as well as advice on how to avoid getting inked.
Teams of four attempt to cover the map with their own paint color, whether this means using weapons like the Splattershot and Splat Roller or tossing Burst Bombs. However, instead of racking up kills like most shooters, whoever covers the most area with paint wins the match. Remember to keep that in mind, even if you have a personal vendetta against someone who "splatted" you.
Nintendo promised to cycle the multiplayer maps included with the game on a regular basis (sometimes daily, sometimes weekly), but there will always be two available multiplayer maps in the game. These vary by location, including Camp Triggerfish, Arowana Mall, Saltspray Rig, Blackberry Skatepark, Walleye Warehouse and Urchin Underpass, with more to come in the months ahead, free of charge.
While cycling maps could make it difficult to keep long-term tactics in mind, general strategy remain the same. You'll want to make sure to cover as much space as possible with paint, and also play defense should you encounter rivals. This is where your squid transformation proves most useful, since you can swim around in your own paint mostly undetected, then pop up and get the jump on them.
It also helps to know about certain hot zones in each area, such as higher locations where you can get the drop on passing enemies (like ones pushing around Rollers) or clearing the way for your team to come rushing through with a paint attack. Don't be afraid to explore a map, even if that means taking a splat or two in the process. Sometimes it can pay off and get more paint splatted around the area, giving you a cleaner victory.
There are two modes to play solo. The first is Hero Mode, which acts as the main single player campaign. In it you wage war against the Octarians, a group of ink-based aliens who captured sections of Inkopolis.
This mode introduces you to the basics that’ll prove equally useful in Turf War, mastering new weapons and leveling up so you unlock new gear, like the Classic Splattershot and Aerospray MG, among others.
The other mode is Octo Valley, where you'll rescue captive Zapfish from the Octarians’ clutches. You'll find these missions in a manhole cover in the game's main hub, home of Cap ‘n Cuttlefish. The full campaign features terrific boss battles, including The Mighty Octostomp, inking the sides of this creature to gain access to its weak point.
When it comes to defeating Octostomp, it helps to pay attention to a pattern. He'll charge at you and try to land on you face first, so make sure you get out of the way as quickly as possible. Cover as much of the ground in front of you with paint as you can, then shoot his sides. You'll be able to swim up in squid mode and take out his weak spot. With each passing wave, his sides change around to moving panels, so you'll need to move quickly, and he gets up after a few seconds, thus concealing his vulnerable spot.
If you own the Splatoon amiibo, you'll be able to unlock additional single player challenges, like rescuing additional Zapfish and tackling difficult levels. Pick up the Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl and Squid today!
If you want to take on a buddy in a friendly match, select this 1v1 mode. One player will use the GamePad while the other utilizes a separate controller and plays on the TV. The goal is to pop 30 balloons before the other person.
While this works much differently than Turf War, it will help you learn the maps while at the same time improving your aim with weapon on balloons, whether using the manual control scheme or the GamePad for aiming.
In this mode, your best attack is to simply go after the balloons, plain and simple. While getting in a paint-blasting competition with your foe is a lot of fun, the general objective is to clear the playing field as quickly as you can. Try to use a well-rounded weapon to get the job done, such as the Aerospray MG or the Splattershot. They're both good when it comes to popping balloons.
What about Ranked Battle?
Nintendo initially revealed a Ranked Battle mode for Splatoon. Unfortunately it didn’t make the cut for launch, but the publisher will release it free of charge in the near future.
Ranked Battle will unlock once a player reaches Level 10. When playing, wins and losses are permanently counted towards player ranks. Gamers will start out with a C ranking and eventually work their way up to a higher level depending on how they perform.
Other modes introduced over the next few weeks include:
Splat Zones: Two teams fight over a section of the map, covering it with as much ink as possible. This is similar to Regular Battle, but there’s a time deduction system with each new section of the map covered in paint. Whoever covers the most sections for the longest time wins.
Tower Control: Two teams race to the center of a map, where a large tower awaits. Two players will be able to climb into the tower and take control of it, marching this structure into the enemy’s goal. Maintaining control of the tower is key, because an enemy squad can easily overtake it. Whoever marches the tower into their enemy's goal first is the winner.
Rainmaker: Not much is known about this mode, but Nintendo should reveal more details closer to E3. One thing's for sure – judging by its name, it's likely to involve a lot of paint.