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What is Splatoon?Coming exclusively to Wii U
Splatoon release date 2015
In Nintendo’s short E3 2014 Direct, the Japanese gaming giant rattled through game announcements, but significant attention was given to Splatoon, a brand new IP coming to Wii U next year.
In the colourful, ink-splatted world of Splatoon, you play as a half-squid, half-human known as an Inkling. Both halves of the Inklings have unique advantages, but in order to succeed you’ll need to combine their powers.
Splatoon sees two teams of four compete for dominance of one map. You’ll need to splat ink using the human half’s ink gun on as much of the map’s floor as you possibly can. The more ground you can cover with your team’s ink colour the better, as when the time is up the team with the most map coverage wins.
If you spot an enemy team member, you can take them out by splatting them with your ink, gaining you and your team valuable points in the match.
This may sound easy enough, but your ink runs out and this is where the squid half comes in. By diving into ink pools as the squid you can refuel your ink gun and swim under gates and other low obstacles to access new areas of the map that need to be inked.
We found ourselves using the squid to swim through coloured pools and under the metal gates at the side of the map. By doing this, we not only topped up our fuel reserves, but came at the enemy from a less direct angle.
Bear in mind, though, that when you move around you can only step on your team’s coloured ink. Touching the enemies’ ink will rapidly decrease your health. So the idea is to block the opposing team into their base with your ink, meaning they are limited to one area of the map.
The controls are very simple and very easy to grasp, even when you’re thrown straight into a match. Inking up walls doesn’t contribute to your overall score, but it can give you a great place to hide as a squid and give you speedy access to the enemies’ base.
You can move around using the analogue sticks on the Wii U GamePad, but tilting the device lets you look around the map for enemies and new place deserving of your team’s ink.
What’s great is that the GamePad shows the map at all time, with coloured ink spreading across it in real time as both teams lay into it with their guns. If you happen to die, you can tap the location of one of your teammates to spawn right next to them and get straight back into battle.
One of our particular favourite features is the special move. Once charged, you can unleash a large ink blast to take out enemies in one shot, which is very handy if you happen to be overrun, or just simply to make sure the opposing team are confined to a small area.
Nintendo has the innate ability to make anything look colourful and charming, even without the graphical capabilities of its latest console rivals. Splatoon doesn’t disappoint.
You will have to work as a team, though. Finding yourself singled out makes you an incredibly easy target for the opposition and you’ll quickly realise that if you take on the enemies as a foursome, you’re a much more formidable force.
Plus, when you’re working as a team it’s much more fun to scatter the enemies and take them out, while splatting their home base to victory.
First ImpressionsNintendo’s new IP is a breath of fresh air for the struggling Wii U and should appeal to gamers of all ages. So far we’ve only had access to one, small map so far, we’d love to see how Splatoon’s ink translates to a larger terrain.
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