Splatoon 2 is a territory based, third person shooter where a 4-man team vies to cover the map in more of their team’s colour than their opponents in all-out Turf War! The aim is rarely to kill the opposing team, but control the map so you can move freely as a kid (the humanoid form where you can fire weapons), or a squid (the squishy tentacle creature that can move quickly through its own ink). And you’ll be spreading ink with a number of re-purposed household objects like a water gun, a novelty paint roller and…a bucket.
Outside of Turf War, the three ranked game modes return, albeit with some slight modifications. Tower Control now includes checkpoints where the tower will stop for a number of seconds before continuing on its path. In Rainmaker, the titular centerpiece no longer fires a raging tsunami of ink, but rather an elegant exploding orb. Which stage and game mode that’s available to play will change every 2 hours in Splatoon 2, as opposed to every 4 hours like in the original. Furthermore, players will now build an individual rank for each of the ranked game modes. Will this make maintaining a coveted S+ grade average easier, or harder?
But before you can even think about climbing the ranks, you’re going to need the right weapons and gear. And Splatoon 2 is going to be packed with new arrivals as well as old favourites with new tweaks, which is a theme players will notice come up repeatedly. And there will be even more additions updated throughout the following year. A typical weapon set includes a main weapon, a sub weapon and a special weapon. Main weapons include Chargers, which are sniper rifles that need the trigger held down to charge the shot. Fresh to this game, after charging the shot, squids can swim around momentarily and then instantly fire a fully charged blast of ink. There are also the aforementioned novelty paint rollers that spread ink horizontally when grounded and in a long vertical columns when jumping. And an upcoming main weapon, the Splat Brella. It works as a shield and also has a built-in shotgun in the handle. So if you ever wonder why it’s difficult to find an umbrella stand in Inkopolis Square without shrapnel damage, here’s your answer.
Sub weapons are smaller, targeted weapons such as the new Autobomb; an explosive device that hones in on nearby inklings. Or the Toxic Mist, that launches a spherical cloud of gas that hurts opponents. Finally, Special weapons are large scale, super weapons that could really drown out your enemies. No special weapon from the original Splatoon will be returning in the sequel – all specials are brand new. There’s the Baller, a hamster ball that can travel up walls and explode. Or Ink Armor, which appears to function just like the Bubbler from original Splatoon, just with the added eye glint of a demon child that has never shown mercy and doesn’t intend to start. And in the future, the Bubble Blower will arrive as part of a free content update. It’s a weapon that creates large bubbles that can be popped for massive damage and turf coverage.
The gear and abilities will also be as important as ever. We previously heard about Murch and gear scrubbing, but the Splatoon 2 Direct revealed some brand new abilities to contend with. Thermal Ink tags opposing players so inklings will still be visible through walls if they’re hit by your ink. The Object Shredder increases damage done to non-player elements, so shooting down a Squid Beakon will only need a few shots. The drop roller ability allows the player to perform a side roll when landing after a super jump, providing a little extra maneuverability when you come hurtling behind enemy lines.
Sometimes, if you have several favourite gear items and weapons, remembering a particular setup can be difficult. Splatoon 2 will help this through Amiibo! New amiibo for Splatoon 2 are coming, and they will be able to retain the memory of your weapon and gear so you can re-equip an entire outfit with just a tap of a figurine. Previously released Splatoon amiibo will also be compatible with Splatoon 2.
The Splatoon 2 Direct gave us a small look at smart device functionality with the game. SplatNet2, is the portal to Splatoon multiplayer, accessible in the Nintendo Switch Online app. So it's an app within an app. Don't worry. It makes as much sense to us as them skipping SplatNet version 1. While SplatNet2 will tell you information about your previous matches, opponents gear and the turf you’ve inked, it's real purpose is for inviting Nintendo Switch friends into joint group battles. Once linked you'll be able to enjoy voice chat with your team members.
Splatoon 2 is repeatedly bringing in the new, while revitalising the old with new twists. This can be seen in new stages like Sturgeon Shipyard and returning stages like Port Mackerel where they’ve added sponges. Or in the new SquidPop sensation, Marina and Pearl, who now handle the Inkopolis news responsibilites. And then the familiar Sean, of Shrimp Kicks in original Splatoon, is now working at a mobile food van that can give you bonuses during your matches, like increasing your winning cash by 50% or doubling your experience.
And there’s still lots more on the way, including 2 years worth Splatfests. Splatfests are worldwide competitions where Splatoon players join either one of two teams and then battle in turf wars to see which side is better. And the first Splatfest has already been announced! Cake vs Ice-Cream, the duel of the desserts. Nintendo Switch owners will be able to settle this delectable debate on July 15th. Which oddly enough, is before it even launches!
Splatoon 2 launches worldwide on July 21st on Nintendo Switch.