The state of being both kid and squid simultaneously
August 6, 2015 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Nintendo's quirky squad shooter Splatoon, which sold 1.6 million worldwide copies in two months of release, is their first real new property since the Gamecube era. People are calling it the game that could save the Wii-U.

A squad-based online shooter with some blood donated by Team Fortress 2, Splatoon departs from the formula in many interesting, Nintendo-esque ways. Instead of soldiers or mercenaries the players are half kid/half squid creatures cakked "inklings." Instead of firing bullets, the players fire blobs of colorful paint-like ink that coat the ground and walls. You can kill, or "splat" opponents, but the winner is determined by coloring ground (not walls) to your teams hue. And while traditional gun-like weapons like machine guns, semi-automatics and sniper rifles are in the game, the game's most notorious weapon is simply a big paint roller, that can be used to cover territory, flung to damage opponents, or you can simply roll it over enemies, sending the back to spawn with a squish.

After a stream of new weapons and maps that lasted all summer, yesterday saw Splatoon's first major content update, with new modes and gear and two very different new weapons: a Heavy-like "splatling gun" that must be charged to used, and a paint bucket.

Nintendo's weird Twitter-like social media platform Miiverse has a Splatoon community that is filled with drawings. Miiverse art can also show up in-game, both attached to other players and as in-game graffiti. When the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nation-wide, Splatoon erupted in a flood of supportive messages. A similar outpouring occurred mourning the loss of Nintendo company president Satoru Iwata.

Nintendo promoted the game with a variety of energetic commercials that bring to mind classic-era Nickelodeon. One that became the subject of a number of memes is the infamous You're a kid now/you're a Squid now" spot. For parity, here's a Japanese commercial for the game.

Here's footage of a particularly intense "A+" ranked match. Here's more high level gameplay. Here's some more, without voiceover. Here's FiveLeafClover's seven-part series of high level strategy videos: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7. SquidKids is a YouTube playlist of playing tips. Nintendome hosts exhaustive examinations of weapons and abilities, laying out all the variables of the game in an easy-to-understand format. The major dedicated place to discuss the game and strategy is Squidboards.

More squiddy fun: Know Your Meme on Splatoon.

There is a surprising amount of fandom crossover between Steven Universe and Splatoon. Show assistant director Ian Jones-Quartey himself drew this crossover Miiverse pic, shown in-game.

The "Squid Sisters," Callie and Marie (think about it) are two pop idols who introduce the stage rotation every four hours. Sometimes they provide some entertaining banter at rollover. Here's one more.

A poll run by Famitsu in Japan ranked player favorite weapons, abilities and stages.

Here is the main theme song, "Splattack," played by a band, and by a different band, NES style, and general chiptune style. Here's the shop theme remixed by DJ CUTMAN. In fact, here's a whole album of Splatoon remixes, pretty good for a game that's been out for like two and a half months! (You can download the album for free by choosing to pay $0, or pay what you want.)

Tired of fighting? Some people just like squiddin' around. For the obsessed, here's fan comic Get Gud Nami.

Finally, if you want to squid it up with other MeFites, MeFightClub has an active thread on Splatoon. (Login required)
posted by JHarris (84 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I can say this is the first game that makes me really want a WiiU
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:12 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Spoiler: It's not going to save Wii U. There is zero third party support, and Nintendo has moved on. Splatoon is rad, and will continue to get more rad. Super Mario Maker will also follow suit, in radness. Zelda will probably be a split title, ala Twilight Princess. Major software development has already to switched over the new console, NX/Zii/Next/The Nintendo for late 2016, first half 2017. A rumored everything in one device, to play everything Nintendo has ever made on one machine, while being a pretty decent piece of kit/hardware, coupled with mobile support.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 4:13 PM on August 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

But you can bet Splatoon 2 (title forthcoming) will be a popular title on the next Nintendo device
posted by timdiggerm at 4:18 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

A rumored everything in one device, to play everything Nintendo has ever made on one machine, while being a pretty decent piece of kit/hardware, coupled with mobile support.

Holy shit, what? That would be amazing.
posted by brundlefly at 4:20 PM on August 6, 2015

chainlinkspiral, on that device, cite.
posted by JHarris at 4:25 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

I heard a rumor that you can play as Zelda.

It's a secret to everybody.

Anyway, Splatoon is great, the new Sloshers are some kinda nonsense, and you should all share your Wii U handles so we can finally, FINALLY get some damned organized team matches going.

I'm curious_nu.
posted by curious nu at 4:26 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nothing will save the Wii U, which I have and play a lot with my daughter. Very few developers are still planning games for it, and Nintendo's own pace of game release is, as always, deliberate; not enough to maintain interest in the console in the face of competition such as the PS4, XBOne, and PC.

The final nails in the coffin were/are the delays in Zelda, which might really have driven sales, and the unguarded talk about the next-gen Nintendo, which is having the predictable Osborne Effect on further sales.
posted by Shibboleth at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine were talking about this game, and we came to the conclusion that it is Pro-R'Lyeh propaganda.

This is the storyline: humans are wiped out, and then squids migrate to the surface and found the next civilization. But it's pretty damn good. I'm cheering for Cthulhu and his inkling legions now.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 4:27 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

chainlinkspiral, on that device, cite.

His uncle works for Nintendo.
posted by Diskeater at 4:31 PM on August 6, 2015 [22 favorites]

As a fan, I am rooting for Nintendo. As a parent who has to fork out money for the consoles and peripherals, and the games, I kind of hate Nintendo.

What the hell took so goddamn long with Zelda? Why is the Wii U hardware so underwhelming in terms of power? Why was the original Wii little better than a gussied-up Game Cube? Why? Why? Why?

I hate to say it, but even the Mario Kart Wii U isn't all that great. I hate the fact you're supposed to pony up to level up, and they have the weird Mercedes cars in it.

The Wii version is my favourite.

Anyway, I guess I will go out and grab Splatoon. Hopefully you don't need to buy a special gun for it or something...
posted by Nevin at 4:39 PM on August 6, 2015

"The state of being both kid and squid simultaneously"? I know this one!

There's going to be a downloadable Ika Musume costume for Splatoon. And people have already been creating crossover fan art.
posted by Rangi at 4:46 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the Mario Kart DLC was okay overall, I mean it was as much game as your typical MK before DLC, and each pack had eight new tracks. For $12 or so you'd get what amounted to half the game again.

The Ika Musume costume is already available, pieces of it are appearing randomly in the in-game shops.
posted by JHarris at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2015

So, that would be Squidonnie? I will never get tired of putting the word squid into things.
posted by JHarris at 5:02 PM on August 6, 2015

Why was the original Wii little better than a gussied-up Game Cube? Why? Why? Why?

That "gussied up Gamecube" was the most profitable system last generation.

One of Nintendo's hardware dev maxims is lateral thinking with withered technology. Historically they generally haven't been the kind of company that chases the absolutely top-of-the-line hardware.
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on August 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

JHarris: "So, that would be Squidonnie?"

It's a little cut off, but it looks like they went with Squivonnie.
posted by RobotHero at 5:09 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our little old Wii is mostly a movie-delivery device these days. This game looks fun, but if U is about to be obsolete, I'm holding on to my cash.
posted by emjaybee at 5:28 PM on August 6, 2015

But you can bet Splatoon 2 (title forthcoming)

Obviously it will be called Splatwoon.
posted by secret about box at 5:43 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

“The 6 Problems With Third Person Shooters (Just Got Solved),” Luke McKinney , Cracked, 23 June 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

There actually are some pretty cool Wii U games, I think, they're just unexpected ones. Lego City Undercover, for example, is the ur example of a Lego game.
posted by JHarris at 6:03 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Splatoon is the best! I adore this game. Sometimes I have a stressful day and just want to come home and roll some paint. I am no good with guns at all (can't control the camera to save my life).

But if Arowana Mall is in the rotation, I refrain. I dislike maps with hard pinch-points in the middle, because I suck at those. Just let me run off to some enemy ink in some little-noticed corner and I will go to town with my roller.

I actually played enough to get to max level (20). Did you know that when you hit 20, and visit the shops, the vendors all fall over themselves telling you just how fresh and awesome you are? It's nice!
posted by megafauna at 6:09 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a very sneaky thing you can do at the mall. That tall hill in the middle? It's sides are paintable. If you can manage to paint the whole thing all the way around, and swim carefully, you can avoid the top of the hill entirely. I've not done it yet though.
posted by JHarris at 6:18 PM on August 6, 2015

posted by theorique at 6:21 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

megafauna, with the new update, Level 20 isn't the maximum anymore....
posted by JHarris at 6:35 PM on August 6, 2015

The prolific artists on Miiverse love to mash up fandoms with Splatoon. In addition to Steven Universe:
King of the Hill
Rick and Morty
Mad Max
Jurassic World
Animal Crossing
Team Fortress 2
Metal Gear Solid
Fist of the North Star
So many JoJo jokes, JoJokes if you will (spoilers?)
and of course anything featuring a cephalopod
posted by knuckle tattoos at 6:35 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

As a fan of Nintendo and of non-testosterone fueled games, this piqued my interest. But even though I'm nowhere near to being a neat freak, watching the video with wet, gloppy paint flying everywhere filled me with existential horror. Guess I didn't get Nickelodeon on cable until too late in life.
posted by darksasami at 6:43 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]



I mean, I know it's just a fuckin' bucket, but it is SO SATISFYING

Also Arowana Mall has secret new walkways down along the bottom of the pinch point in the middle, making it a MUCH more playable stage

Splatoon has been a shockingly popular cultural phenomenon since basically before it even came out, at least for what it is (and it really does seem to have near-universal appeal). The weekend it came out, I went to a local beer festival in Osaka, and there was someone selling grilled squid with a drawing of an Inkling on the sign. Which, I guess, seems a little tasteless on consideration, but no more so than all of the cartoon pigs, cows, and chickens you see beckoning you to come eat them?
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:07 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Splatoon is a miracle. Nintendo had no business making a multiplayer shooter this good, but they did it, and what's more they actually made an always-online game that feels completely justified and amazing, yet will be completely dead whenever Wii U's multiplayer matching servers go down. Don't get me wrong: the single-player mode is fun, and the final boss is among the best bosses I've seen outside of the D. Souls series, but all of that's just a drop in the bucket of what Splatoon has to offer... and the key thing is that, thanks to the scheduled and steady dollops of new content that Nintendo is putting out over this year into the unknowable future, the best way to experience this game is far more timely than most. (In that it is the opposite of timeless.)
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 7:59 PM on August 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Fist of the North Star

posted by JHarris at 8:20 PM on August 6, 2015

Oh and while I remember I should thank MeFightClub user lucidium for finding the "splatoon is fun" video in the FPP, I first saw it from the MFC thread.
posted by JHarris at 8:22 PM on August 6, 2015

Splatoon is so much fun. I just wish it wasn't tied to the stupid stupid stupid dualstick control scheme. If I could hook up a mouse and keyboard to the WiiU I probably would never stop playing. Also that final boss is Tough.
posted by clorox at 8:57 PM on August 6, 2015

Also: Go Team Marshmallow!

OP forgot about mentioning Splatfests, which are day-long competitions. You pick a team before the start time and wear the optional t-shirt supporting your team. The team name choices have been fun...

Bread vs Rice (Japan)
Maruchan Red Fox Udon vs Green Tanuki Soba (Japan)
Kirin Lemon Tea vs Milk Tea (Japan)
Dogs vs Cats (USA)
Waterslides vs Rollercoasters (USA)
Rock vs Pop (Europe)
North Pole vs South Pole (Europe / Oceania)
Eating vs Sleeping (Europe / Oceania)

Hotdogs vs Marshmallows starts in the USA tomorrow night....

And, speaking of t-shirts, WHY is Nintendo not getting on the stick about this? I really really don't want to support piracy but I really really want that Takoroka shirt.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:01 PM on August 6, 2015

clorox, Splatoon has motion controls too. If you don't ordinarily like motion controls, I still urge you to give these a try, because for once they're no gimmick. With practice the precision level offered is similar to that of a mouse.
posted by JHarris at 9:17 PM on August 6, 2015

Alright, I'll give it a shot over the weekend. I had heard that motion control was almost necessary to use the charger-type weapons (sniper rifles basically) but since I prefer the automatic blasters I haven't even tried.

And team Hot Dog is going to stomp your fluffy butts!
posted by clorox at 9:55 PM on August 6, 2015

Of course Team Hot Dog is going to win. They're the perfect food, like just a cylinder of meat!
posted by JHarris at 11:44 PM on August 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Xenoblade Chronicles X is the game that will force me to buy a Wii U but Splatoon is the sweetener that reassures me I'm not buying a console for just one game. All that first-person paint-splooshing action just looks like fun, fun, fun.
posted by MUD at 5:19 AM on August 7, 2015

I haven't played a video game since Halo in, what, 2003?

Then my brother got me a Wii U for my birthday and this game.

After logging 100 hours of play in an embarrassingly short time, I remember why I haven't played a video game since 2003.
posted by robstercraw at 5:29 AM on August 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's a spectacular game. I love a game with a new game mechanic, and the swim-through-your-own-ink/territory mechanic is brand new and incredibly satisfying. The number of ways to be supportive to your team is boundless: splatting opponents, maintaining ink pathways, covering territory, breaking up your enemy's color, and so on. And the fact that your opponent's territory is in their color means you see everything about the game clearly.

And the buckets are perfect for low-skill mashers like me. I play against players who seem to be omniscient; I move, I get splatted. Shoveling that wall of ink in front of me lets me be a happy idiot and still contribute. (But the .96 Gal or the Tentatek Splattershot both still rule.)
posted by argybarg at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2015

I really like the Turf War game mechanic because it removes the incentive to hide and snipe. You're only gonna win by getting out there and helping your teammates.

I like some of the newer battles (like Tower Control) but it's back to sniping again, which my son figured out instantly. He takes it upon himself to camp and help his team by picking off the other team's tower players. Which is all nice and good, but it's not as much fun to watch from the couch.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:31 AM on August 7, 2015

The ink mechanic really does make for an entirely improved shooter experience. It sounds trivial at first, but it adds a constant background hum of satisfying gameplay to moving around, being able to instantly disappear and move invisibly means you can ambush and trick people in fights, and it makes every shot count because you're either getting points, improving your manoeuvrability or gumming up opponents.

Splatoon's the most genuinely fun game I can remember playing for years too. Sure, I get salty sometimes when I'm just getting destroyed, but most of the time I have a laugh even when I get splatted. They really paid attention to the details, like the plunk when you drop into ink from a height, how lived in the locations feel, and the ridiculous weaponry cobbled together from garden hoses, detergent bottles and buckets.

Everything just feels good natured and cheerful, even the lack of voice chat that concerned some people means that instead you get a little chorus of happy burbling from the gamepad in response to your "Nice!"

Also, the victory dance with the splatling gun, oh my god.
posted by lucidium at 11:28 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

For all the reasons noted above, I'm logging more hours on this game than I have on any game in years. It is just insanely fun and satisfying.

But also the backstory and art and attention to detail in the in-game universe is astounding. If there were tshirts and stickers reflecting those in the game Nintendo would have even more of my money.

It was pretty surreal hearing the news of Satoru Iwata through the messages in the game plaza first. Team Cat vs. Team Dog had my family pitted against each other IRL.

I am mik3pop in the Miiverse (and character name mikepop in the game) so please do feel free to friend me.
posted by mikepop at 12:28 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

If anyone hasn't seen this yet, nintendo rolled out a neat site at with the big update. It lets you see who of your friends are online and their stats, what the current and upcoming stages and modes are, and a list of your most used weapons. I think you can also send invites to matches, but the site is currently only in Japanese so I'm not sure.
posted by lucidium at 5:08 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

That's a nice site, lucidium, although yeah, it'd be nice if it was English.
posted by JHarris at 5:15 PM on August 7, 2015

Callie and Marie (think about it)

I have been playing basically since launch and this never occurred to me until prompted.

Probably because I have been in awe of Judd's punning. How is there no Judd love in this thread yet?!

You can push ahead if you're feline prawnfident!

Dear NOA Localization: You're the best♥. Never change.
posted by brett at 8:36 PM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

The matchmaking during the Splatfest is BULLSHIT. 6 battles in on Team Hotdog and my best defeat is 40 to 60. And we're consistently outranked based on average rank. Did every player level 15 or higher join Marshmallow? Is this some cruel joke by the devs?
posted by clorox at 11:23 PM on August 7, 2015

clorox, during Splatfest your winning chances vary greatly based on your teammates.

In normal Turf War play, the same eight players will persist from battle to battle (if you choose to Play Again after a match) unless people drop out, but the team will be shuffled so if you lost last time because you had a team full of jellies, at least the next match the jellies might be on the other side.

This changes during Splatfest. The opposing team will be composed of different random other-side players from the whole player base each fight, but your teammates will not be reselected. If you have a bad team, or at least a team that can't work together well, you will lose and keep losing.

The solution is: if you lose more than two in a row, choose not to play again after a fight then reenter battle, and so draw a new team.

The positive side of this is, if you get a great team, you will rule and keep ruling so long as everyone continues to play. First Splatfest I managed to get good teams and rode it to a "vibe" (that score that carries from battle to battle, that determines Chill/Toasty/Smokin/SO HAWT status) of 23, by far the highest I've ever had.
posted by JHarris at 1:24 AM on August 8, 2015

I love this game from a distance since I don't own a Wii U. Just everything about the art style and the way the Miiverse part of the game instantly became a breeding ground for goofy meme stuff, all fun.

As a side note people do speed run the single player. I haven't done more than skim a few now-obsolete youtube runs and watch a couple streamers I already follow practice here and there, so I can't say super well how trick-heavy it is (though apparently there are some skips for various things). The single player looks more fun than I would've expected though given the game's focus on online multiplayer.
posted by sparkletone at 11:44 AM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wish I could like this more, but it would be really nice if they at least made an attempt to do some kind of level balancing. Every multiplayer game I've played, the enemy team's average level has been roughly triple my team's. I was just on a team of me (level 2), a level 3, a level 5, and a level 8, against a team where the LOWEST player was level 25. We lost 97-3.

Like I said, I really want to like this game, but getting curbstomped constantly by way more powerful squids gets kind of demoralizing.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:52 AM on August 8, 2015

Concerning getting stomped on by higher-level teams:
  1. I find that it's easy to take losses harder than wins in Splatoon. You're probably a better player than you know.
  2. The only things level determines in terms of game mechanics is gear accessibility and entry to Ranked Battles, and one of the best weapons of the several dozen in the game is the one you have in your hands at Level 1. Other than that, level is just a measure of how much you've been playing.
  3. I find that low-level players do tend to be matchmade with similarly low-level players, but it isn't long before you get put up against a wide array of opponents, including 20s and, now the cap's been raised, 20+s.
  4. One of the nice things about Splatoon is that, even if you aren't great at splatting the other team you can still contribute, and in fact you can even be the game winner if your kill record is 0-5, if you cover a lot of ground or leave buildings like beakons in useful places.
  5. Splatfest is going on NOW, as I type. It's an excellent place to learn the game. Play a bit, if you lose more than two matches in a row get a new team, eventually you'll find one that's got good players on it, and that's a great way to learn.
  6. If you aren't high level, you might not have access to your Destined Weapon, the one that when you first touch it the stars all sing and the ground trembles before you. Splatoon has a lot of such Destined Weapons. The Krak-On Splat Roller is a great one for both new players and experts. (Some of these weapons must be unlocked in single-player by beating bosses, like the almighty Aerospray, my favorites, and the best raw painting weapon in the game.)
I wrote a very long basics guide for Splatoon some weeks ago, will repost it here once I find it. BTW, you literally cannot lose 97-3, because even full coverage doesn't equal 100%.
posted by JHarris at 12:47 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ok, so it wasn't 97-3; I didn't look too closely at their score. All I know is we had a 3. Actually, a 3.6, but that's semantics.
posted by Itaxpica at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2015

And I'm enjoying the game plenty, but it really does seem like the higher-levelled team wins 80% of the time. Maybe that's just Splatfest related or something that adjusts with more experience, but it's gotten to the point where I can guess the outcome of most of the games I've played before they start.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:00 PM on August 8, 2015

Also, if you did very VERY badly in a match, check the player record at the end. Look for people with scores of 0p!

A score of 0p (300p for someone the winning team, but that doesn't happen nearly as much) means someone dropped during the game, probably from connection issues. Now it doesn't matter when you dropped, the player will be noted as having 0/300p even if they dropped in the last moment of the battle, but very often the player will have dropped before the battle stated, and sometimes in the opening moments (also check if the player has a kill record of 0-0, that can indicate droping before or in early moments of battle).

Being even a single squid down in Splatoon is a huge disadvantage, I think in all the times we've had fewer players than the other side, we're talking dozens of times, we only won once or twice.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2015

Here is my tip list for new players:
  • The best raw painting weapon is the Aerospray -- it's not hard to break a thousand points per match with it even if you lose. Splash-o-matic can do pretty well painting too with better accuracy, but both are weak in terms of damage.
  • The most popular roller is the Krak-On Splat Roller. The best way to attack with a roller isn't just to steamroll opponents but fling ink at them, which is an instant kill if it gets a solid hit on them. Jump while flinging for extra range. (This applies to most weapons -- note, you generally don't get extra range by aiming up!)
  • The longest-range charger is the E-Liter. Taking out good sniper players is challenging, but they're kept a bit in check due to them being poor painters generally.
  • Get used to squidding up walls, most maps have unexpected shortcuts that can be taken advantage of this way. Note however, only horizontal surfaces (visible on the end-of-game map) count towards winning and score painting points.
  • When you use your special weapon (USUALLY after painting 180p worth of ground) you get an instant free ink refill. It's good to use your secondary weapon once before activating for this reason.
  • When you get splatted, you lose half of your special meter charge. (There are abilities you can equip that lessen this.)
  • Damage Up abilities will never increase damage beyond the minimum number of hits to kill. Example: a weapon that does up to 20.5% damage per shot can kill with five hits. Damage Up abilities will never increase this weapon's damage beyond 24.9%, because 25% would make it potentially into a four-hit kill. What Damage Up is good for is: overcoming Defense Ups (which can increase minimum hits to kill), killing faster used in conjunction with other weapons and teammates, decreasing accuracy requirements (it can still increase the damage from a glancing or indirect hit, which are often most of your hits), and decreasing minimum time to charge for a OHKO with a charger.
  • The best places to Inkstrike are 1. at the place on the map closest to (but NOT IN) your team's territory that contains the most enemies, and 2. the place on the map that's the enemy team's color but is the hardest for them to get to. (At the end of a match though, most places are worth the same so long as as much of the Inkstrike's radius colors enemy ink as possible.)
  • Seekers can't home in on you if you're submerged, and can be jumped over. Rollers can be jumped over, too.
  • With weak rapid fire painting weapons such as the Aerospray and Splash-O-Matic, ideally you want to fire at point-blank range. Get used to strafing and squidding up to enemies before attacking. It's usually good to try to color areas around the enemy before attacking, so you have room to approach and dodge.
  • Enemy ink is almost like glue, it roots you to the spot and you can't even jump out of it effectively. The fastest way to get out of enemy ink is to paint the ground at your feet, then squid-jump away.
  • Get used to squidjumping through enemy territory: squid through friendly ink, jump at the end of its extent, then while in the air desquid, shoot where you'll land, then resquid, land, then jump forward again. With practice, you can penetrate into enemy territory this way quickly.
  • Inkmines are best placed at the tops of places where enemies can't see them about to go off.
  • Watch out for corners; you're vulnerable to flanking attacks coming out from there. Use the gamepad map to see where the enemy has colored, and be prepared for ambuses from those areas. Try to color from a distance if you can.
  • In Turf War, the value of a point for most of the match is increased the harder it is for the enemy to recolor that point, and decreased by how easy it is for your team to color it. Unless your team can pin them in, don't bother coloring near your opponent's base unless there is no alternative. Note, however, the closer you get to the match ending, the more all points become worth the same; right before time up, color whatever you can.
  • It is better to color territory colored by the enemy than blank territory, but don't forget the value of easy-to-gain points. You don't have to ink your base at the start, but you want to do it before the end.
  • You can Super Jump to teammates and friendly Squid Beakons by touching them on the gamepad, at any time, not just from spawn. You can also Super Jump to the spawn point this way -- this means you shouldn't put Squid Beakons on spawn, it is useless.
  • You are completely invulnerable while standing on the spawn, but not if you're even one step off. So, if the enemy is foolishly standing near your spawn, stand on it and shoot him.
  • You can destroy enemy buildings by shooting them: Squid Beakons, Sprinklers, Splat Walls. You can set off an enemy Ink Mine by coloring its ground and standing clear.
  • One mark of an experienced player is comfort with squid dodging: instantly ducking into ink in a bad situation and darting back to find another angle of approach. Successful Splatoon players generally try to tip the odds in their favor as much as possible. Take your weapon into account in this. If you have a long range weapon like a Squelcher or Gal, avoid close combat as much as possible. If you have an Aerospray, on the other hand, you want your attacks to be point-blank. Take advantage of your color ink on the ground to squid to optimum range, if your opponent approaches too close or withdraws to far, re-squid and reposition.
  • If your enemy sees where you are and is shooting at you, even if he's currently missing, don't attack that way. Squid around and find another angle, or maybe even another target.
posted by JHarris at 1:09 PM on August 8, 2015 [16 favorites]

A short while ago I had a match in which a Kraken was chasing me on Camp Triggerfish. I backed away, shooting, but wasn't doing a good job of holding the thing at bay. I backed up onto one of the many grates over the water, and the Kraken chased after....

Krakens are in squid-mode. Fell right through into the water. Felt sorry about it, but it was her or me.
posted by JHarris at 1:36 PM on August 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been following Mint (Twitter: @mintchipleaf) on TwitchTV, an A+-ranked (usually) Roller player who has entertaining matches. Streams usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, it's good for picking up strategy and also seeing games under Splat Zones and Tower Control rulesets.
posted by JHarris at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2015

I haven't played video games in a long time but I saw an extended promo thing for this game during the pre-movie advertisements a while back. It definitely stood out as something that looked really wild and fun, and I'm delighted to hear that it's actually a great game. This post has some great links, thank for putting it together.
posted by dogwalker at 10:01 PM on August 8, 2015


Marshmallow 64% - Hot Dog 36%

Wins (effect x4 under updated rules)
Marshmallow 48% -Hot Dog 52%

Final Results:
Marshmallow 256 - Hot Dog 244

Ah, so my team losing streak in Splatfest continues. I've been on the wrong site of three out of three Splatfests now, woo-hoo...?

Individual player rewards are a number of "Super Sea Snails," which can be redeemed with Spyke to add slots to gear or reroll abilities on maxed-out gear. Each is worth about 30,000 squidollars, but can only be used for this purpose. Payouts are based on rank at the end of Splatfest:

Fanboy/girl: 2, Fiend: 3, Defender: 5, Champion: 10, King/Queen: 18

Fanboy/girl: 4, Fiend: 6, Defender: 10, Champion: 16, King/Queen: 24
posted by JHarris at 10:39 PM on August 8, 2015

Another helpful feature I didn't realize was there for a while was the ability to "recon" a map. Choose that option from the game lobby and you can walk around around and explore.

Also, if someone is in a force field bubble you can't splat them but if they are on the edge of a platform (or on the Tower) the force of your shots can nudge them right off.
posted by mikepop at 6:46 AM on August 10, 2015

Recon can be useful even if you know a map generally, because each of the game modes changes each map slightly, and Recon will reflect that.

Shot knockback also works against Krakens (or at least it does since an update a couple of weeks ago).
posted by JHarris at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2015

Fan comic: "Is that a bucket?"
posted by JHarris at 10:30 AM on August 10, 2015

Someone on Reddit invented a game to play in Private matches, Hide and Splat.
posted by JHarris at 4:48 PM on August 10, 2015

Tomorrow evening they unveil a new (official!) game type, Rainmaker.
posted by JHarris at 11:28 PM on August 13, 2015

Oh god, Rainmaker mode can be laughably intense. My team just won a match in like 30 seconds. The key is to get the Rainmaker, then the rest of the team makes a clear path to the goal while the player with the Rainmaker squids along it. By the same token, it is vitally important to prevent there being an unbroken path of enemy ink to your base's goal or you risk nearly-instant, humiliating failure.
posted by JHarris at 10:30 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Squid Jump (the game you play while waiting in the lobby) is a nice reminder that Namco's terrible patent on load screen mini-games expires this year. Nintendo is in such a great position for this with their back catalog that it's almost a shame their games have such short load times.
posted by Gary at 10:57 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nintendo announced a new free "Testfire" period, various times between August 21 and 23! You can download a free version of the game for playing during demo periods. It was the Global Testfire that hooked me on the game, although these, it should be said, are regional Testfires, that will only put you up against players in the same geographical area (maybe US, Euro and Japan? I think Oceania might be one too).
posted by JHarris at 4:04 PM on August 17, 2015

The next Splatfest might end friendships, break apart marriages, destroy lives.
posted by sparkletone at 8:18 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

break apart marriages

The Splatfest itself won't matter. But spending the next week pacing around the house, writing pros & cons lists and muttering about how a tape deck robot was ruined when they made him an airplane? Yeah, that might do it.
posted by Gary at 10:42 AM on August 18, 2015

Splatoon 2.0 Review”—Electric Playground, 18 August 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 10:44 AM on August 18, 2015

Autobots vs. Decepticons?? Man, that strikes me as so lame. But it's Splatoon, so I will deal with it.
posted by JHarris at 12:38 AM on August 19, 2015

Team GoBot.

Is this some kind of tie-in promo? Is there another Transformers moving coming out? Do the kids these days even care about Transformers?

I'm down with this if the giant sound/video system trucks in the Plaza during Splatfest occasionally turn into dancing/fighting robots.

Also, on stages where you can see streets in the background replace all vehicles with robots running around.
posted by mikepop at 6:29 AM on August 19, 2015

Is this some kind of tie-in promo? Is there another Transformers moving coming out?

Not as far as I'm aware. Next movie's not due out for a couple years. There is a new game on the horizon being made by the people that did Metal Gear Rising and the two Bayonettas, but that's not coming to Nintendo platforms and has nothing to do with the movies (it's aesthetically taken from the original cartoon), and actually looks pretty cool.

(That developer is the one making the new Star Fox Wii U game though.)
posted by sparkletone at 7:43 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

From the posters in the screenshots it is a tie-in with the current Cartoon Network series Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
posted by Gary at 9:48 AM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just got Splatoon yesterday; thanks in part to this thread. It's fun! Add me and let's splat! daninpa18
posted by daninnj at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Making a run with the rainmaker is so tense, but slam dunking it into the volcano(?) while your team mates all frantically spam "Nice!" is my new favourite part of the game. The way the shield works can get surprisingly tactical too.

I like how the game modes have gotten progressively more focussed - from the whole map, to a small area, to a moving target, to a single player. I wonder if they have any other modes planned.
posted by lucidium at 5:31 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

A week of Transformers Miiverse posts is going to be pretty great.

Go Team Decepticon!
posted by Gary at 4:38 PM on August 22, 2015

Splatfest is in progress now.
posted by JHarris at 12:05 AM on August 29, 2015

Here are the Splatfest US IV results:

Autobots 58% - Decepticons 42%

Wins (x4)
Autobots 44% - Decepticons 56%

Final Results:
Autobots 234 - Decepticons 266

Yay, my team has now lost four in a row.
posted by JHarris at 2:08 AM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wasn't expecting much customization of the game for this particular splatfest, but I was still disappointed when they referred to my team (Decepticons) as "Good Guys" on the results screen.
posted by Gary at 11:44 AM on August 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

And from the Oceania region, we got the infinitely less cool Singing vs Dancing.

This being my first Splatfest, I didn't know there were ranks to work through and acquire. So now, even though we lost, I am still prancing around the house lauding my Dancing Queen status over my dude. (SINGING, who would choose singing over dancing, who..?)
posted by pseudonymph at 12:23 AM on August 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

I actually like Singing vs Dancing. And this like the fourth time I've heard someone gloating about getting to rank Dancing Queen.
posted by JHarris at 1:52 AM on August 31, 2015

Damn skippy. I am so, so bad at games (including this one), so I methodically sat down and just lost my way to it. There was blood, sweat and so much ink spilled in the gaining of that stupid thing, heh.
posted by pseudonymph at 4:09 AM on August 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was surprised to see such a big popularity skew towards the Autobots. I thought everyone likes to play the bad guys. Also blown away by how good some of the teams I came across were.
posted by mikepop at 12:23 PM on August 31, 2015

“‘It’s the Japanese! Run!’ – Overseas gamers tired of playing Splatoon with Inklings from Japan,” Casey Baseel, Rocket News 24, 04 September 2015
posted by ob1quixote at 2:50 AM on September 5, 2015

It seems Japanese players have been steam-rolling the competition in the Nintendo hit.

I find this absolutely untrue in my own games, and I play late enough that I have had many rounds where mine was the only name not in kana. It's a popular narrative that Japanese players are naturally gaming gods, but in Splatoon at least I have not found it borne out in reality. (Although there does tend to be a little more lag when playing against Japanese players, resulting in more dual splats.)
posted by JHarris at 3:05 AM on September 5, 2015

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