The Game Awards winner in categories “Best Multiplayer” and “Best Shooter” in 2015, Splatoon released the third game from the series this month. Two weeks before the official release, players could feel what the game would be like with the special tournament Splatfest event: anyone with a Nintendo Switch could download a demo to participate in the competition.
On Splatoon 3 launch day, the game sold over 3 million copies in Japan alone, becoming Nintendo’s bestselling game on Switch on the first day of release.
At first, what caught the attention of fans of the franchise was the fact that the game was released for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s current console, and not for the next generation of consoles. Many fans found it a rash decision from the company, saying it should just be DLC (downloadable content) from the second game. Illustrator Luca Macuco said he was reluctant to buy it.
“My fear is that it would be too similar to Splatoon 2, and the game turns into a franchise like Call of Duty, where all the games are kind of the same,” said Macuco.
However, the sales numbers proved that was not the case. The game quickly became a huge success, mixing improvements of elements from the previous game with brand-new content. Designer Gabriella Moraes, an avid Nintendo fan, said she bought the game with a bit of distrust at first, but she doesn’t regret the purchase at all.
“I decided to give it a try, and everything is so much bigger and better that I really don’t have any regrets,” she said. “They put so much new stuff, and being a new game, it still has the potential to add even more.”
Splatoon 3 has a similar structure to its predecessors, but has been greatly improved. There is no need to play the old games to easily understand the mechanics, making the game fun for anyone who appreciates the genre.
The story mode is not only larger than the previous ones, but also has better level design and rewards players for finding creative ways to go through them. The game stages are totally different from each other, going from simple platforming to racing against the clock to trying to finish a whole level without using any ink, among dozens of others. The levels are not repetitive, preventing the gameplay from getting boring.
Multiplayer mode follows the same pattern as before of having normal battles, called “Turf War” – where the team that inks most of the map wins – and ranked battles, now called “Anarchy Battles,” with four different battle modes. “Anarchy Battles” are unlocked when new players reach level ten, however, players with the previous game data can start to play them before, at level two.
And finally, Splatoon 3 also brings “Salmon Run” back, the co-op mode where up to four players team up to defeat waves of monsters to collect eggs. This mode is available for single player, local multiplayer and online multiplayer. Although the modes are the same as the previous games, they manage to have a fresh feeling about them.
The biggest fear of veteran players was that since there is already a Splatoon game for the Nintendo Switch, a new one should wait for the next Nintendo console. When the game was announced, many people commented that the new release was unnecessary. However, the new content, the details and the effort to improve the features and to unite the community make it much more than just a polished version of the last game. In addition, its simplicity, charisma and fun make it a game for anyone regardless of the age.
“Splatoon 3 is the only online game that I can play without getting competitive about it,” said programmer and gamer Jefferson Nascimento.
“I don’t care if I win or lose, the battles are so fun that this is all that matters,” he added.
Contrary to the worries of many players, the game became a success, already having the date set for the first official Splatfest – the world tournament where each player chooses a team: Sept. 23 – 25. This Splatfest theme will be “What would you bring to a desert island: gear, grub or fun?”