Splatoon is a simple game: you’re a squid or octopus-like humanoid in a post-apocalyptic world, and all you want to do is shoot people with colored ink and buy cute outfits. I had never played a Splatoon game until Splatoon 3 was released last week, but my friends were all excited, so I jumped in. There’s not a ton of backstory to catch up on in this third episode – just accept that you’re a squid now.
It’s been about a week. Reader, I’m hooked. I just can’t stop splashing. I don’t even like shooters – I don’t need more gun violence in my life, even if it’s fictional and contained on a Nintendo Switch screen – but Splatoon is different.
In the main game mode, called Turf War, you are split into two teams of four with other players online. Each team has its own color ink, like a bright Nickelodeon orange, a greenish yellow that looks like toxic waste, or a purple color that matches The Verge’s redesign. Within three minutes, your team’s goal is to cover as much territory as possible with your colored ink.
There are different types of guns – some guns that shoot small amounts of paint, but can easily
kill splatter your enemy, sending them back to their home base. There are bombs that you charge by saying “Booyah!” – which, by the way, is one of only two phrases your character can say in the game, the other being the less delicious “This way!” There’s also a crab tank, and… I don’t know what to tell you. It’s a crab pot.
Personally, I’m a fan of roller-style weapons, where you just push a paint roller and smash your enemies. The rollers are great for someone like me who isn’t skilled enough to aim a paint gun. But the real reason I’m so attached to the roller is that they’re so satisfying. You’re just a squid and/or octopus, running around making a trail of clean, colorful ink. The roller can ink the edges of the card, gliding cleanly and covering every last pixel. If your team loses a lot, simply charge into a sea of enemy-colored ink, zigzagging your pink paint through a sea of neon green until you’re inevitably splattered with a “Sploosh-o-matic” or a “Bamboozler.” “. When you run out of ink, you reload your weapon while swimming, an experience that somehow manages to release the stress of your real-world flesh bag. It’s like yoga, but squid.
In a way, even journalism is enjoyable in Splatoon. The game begins with an information cast called “Anarchy Splatcast” hosted by Deep Cut, who is both a rock band and broadcasters? It’s confusing, especially for a Splat-noob like me, but Shiver and Fyre are just as talented, I guess. In Splatoon 3, the duo are also joined by Big Man, a talking manta ray who begins all of his sentences with “Ay!”
But my favorite NPC has to be the one running the clothing store. It’s a species of jellyfish called Man-o-War. And he sells clothes. So his shop is called… the Man-o-Wardrobe…
Game writers have pointed to Splatoon’s other great attributes, even calling it “the ideal social platform.” They are right. Others have noticed that if you reach level 98 you can have your character dabbed, which is just awesome. But Splatoon is all about ink, and I love ink.
If you’re someone who frequents Reddit’s r/oddly satisfying sites or watches those soap-cutting and paint-mixing videos, Splatoon is the game for you.
There is a problem for me, however. I am not very well in Splatoon.