When did the shooter genre get so stale? We get a Call of Duty every year, although that’s changing, Overwatch doesn’t even look like what it used to be and Battlefield 2042 is only now being patched into a full-fledged game. Then there’s Splatoon 3. A game that feels so much the opposite of everything else in the genre that it can’t help but feel like a breath of fresh air.
The concept of Splatoon alone is already a unique one. Kills? Not the objective. Capturing flags? That’s so 90s. Instead, the point of each match is to cover the walls, floor, and every square inch of a map with your color of ink. The team that covers the largest percentage of the map by the end of the time period, wins. That is the base from the original Splatoon and it’s a simple concept that works extremely well. Obviously there are intricacies to each match and you can’t just ignore kills entirely, because you’ll likely lose. Still, it’s great to have a multiplayer shooter out there that consistently says it doesn’t care about rewarding players with the fastest reaction times or best aim, but instead rewards you primarily for playing the objective of each map. Players of multiple skill levels can both play and be good at Splatoon together and it’s a wonderful thing.
The way Splatoon goes about reducing the skill gap between players is by having so many different weapons (54, to be exact) and power-ups that pretty much everyone can find a style of play that they’ll enjoy. If you are someone that finds yourself really enjoying the game and wanting to put your skills to the test, it does feature competitive gameplay with some unique modes to mix it up. This is where many longtime players rushed to the second they could, so maybe wait a bit before jumping in if you’re a newbie, but it’s a great opportunity to see how you match up against other competitive players.
If you’re not someone that cares about the competitive aspect then fear not, because there is still plenty in this game for you to do. All the Splatoon games before this had highly regarded campaign modes and this one is no different. You thankfully don’t need to play the previous games to understand the admittedly basic plot, and it’s a very fun puzzle/third-person shooter mode. If single player isn’t your speed then team up with a friend and go play the horde mode Salmon Run. It’s back from Splatoon 2 and just as fun as last time. Finally, if for some reason all of this isn’t appealing to you, then you can give the card game Tableturf Battle a try. It’s a 1v1 card game where you use cards to cover up as much space as possible. You can collect up to 150 cards, and while it’s not quite a deck builder we may see people try to turn it into one.
The best part about all of these modes is that they’re available for the game straight out of the box. Nothing has been held for a patch later down the line, none of these modes feel broken or unbalanced, and instead, it’s just all there available for us to play. It feels like such a rarity today to get a full game experience for only $60, but that’s what Splatoon 3 has given us. There just isn’t really anything else out there like it and it’s a must-have for every Nintendo Switch owner.