Splashing into Splatoon 3

Fans of “Splatoon” have been eagerly awaiting the release of the third installment of the series since its initial announcement in February. 

After over a year of excitement, “Splatoon 3” finally released worldwide Sept. 9 to Nintendo Switch systems. Was the wait worth the hype?

“Splatoon 3” shares many similar mechanics to the older “Splatoon” titles, with the same game modes players have come to know and love, like Turf War and Salmon Run.

It runs smoothly and is, without a doubt, the best title to come from the series, technically speaking. “Splatoon 3” made necessary quality-of-life changes the previous titles were lacking. 

Instead of obnoxiously long loading screens while queuing for matches, players can roam around in the lobby and get some last-minute practice before jumping into battle.

While the core game mechanics are the same as the older titles, “Splatoon 3” updated and polished them. Older players can jump into “Splatoon 3” and use the same skills and techniques from previous titles to hopefully come out of their games victorious. 

Even for older players who might not have picked up the first two games recently, it doesn’t take too long to fall back into a groove in “Splatoon 3.” 

That being said, it would have been nice to see an additional multiplayer game mode added. While it is great to see Turf War, Salmon Run and the ranked game modes return, a new game mode would be nice to see when the game has a $59.99 price tag. 

Salmon Run first made an appearance  in “Splatoon 2,” bringing in a unique experience to the title players couldn’t get from the original “Splatoon.” 

“Splatoon 3” doesn’t have something like that. There are new weapons, slightly updated mechanics and updated visuals, but the online experience plays very similarly to its predecessor.

While a new online game mode would have been nice to see, “Splatoon 3” still feels like a complete game on launch. 

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case with some Nintendo titles, with players feeling games lack core mechanics on release and having to wait for updates before the game feels more full. 

“Splatoon 3” is packed with things to do and additional content previously locked behind paid DLC (downloadable content) was included for free. 

There are two playable races in “Splatoon 3” – the Inklings, which can transform into squids, and the Octoling, which turn into octopi to swim. 

In “Splatoon 2,” playing as an Octoling was exclusive to those with the “Octo Expansion,” retailing for $19.99. However, the DLC came with single-player story quests, and in “Splatoon 3,” playing as an Octoling is purely cosmetic.

While there are no new multiplayer game modes, “Splatoon 3” did add a single-player minigame, where you go up against AI in a card game called Tableturf Battles. It plays a bit like a 2D version of Turf Wars; to win, you take turns competing to have the most ink on the board by the end of the game.

Tableturf Battles will be available for online multiplayer later in a free update. 

Overall, “Splatoon 3” is the fresh coat of paint the series deserved. While there isn’t anything totally new or super innovative about it, “Splatoon 3” stuck to the tried-and-true “Splatoon” formula while cleaning up mechanics and bringing small changes to the game.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0b288f6e-64eb-4bb5-97fd-068a09657075-853x1024.png
Illustration by Malia Savella

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