Earlier this week I got to spend about an hour and a half with Splatoon 3 ahead of its launch in just a few weeks time. Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest Splatoon person. I loved my time with both the original and Splatoon 2, but I fell off them fairly quickly, not because I didn’t like them, but just because I had other things to move onto at the time.
I got to spend some time with the story mode, play a few battles in the new Turf Wars and also have a few goes at Salmon Run too.
THE SPLATOON 3 STORY MODE
The Splatoon 3 story mode is called Return of the Mammalians and it was described at a great place to start for newcomers to the series, with a number of your abilities being tested as well as a wide variety of guns on offer. It was described as not being as tough as the Octoling expansion.
The single player component felt quite similar to that of Splatoon 2, with the main addition being your new sidekick Smallfry, who you can throw at any given time and also be called back.
I got to check out three levels:
Get to Know Alterna, Your Only Choice
Octopods at Rest Tend to FLIP OUT!
The String’s the Thing
All three were based in the first world called Alterna. The overworld actually reminded me a little bit of Super Mario Sunshine with Fuzzy Ooze surrounding the world. You throw your little sidekick Smallfry at the Fuzzy Ooze in order to get rid of it, with a number of a certain collectable needed to get rid of each part of it. There’s also a good amount of stuff hidden in little nooks and crannies around the overworld for you to find too.
The single player mode teaches you the new moves, in Squid Surge, which allows you to power up your climb on a wall, giving you an extra bit of burst and the Squid Roll which is essentially like a dodge that was super useful for evading enemies and I can see that being hugely useful in the multiplayer modes too.
I only got to experience three levels, but the enemy variety between them was really impressive, with some being downright spooky (this little fuzzy thing below).
Once again, I can’t see Splatoon 3’s story mode changing the world, but I’m glad to see it included. It really feels like it rounds out the package (which is fuller than ever) nicely and I love the idea that it’s a great way to actually try out new weapons and gear that you might be a little bit more cautious to try out in the multiplayer competitive modes.
SPLATOON 3’S TURF WARS MODE
Turf Wars is obviously one of the staples of Splatoon 3 and whilst we didn’t get to try the Tableturf Battles or the brand new tri-colour turf wars, we did get to see a few of the new levels on Scorch Gorge and Eeltail Alley.
Again, I’m not the best person to talk about some of the nuances of these new levels or the smaller changes, but everything felt that little bit more complex in terms of now being able to dodge with the Squid Roll and the even bigger arsenal of weapons at your disposal. It was instant fun, even though I haven’t jumped into Splatoon in a few years, and all matches were competitive.
I got to test out the new weapons including the Splatana Wiper which essentially flicks loads of paint all over the place as well as the Tri-Stringer which is like a glorified bow and arrow that shoots out three canisters of exploding paint at once. It had a really clever mechanic where jumping turns the Tri-Stringer vertical.
SPLATOON 3’S SALMON RUN
Lastly, I got to have a few runs at the new Salmon Run in Splatoon 3. I was a bit fan of Salmon Run in Splatoon 2. I loved that you could jump on at any given time and everything was served up at random, whether that be the bosses or weapons that you use.
The stage we played on was called Sockeye Station and had loads of personality. One of the new additions is now the ability to throw your eggs back to the base, which can literally mean the difference between making it to your quota and not making it.
I got to take on new bosses such as the Slammin’ Lid which is literally a UFO like thing that you need to hit from the top in order to take down.
THE SPLATOON 3 EXPERIENCE
My overall takeaway from Splatoon 3 is that nothing has hugely been re-invented and honestly, it didn’t need to be. What Nintendo has cleverly done is look at how they can improve each mode and add a few new ones to further enhance the whole experience, and I think they’ve done a great job at that.
THE SPLATOON 3 BETA
If Splatoon 3 tickles your fancy and you’re a newcomer to the franchise or a series veteran, there’s a Splatoon 3 Splatfest happening this Sunday and you can download it now.
It’s taking place on the 28th of August from 10:00am AEST to 10:00pm AEST. You’ll get to take part in Turf Wars with the usual 4v4 matches and then in the last four hours , you’ll be able to try out the new three team Splatfests which sounds like it’s going to change it up.
Splatoon 3 launches on September 9th. The cheapest copy is currently $69 with free shipping from Amazon.