Splatoon “Splashes Down” with a fresh, third title


Celine Gharapetian

Splatoon 3’s interactive homescreen.

Seven years ago on May 28, 2015, Nintendo decided to stray away from their usual single player action adventure genre of games and released a new, cartoonish 3rd-person shooter titled Splatoon. Featuring the Inklings, a race of squid teens, the game borrowed the team-based shooter idea that most popular video games used at that time and added its own unique twist to the game.

Instead of the Inklings using machine guns and grenades to obliterate the other team, they use paintball guns filled with colorful ink to splatter down their enemies, creating a more vibrant and enjoyable third person shooter game. Players welcomed the game developers’ imaginative ideas, leading to the success of the game and its establishment as a staple franchise in the Nintendo world – with a second installment titled Splatoon 2 releasing for the brand new Nintendo Switch on July 21, 2017.

As a franchise, Nintendo’s Splatoon has had multiple criticisms through its past two games in the series, one of these being how stale the two main game modes became after being continuously played. As fun as the four vs four multiplayer Turf War mode is, it can get tiring to play since it’s mostly the same experience each time. The single player campaign was similarly lackluster: built like a  longer tutorial with some story elements,  it had few, if any, special features.

Splatoon 2 attempted to fix this issue by adding a new game mode called Salmon Run, a co-op mode where 1-4 players have to defeat enemies called Salmonids and collect their eggs; however, this mode was only available during certain hours a day, which prevented most players from fully enjoying it. Even with new maps and weapons being added, the same issue from Splatoon continued since few changes were made to the game modes.

After Splatoon 2 servers’ early shutdown in 2021, most fans thought that it was the end of the franchise until the release of Nintendo’s next generation console. To many fans’ surprise however, Splatoon 3 launched on September 9, 2022 with a ‘Booyah!’, and many of these known problems were fixed in the recent release.

One of the biggest welcome changes that Splatoon 3 addressed was making the Salmon Run mode permanent and not a limited hour game mode. This change helps out tremendously since now more players can enjoy an entirely different experience at any time of the day instead of having nothing new to do. What’s more is that the single player campaign has not been thrown away as an afterthought and has a more intriguing story and lore behind it, keeping players engaged and interested in completing it.

Besides those two main changes, there have also been many smaller quality of life changes to help make the game run more smoothly and feel more polished than it was before. In the past two games players had to get out of the game menu to change their gear and weapons, but now they can finally quickly change whatever they want while they are waiting for a new game to load. Improvements in the game’s graphics have also helped the game to look cleaner and brand new even though most of the game mechanics have stayed the same since the first game.

Another way Splatoon 3 manages to still keep its returning players interested is by creating a new original virtual card game called Tableturf which is basically a mini version of Splatoon’s original Turf War mode. This new minigame allows two players to go one on one against each other and try to “paint” as much of their territory as possible in their designated area by using cards with different shapes to cover their territory.
Splatoon 3 has done a great job in addressing most of the biggest issues that players have been complaining about over the years while still managing to keep the game fresh and new, allowing returning players to still come back to the game as well as inviting in new players. Splatoon 3’s immediate success shows that the Splatoon franchise still continues to be a fan favorite and will hopefully continue on with new games in the future.