The first two Splatoon games had a fun blend of single-player mode goodness and online multiplayer madness. And while not a lot has changed since those first two runs with the squid kids, Splatoon 3 still provides a fun experience that builds upon what was previously great. Although a bit of repetitiveness can be felt playing through both the campaign and online modes, none of it is executed in a mediocre fashion. More Splatoon isn’t a bad thing, nor should it feel like it.
The story of the game mostly takes place in the underground city of Alterna, where key events have taken place and covered the entire area in a fuzzy substance. Players are tasked by Craig Cuttlefish to explore the area and battle the Octarians roaming the area, with hopes of uncovering the truth of what happened. Interestingly enough, a lot of familiar faces from the first two games make an appearance and impact the plot in ways that long-time fans will find interesting. If you’ve been following the lore of Splatoon since the beginning, you’ll have a lot of interesting developments that further build up the universe. Although everyone else who never resonated with the story of Splatoon won’t find much to convince them to become more interested.
But just because the story won’t be for everyone, that doesn’t mean playing the campaign missions are any less fun. Once you go down the drain from the city, Alterna is a vast area to explore. Completing missions rewards you with squid eggs to spend on opening new areas and pipes to entirely new sections of Alterna. Being able to go to different areas at any time within a given section give players some freedom to move around at their leisure while completing missions. You can even cover the ground in paint, which rewards you with experience for skill points towards new skills.
Speaking of which, the skill tree for your character is just ok. It’s not a deep progression system but does require you to find extra items and gather skill points to obtain better passive abilities. You do this by completing missions, finding items hidden within Alterna, and gaining bits of experience from splatting the area in paint. Are the abilities worth the work? Not entirely, mostly because you won’t feel their effects until you open up much of the skill tree. You can go for a long time without unlocking skills and feel like not much has changed with your overall abilities. They do help eventually, but it doesn’t feel like it immediately upon unlocking parts of the skill tree.
Missions are pretty straightforward and very similar to the previous Splatoon games. You’ll dive into a drain and be dropped into a new area where you’ll have to accomplish a goal. This can be reaching a certain area or finding something specific, sometimes with certain criteria. This also includes boss battles, which are more of a highlight due to how unique each boss encounter will be. However, you’ll get to choose what weapon you wield in some missions, which can open up replayability for more rewards. Things will definitely get repetitive at some point, especially when you’re replaying missions for extra rewards to gather enough to open new sections of Alterna.
Does this alone make Splatoon 3 worth diving into? Probably not… but luckily for everyone the multiplayer provides a lot more game time. If you’ve played the online multiplayer modes of the previous games, then you’ll know what to expect here. Not much is different, but it’s no less fun in comparison. New maps to dive into, more weapons to use against enemy teams, and lots of paint to throw around with everyone online.
Matches include regular Turf War matches and Clam Blitz, which include covering the area with paint and gathering golden clams more than the enemy team. Online these matches can be done with Regular or Competitive matches, which will change up the pool of players you get matched with.
Are the online modes balanced enough to keep you coming back for more? Yes, but you’ll need to play a lot of matches to open up more weapons to switch between when you want variety in your games. Those that put in a lot of time will unlock plenty of gear and weapons to give themselves a great loadout that will give them an edge over others.
It can be a little frustrating facing other players who clearly have put in more time online, but the matchmaking is pretty good at pairing up everyone with similar skill levels overall. How much you get out of the online multiplayer will mostly depend on personal enjoyment with online modes, which will be different for everyone. But if you stick with it, there’s an endless amount of games to enjoy here.
And yet there’s more within Splatoon 3 that will keep players busy. The Salmon Run is a PVE mode that allows everyone to team up and take out groups of enemies together. Tougher enemies attack in waves as players gathers golden eggs along the way, with pretty vicious baddies showing up every now and then.
Different events within the mode will keep things feeling fresh as the team works together against each new challenge. It’s a fun mode to try out with friends if you want to get away from online competitive multiplayer.
The biggest thing that can be said about Splatoon 3 is that it doesn’t change the core formula from the previous games. It gives everyone more of the same gameplay that worked out great but manages to add in a few extra things that feel new. The repetitiveness of missions and what you do is still there but isn’t a bother enough to ruin the whole package Splatoon 3 offers players. Not only is everything fun to engage with but a lot of fun to come back to multiple times, especially if you enjoy playing with others.
What are your thoughts about Splatoon 3? Have you picked it up for the Nintendo Switch yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
This game is fun to play, both alone and online with other people. Things can get a little bit repetitive at times, and the online match experiences will vary for some people. But the overall package and amount of content offered here is very solid and will make a great pickup for anyone.