Gamereactor UK. Watch the latest video game trailers, and interviews from the biggest gaming conventions in the world. Gamereactor uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best browsing experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy with our cookies policy

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2

The Inklings return, this time on Nintendo's new console, and while there could have been a touch more content, this still thoroughly entertains.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field

The original Splatoon was a hit on the Wii U, a console that otherwise had its fair share of struggles. It's with that in mind that, via the new Switch, Nintendo has decided to provide us with more in the form of a sequel, Splatoon 2. Just like they did with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, they're bringing the game to new audiences, while also taking advantage of new control systems, but we should place a disclaimer here that, while the game still has the same Splatoon goodness, fans of the original may not find as much new content here as they might like.

So in terms of the premise the game hasn't changed in a major way. You're still an Inkling and your purpose is to, in a number of ways, ink up the place. As we got started on this colourful adventure, we were plopped into the hub world, Inkopolis, which returns from the first game, and here you can access customisation options, weapons, Hero Mode (the single-player portion of the game), lobbies, and generally socialise with other players, either by actually talking or by drawing pictures, playing arcade games, etc. It's a social place that works very well as a kind of home screen, although the long-winded introduction by Marina and Pearl every time we booted up the game we could do without. We get that it's telling you which maps are available at the time, but at least allow us to skip it.

In terms of customisation items, there are six hats, six tops, and six shoes to choose from, all of which have different effects like increasing sub-weapon proficiency or increasing super jump speed. While more options would have been nice, there's enough here to keep people entertained, and considering there'll be more gear, weapons, and stages after launch, we can't be too upset. We're grateful that the effects and visual styles are varied, though, as this was something we really liked about the first game.

This is an ad:

If you're not happy with your selection of abilities, however, you can always go to Murch in Inkopolis, a sea urchin who can both add and remove abilities. This means you can fully tailor your loadout to suit you, rather than choose which is the best out of a predetermined group, and there's every reason to try different combos out.

Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2Splatoon 2Splatoon 2

Another thing that we liked toying around with was the food in the game, as you can visit Crusty Sean's food van in Inkopolis to get boosters for online matches, both for cash and experience, although these aren't something you can just be grabbing willy nilly, they require specific tickets which are pretty rare, so using them isn't to be taken lightly, even if they are particularly useful.

This is an ad:

While there are quite a few clothing options, there are far more when it comes to weapons, as there are 38 to choose from, with different varieties becoming available as you level up. These are split into different categories, such as rollers and chargers, so it's not as if each is totally different and unique, but there's enough choice here to give players an incentive to play multiplayer and level up, especially since each one has different stats, sub-weapons, specials, and points needed for the special.

A good way to get the hang of the weapons is to play through the single-player campaign, otherwise known as the Hero Mode. When we visited Nintendo earlier this month, they told us this was intended to act as a kind of tutorial for the game, as it forces you to use a variety of different weapons over five hub worlds, 27 levels, and five bosses, and they were totally right. By the time you finish with this you'll have a solid idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each weapon, and how to use each to the best of your ability. For example, the rollers can cover ground quickly but aren't great at long range, whereas the hero charger is the opposite, allowing for precision sniping but not a lot of ground coverage, and these lessons can then be applied to the multiplayer.

The Hero Mode provides an entertaining arcade-like campaign, with a straightforward setup (clear all levels in a hub world, then face its boss, rinse and repeat), with a story revolving around the missing Callie, a member of the Squid Sisters It's not, however, going to be a narrative you'll remember. It really is more of an extended tutorial with a loose story to drape over it, and if you take it for what it is, then it's fun for the short time you have with it, but it's not pushing any boundaries.

Splatoon 2

The meat of the Splatoon 2 experience is in multiplayer, though, including the return of the Turf War game mode. When you're ready to dive into a match, all you have to do is jump in the elevator in Inkopolis (or even select it from the menu, if you want to be really quick) and then select either regular, ranked, league, or private battle. As mentioned, Marina and Pearl fill you in on which maps are in rotation at what times when you boot up the game, with the rotation keeping things fresh. This menu is also where you can see which of your friends are playing, to join them in battle, as well as access the online lounge to chat to friends using the Nintendo Switch Online app.

Nintendo has not only thrown in new maps, like The Reef and Humpback Pump Track, but also included some classics from the original, like Walleye Warehouse and Acho-V Games, all of which provide different tactical options. To talk about one of the new additions, though, The Reef is one that's been spotted out in the wild already via the Global Testfire for the game back in March. We appreciated the inclusion of side passages away from the central area with the bridge, which could often be a chaotic bloodbath (inkbath, maybe?). These different avenues ensured not only that attention was divided for both teams, but allowed opportunities for some seriously satisfying flanking, as getting into the enemy's base to ink all their turf while they've pushed up is a real slap in the face.

Humpback Pump Track is a particularly interesting map as well, as we felt that there were far fewer climbable walls than in some of the others, meaning that enemies were often above you and you couldn't get up to them. Covering your tracks (literally in some cases) was a must, then, as enemies on the high ground hold a significant advantage, being safer and getting an overview of where they can get the drop on people. The central part of the map is raised on a ramp, though, and acts as a kind of King of the Hill spot for teams that told dominance over it.

Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2

A brand new feature in Splatoon 2 is the new co-operative mode called Salmon Run. Here you and up to three friends take to an arena to fend off three waves of angry salmon, as well as a number of bigger bosses, but there's a catch: you also have to collect eggs before the time runs out, and these are dropped by the bosses. If this sounds like Horde mode to you, that's because it's very similar in principle, and it's good to get some co-op modes as well as the multiplayer action.

The bosses in this mode keep you on your toes, as they have a variety of attacks and weaknesses you need to exploit. One, for instance, is a floating robot snake that rains enemy ink wherever it goes, and to defeat it you need to shoot off the different segments of its tail. If one of you dies, though, there's always the opportunity to revive them as well, so it's a little forgiving in that sense (especially since you can move yourself around in death via a life ring), but if you choose to enter an arena on a high difficulty, the challenge dramatically increases, regardless of how forgiving the revive system is.

Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2Splatoon 2

What may be the big issue for returning fans is that Splatoon 2 feels a little unambitious when considered on the terms that it has been presented. The maps, for example, are largely recycled from the first, Turf War is the same, and it feels very much the same as the first when you play it as well. In this sense, Splatoon 2 instead feels like a Splatoon 1.5, or a Splatoon 2017, i.e. an iterative build on what made the first game so good, bringing this to new audiences while adding little bits to the foundations already laid down.

Granted, there are big new additions, like Salmon Run, some brand new weapons, and Hero mode, but all in all these are extra bells and whistles and don't change the game up drastically. The social side is also dwelled upon more, what with things like Splatfests (requiring you to choose a side i.e. ice cream or cake, and then battle it out for a winner), the Nintendo Switch Online App, and Inkopolis, but this may not be enough to draw in fans who already own and have had a lot of fun with the original.

Splatoon was good when it landed the first time around, and so is this sequel, it's just that we would have liked to have seen the boat pushed out a little further. Regardless, what is here is ink-redibly fun, even the short Hero Mode/tutorial, and the multiplayer is just as gripping, spiced up in part by new maps and weapons thrown in for good measure. We had a lot of fun with our time in the game, and we can imagine a lot of Switch users will too, although returning players, those who painted the town red on Wii U, will have to weigh up for themselves whether there's enough to warrant the upgrade.

Splatoon 2Splatoon 2
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
Builds upon the solid gameplay of the first, Very fun maps, Lots of weapon variety, Customisation options are fun, Salmon Run is an entertaining new co-op mode.
Fans of the first game might not find too much new content to enjoy, Unskippable sequences.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

Related texts

Splatoon 2 - Octo ExpansionScore

Splatoon 2 - Octo Expansion

REVIEW. Written by Juan A. Fonseca

"Each mission with Agent 8 is better than any solo Splatoon content we've seen before, not only in terms of design and creativity but also in terms of difficulty."

Splatoon 2Score

Splatoon 2

REVIEW. Written by Sam Bishop

"We had a lot of fun with our time in the game, although returning players will have to weigh up for themselves whether there's enough to warrant the upgrade."

Loading next content