Splatoon is a third-person shooter video game developed and distributed by Nintendo, the creators of the Super Mario franchise. It is scheduled for release in Japan on 28th May 2015, and in North America and Europe on the 29th.
It plays like paintball in that two teams, comprised of four ‘Inklings’ (characters who can change forms – human and squid), must fill an area with the most paint of their colour in order to win. The game’s name is a blend of ‘splat’ and ‘platoon’, which sounds very comical and cartoony compared to most shooters, which are typically more serious, graphic and violent.
When in human form, Inklings can shoot paint across an arena – in this form, the game plays more like traditional paintball. Visit RaidPaintball.com for more information.
In squid form, players can swim through ink of their team’s colour to hide from opponents, recharge their ink supply. You can also cover areas that would otherwise unreachable in human form (e.g. up walls and towers). Travelling through the opponent’s ink damages and slows down your player in both human and squid form.
Being hit by an opponent’s ink gun will send you back to the respawn point determined at the beginning of the game. However, splatting other players will not gain you any points – it only hinders their progress slightly.
The gaming press has generally positively previewed Splatoon, with some expressing surprise at Nintendo developing a family-friendly shooting game. Metroid could be considered a shooter, but it stems from the old side-scrolling platform games of the last year, and is quite dark in its settings and themes.
Splatoon has been called “Nintendo’s next big thing” and “a reinvention of the shooter genre”.
It may not exactly be Call of Duty or Halo (Nintendo has not included voice chat in the game, showing concerns about the bullying and general negativity of most games with the feature), but Splatoon looks a breath of fresh air with a very different style and gameplay to many of the other shooters out on the market right now.