|System: Wii U|
|Release: May 29, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
There are a few other notable gripes that should have been addressed prior to launch. Local play is limited to only two players. There is no way to cancel out of a multiplayer lobby except by shutting down the system (not even the Home button works). The ability slots on each piece of gear are random, thus forcing you to choose between style or substance. You can only choose your gear while roaming the tiny hub of Inkopolis. You may favor certain weapons on specific stages, so it would be nice to have a loadout option after the stage was selected but before the match begins, allowing you to choose between custom weapon and gear loadouts before each match. Seeing what your teammates have chosen would also eliminate to possibility of every ally wielding the same weapon. Finally, rage quitters should be replaced instantly with an AI controlled player, as losing just a single player makes it nearly impossible to win a match.
Despite these heavy criticisms, Splatoon is simply oozing with personality. The Inklings themselves are cleverly designed, the shopkeepers are an eclectic mix (the sharp-tongued clownfish named Moe that swims around the anemone hair of Annie, the headgear clerk, takes the cake), and the brightly colored palette certainly adds a distinct flair to Nintendo's repertoire of first-party franchises. The music is also a unique and distorted blend, reminiscent of Earthbound at times, but full of quirks. The vocal jabbering also feels pulled from other Nintendo trademarks, very Animalese-like from Animal Crossing but with a hint of the original Star Fox blended in.
The final praise must go to the controls, as Nintendo has once again found that sweet spot (as it typically does). The game offers the traditional dual-stick format, but once you become acclimated to using the GamePad's gyroscope for aiming, you'll find it to be the most responsive choice. The speed of the matches and the speed of the characters are in perfect balance, making those three minute battles the ideal length. With only a few server glitches after countless forays, Nintendo gets a exemplary grade for keeping the action smooth and lag free.
I dove into Splatoon with high expectations and high hopes for the new Nintendo IP. But now, after playing over a hundred matches, I am torn between its pros and cons. For its merit, it has that simple, pure, fun factor that keeps me coming back, even after memorizing every nuance of each board. Yet with a sparse selection of maps, a single match type for each mode, and what feels like a dousing of turpentine on character customization and choice, in the end Splatoon feels like purchasing an expensive gallon of paint, only to crack open the lid and find just a quart of paint within. Nintendo promises to fill that can at no extra charge, but unfortunately that means day one purchasers will go home and start painting, only to feel like the job is half finished.
Date: May 29, 2015