As Splatoon is primarily a multiplayer- based game, there is not much of a plot. However, the plot of the single- player campaign is as follows:
The protagonist, wearing the Hero Suit, travels through an underground world. The Octopus Army Corps, hoping to invade the Squid’s world, built an underground facility.
The game is an local/online 2- 4-player team shooter where the players try to take territory by splashing ink on the map. When the player is on their team's ink, the player can transform into a squid and travel inside the ink, which is twice as fast than if the player just walked on it. However, if the player is on the enemy's ink, the player moves slowly, and a paint effect appears the TV screen, similar to the blooper's ink effect in past Mario Kart games. You can also tap your team's icon to Super Jump to them, making it handy for ambushes. There is a variety of weapons for the Inklings to use as their main and sub weapons. The game also has "super weapons", which are more powerful than the normal weapons. (Ex. the Inkzooka or Bubbler).
After three minutes, the match ends, and the team that has covered the most territory with ink wins. These matches are judged by a cat named Judd.
Between sessions, the player wanders in a plaza area named Inkopolis. There are other Inklings in the plaza based on player's own inklings and Miiverse posts. There are a couple shops where the player can buy weapons and customizations for their Inkling. They then can go to the mode of their choosing. These modes include Battle Dojo, a one- on- one local/ online mode in which the goal is to deflate as many balloons as possible; Ranked Battle, in which there are several variations on Turf War that you can choose from; the single- player campaign, in which you battle the rivals of the Inklings, the Octarians; and amiibo challenges, in which you can use the upcoming Splatoon amiibo to unlock challenges.
There are a massive variety of weapons in Splatoon, though they are locked into bundles of a Main Weapon, Subweapon and a Super Weapon that charges as the player fires ink.
Weapons are divided into three main categories: the Shooter, which is akin to a pistol. It fires globs of ink in quick succession. There is also the Roller, which sacrifices range and speed for painting capabilities, and the Charger, which requires a charge to be shot, but has excellent range. It is akin to a sniper rifle from other TPS and FPS games, with some of them even having scopes.
The game currently rotates these maps.
- Urchin Underpass
- Saltspray Rig
- Walleye Warehouse
- Blackbelly Skatepark
- Arowana Mall
- Bluefin Depot
- Kelp Dome
- Port Mackerel
These maps will be added sometime later for free.
The game is divided into two main distinctions for Multiplayer. There is the unranked Multiplayer, that consists of the game mode Turf War. The other is Ranked Battle, which consists of the other modes; Splat Zones, Tower Control and Rainmaker. Ranked Battles require a minimum level of 10 to be able to be used.
There is also a local multiplayer mode called Battle Dojo. It's only two players, with one on the GamePad and the other on the TV screen. The two compete to see who pops the most balloons.
Inkopolis is the hub which the player uses to access the different modes. It also features an area called Booyah Base, which contains the shops.
The single-player is called Octo Valley and the player fights against the Octarian army in underground biospheres. The Octarian army has a variety of units at their disposal as well as series of platforming challenges. The Inkling puts on the Hero Suit and ventures to rescue the Zapfish in each level.
These are accessed with the arcade machine in the plaza or waiting for a match in multiplayer. There are 4 minigames. 3 of them are unlocked by completing the amiibo challenges.
This is one of the first games put together by Nintendo's "garage" initiative, a program to get younger developers to create their own games.
The game originally started as a prototype with "tofu-like" characters firing ink. The characters later turned into rabbits and then, finally squids in 2014. At first, they were human-like squids but the designs were finalized as squid-like humans. The game didn't originally have the walls being paintable but, that was changed when they added the ability to swim in ink. According to the devs, the E3 demo was "10% complete" of the game.
The reception is mostly moderately positive, landing a 81 on Metacritic. Most of the critics like the original take on a shooter, the game took as well as the fleshed out single-player. The ones who didn't like it that much criticized the lack of traditional shooter features and lack of maps and modes.
In sales, Splatoon was a reasonable success selling 1 million copies by June 23, 2015. The breakdown was 476,000 in North America, 368,000 in Japan, 230,000 in Europe, and 20,000 in Australia and New Zealand.
- Drawings from Miiverse are integrated all over the game, from speech bubbles from Inklings, to billboards in the maps to the graffiti throughout the maps and Inkopolis Plaza.