The player takes control of an unnamed Inkling during the events of the single- player campaign.
The game takes place after a strange UFO takes the Great Zapfish from Inkopolis Tower. The player travels through an underground facility built by the Octarian race, attempting to take back the Great Zapfish from the Octarians.
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 includes "special weapons", which are more powerful than the normal weapons. (Ex. the Inkzooka, Bubbler, or Kraken).
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 that are the Inklings of the people you have played with. The Inklings display Miiverse posts and stats about the gear and weapons they've used.
The player can choose from a selection of modes to play. 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 three modes to play that rotate with the maps; Octo Valley, 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 each locked into weapon sets, which include a Main Weapon (Shooter, Roller, Charger, Slosher, and Splattling), Subweapon (Basically an item) and a Special Weapon. (Accessible once you have inked enough turf to fill your special meter)
Weapons are divided into 5 main categories: the Shooter, which is akin to a standard weapon. It's a gun that fires globs of ink in quick succession. The Roller, which is akin to a melee weapon. It's an oversized paint roller that is useful in spreading ink. The Charger, which is akin to a sniper rifle. It is useful for splatting enemies from a distance, but requires a charge in order to reach it's max distance/power. The Slosher, which is akin to a grenade launcher. It's a bucket that can be angled in any direction to throw a massive amount of ink. Finally, the Splattling, which is akin to a minigun. It fires a large amount of ink, but must be charged in order to increase the amount of time it can shoot at once.
The game currently rotates these maps.
- Urchin Underpass
- Saltspray Rig
- Walleye Warehouse
- Blackbelly Skatepark
- Arowana Mall
- Bluefin Depot
- Kelp Dome
- Port Mackerel
- Camp Triggerfish
- Moray Towers
- Flounder Heights
- Museum d’Alfonsino
New maps will be added within the next few months, inluding Mahi-Mahi Resort.
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 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 developers, the E3 demo was a "10% complete" version of the game.
The reception was mostly positive, landing a 81 on Metacritic. Most critics were especially positive on the game's unique take on the shooter genre, as well as its singleplayer mode. However, a lot of reviewers criticized the initial lack of content in the game, along with the lack of some traditional shooter features, such as the lack of voice chat among other things.
Sales wise, 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. As of July 29th, Splatoon has sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide.
- 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.