Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch) Preview

By Jorge Ba-oh 24.01.2017

Review for Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch

One of the fresh titles that's being penned, or shall perhaps 'inked,' for the Nintendo Switch is a brand new chapter in the Splatoon franchise. Splatoon 2 is Nintendo's follow-up to the well-received original IP for Wii U, set to launch this summer with new campaigns, weapons and what appears to be a continuation of the storyline. Can Nintendo take Splatoon to new heights with a Switch release? Cubed3 had a chance to go hands-on with the brand new game during the Nintendo Switch Premiere event in London earlier this month.

Splatoon is one of Nintendo's most recent creations; a completely new concept that deviated from simply popping bullets into enemies and made it something of its own. The aim of the game sounds simple on paper, but in execution is a concept that has plenty of depth and demands plenty of skill to stay on top. Two teams battle for turf supremacy in closed arenas by covering the floor with their coloured ink. It's that simple. Throw in an eclectic arsenal of different weapons, though, the ability to swim through ink, and varying rules, and things start to get messy indeed - in a good way.

Screenshot for Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch

The shooter went viral on the Wii U, with a community that - at its peak - created a new sense of engagement on the otherwise failing hardware. The Miiverse community was brimming with plenty of Splatoon action and continues to maintain a steady following today. Some of Nintendo's experiments in recent years have faded back into their plastic boxes, gathering dust in charity shops, but Splatoon seems to have resonated well enough with fans to get the greenlight for a sequel.

Much like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon can be played in a handful of different ways - off-TV and tethered to the system like a handheld console, using the Switch Pro Controller or with the screen set to table-top mode. It allows for eight players - each with Switch consoles, or some sharing - to come together and play a true local multiplayer for the very first time. The original Wii U release was, for the most part, designed to be Nintendo's online shooter from Day One, with a two-player mode that seemed tacked on. With the new setup, however, local multiplayer is now an option and this is what Nintendo highlighted during the event.

Screenshot for Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch

One of the new weapons, the Dualies, was in full flow with a number of ink rivals opting for these in the handful of sessions sampled with Splatoon 2. These new pistols pack a punch - double and intense - spluttering ink like Princess Peach penning a letter to Mario. Whilst it is frantic, it perhaps lacks some of the meat of the other weapons from the original, but is an interesting addition to the already versatile mix. Another small change is the option to perform a quick dodge/roll, where the character almost leaps to one side, which is a good addition and keeps things a little more focused on the attack, rather than having to constantly try to evade an opponent. A small tweak, but it may see different tactics come into play upon release.

The original roster of weapons - at least the key ones for now - Splattershot, Ink Roller, and Splat Charger make a welcome return this time round, each boasting new special moves that unleash a barrage of damage once built up.

Screenshot for Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch

Visually, this runs and performs just as well as its predecessor. There were no blips or frame-drops during the play sessions, with striking colourful backgrounds and intense ink splatting looking great on both the handheld and TV. With so much action happening at the same time, and a need for pinpoint timing, there were some pre-play concerns that when playing on the go it could well see drops in performance, but it certainly seems well up for the challenge. With Nintendo still skimming around the foreign concept that is anti-alialising, at some points Splatoon 2 does look that bit more engaging on the Switch screen, as well.

Screenshot for Splatoon 2 on Nintendo Switch

Final Thoughts

Splatoon 2 is a contender for multiplayer crown on the Nintendo Switch this year already, with plenty of potential for a solid single-player campaign and a vast array of new weapons and arenas to tuck into. The build Cubed3 sampled felt refined and refreshed, but it was difficult to stamp this particular game as a sequel, rather than a refresh, for now. Time will tell whether Splatoon 2 will earn that follow-up status or swim away with an "expansion" badge. Whatever the case, Splatoon 2 is one to look out for on Nintendo Switch this summer.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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