Splatoon 2 Is The First Great Online Nintendo Switch Game

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Splatoon 2 - Inklings
Splatoon 2 Photo: Nintendo

Splatoon 2 is the big Nintendo Switch release for July and looks to bring the charm and ink-splatting action that made the first game, released on the Wii U, a surprise hit and a promising new IP for Nintendo.

I loved the first Splatoon. It was a must-own for me: someone who had a Wii U and wasn’t that interested (or good) at shooters. So I was excited to get my hands on the sequel and to be able to take it on the go with the Switch. But does it live up to the hype and continue the trend of strong first-party games released for the Switch?


Splatoon 2 is a pretty straightforward game. Players are thrust into Inkopolis, a sprawling city where you can walk around and interact with other inklings Various shops and game modes are also on offer.

If you’re familiar with the controls from Splatoon, you’ll feel right at home in the sequel. In fact, playing a shooter on the Switch works surprisingly well, whether it’s in TV or handheld mode.

In handheld mode, the screen is large enough to get the scope of the level of a traditional shooter and the width of the Switch doesn’t obstruct you from hitting the bumpers or any of the buttons.

The only difference you’ll feel depends on whether you want to use the motion controls to aim or just use the analog stick. Splatoon 2 is set to motion controls, so you can use the handheld or the Pro Controller with the Joy Cons attached to aim. However, I prefer to turn the motion controls off especially when I’m in handheld mode to make it easier to lie down and play.

Also, the left Joy Con issue that plagued the first batch of Nintendo Switches hasn’t affected my experience with Splatoon 2. Not to say some won’t have the issue of losing a signal while playing in portable or TV mode, but I didn’t experience any.

splatoon 2 weapons
Some of the new weapons coming to Splatoon 2 Photo: Nintendo

New weapons and sub weapons are introduced in Splatoon 2 and will affect online play drastically, if my time with the game before its general release is any indication. While weapons like the new Splat Dualies are great and give birth to a variety of new team strategies, I couldn’t help but notice how many players online would choose those weapons or another long-range weapon. I hope to see more variety with future updates or when the game is widely released.

There’s a ton of new gear options in Splatoon 2 and with them come abilities. Clothing options are constantly changing every day, so it would behoove players to log in every day. The introduction of Murch does give players a lot of flexibility when it comes to equipping abilities to their favorite gear.

By ditching certain abilities that you gain for your gear in battle, you can add to them to a different gear once you’ve gathered enough chunks. This allows players the freedom to customize their Inkling and gear to their playstyle. But it can be a grind to get enough ability chunks, so be prepared for that.

Graphically, there's a stark difference from the Wii U version. The colors pop more, and the way the characters move around seem very fluid. 


I wrote about my single-player impressions already, but I’ll reiterate that this mode is handled very well in Splatoon 2.

Players will travel through different worlds, with each housing up to six levels to test your proficiency with each weapon. What I loved about the single-player mode was how it forced you to use a certain weapon. This is great for newcomers as it helps them figure out unfamiliar weapon types. Veterans can learn the new weapons while also getting more time with others they may not have used a lot in the first game.

The aforementioned stages within each world are hidden. so players will have to use their weapons and the surrounding terrain to figure out how to access them. Each world acts like its own dungeon puzzle and you’ll get a lot of fun out of figuring out where each stage is.

The stages themselves get increasingly difficult as you make your way through each world. However, the danger of falling off a ledge is greater than what the enemies can do to you, especially as you become better acclimated with the weapons and the controls. With that said, the implementation of the ink ziplines really adds layers to levels as you can ink-slide through the sky. These ziplines can also play a big part in Turf Wars (more on that later).

The bosses are another great aspect of the single-player mode that helps teach players about each weapon and the controls. Each boss will force you to use a different weapon, normally one that will specifically deal with the boss. The difficulty of the bosses are average, but if you haven’t become accustomed to the controls you’ll have a harder time. Still, the the well-designed campaign gradually ratchets up the difficulty and keeps the challenges manageable.

The story of Splatoon 2 takes place two years after the first, but if you’re new to the series (and there will be a lot of you) don’t worry about missing anything important. I won’t spoil it here, but the story makes a point to make players aware when something is a big deal.

My only nitpick is how short Splatoon 2 feels. You can complete the single-player in about 10-15 hours. The campaign doesn’t really do much to flesh out the world of Splatoon, but it is a better experience than the first game. There is also some replayability as you can collect Sardinians and Scrolls while completing each stage with each weapon.


While the single-player mode is pretty good, the online modes in Splatoon 2 are the bread and butter of this title.

Splatoon 2 keeps everything great from the first game. The four-vs.-four combat makes it easy to get enough players to start a game while bringing the perfect number of Inklings onto one map, so that it’s not too crowded or so vast that there’s no action.

There are four different types of online battles and they each offer different ways to play. All of them will offer players of every skill level something to love.

Turf War is the signature match type of Splatoon, letting players go into a map with the goal of inking the most area before time runs out. This is where you’ll spend most of your time and it’s a great way to put the skills learned in the single-player campaign to the test.

Splatoon 2 - Turf War
Splatoon 2 Photo: Photo: Nintendo

Splatoon 2 changes things up with Tower Defense, a mode where one team tries to bring a tower to the opposing team’s goal, while Rainmaker lets teams fight to get the rainmaker and bring it to their opponent’s goal. Rainmaker and Tower Defense are only open to higher-level players, so expect some fierce competition.

Different levels used in each online mode are rotated out daily, and each level has its own flavor. Admittedly, there are some stages that seem very similar (like Starfish Mainstage and The Reef) but other levels seem more fresh and original. These include Moray Towers, which starts your team at the top of a building and you have to go down, and the Sturgeon Shipyard, where construction vehicles move around in the center of the stage.

Splatoon 2 - The Reef
Splatoon 2 Photo: Photo: Nintendo

And then there’s the Salmon Run mode. This is a brand new mode that brings a Survival mode element to Splatoon 2. Teams of up to four must take out waves of new enemies. Gathering eggs can unlock new gear, so you’ll want to play as often as you can.

However, the enemies in Salmon Run are way tougher than the ones you’ll fight in the single-player mode, and the bosses are a lot harder as well. This is especially true if you don’t get four players to join you.

Salmon Run will put you in only a team of two if the matchmaking timer runs out, and you’ll find yourself having a difficult time getting through all three waves, but that difficulty is what makes this mode a ton of fun.


Splatoon 2 is a must-own for the Nintendo Switch. I’ve said that with past first-party games like Zelda and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but Splatoon 2 particularly excels in bringing players together by giving so much to do both offline and online. While many may feel this is just an update of the first game, Splatoon 2 feels bigger with more modes, a more extensive single-player campaign and a ton of new weapons and gear to keep fans continually playing.

I do wish the single-player campaign was a bit tougher and longer, but the online modes are what makes Splatoon 2 great. I’m not even a huge online gamer, but the easily accessible battles make me want to play and get better.

Hopefully, with the release of the game to the public and future updates on stages, gear and especially weapons, the variety of weapons being used online will differ because there were a lot of teams going into battle with the same weapons over and over.

However, the overall experience was great and Splatoon 2 is a game that I will continue to boot up on my Switch for months to come.

Player.One Review Score Card Splatoon2
Splatoon 2 receives a 9/10 rating Photo: Player.One
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