Splatoon 3 - Nintendo Switch
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Splatoon 3 – Nintendo Switch

RRP: £49.99
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RRP £49.99
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Dynamic new moves help these fighters dodge attacks and cover more ground, along with a new bow-shaped weapon to sling ink and new special weapons, such as the scuttling Crab Tank. “Return of the Mammalians” Take control of Agent 3 and fight against the evil Octarian army alongside the New Squidbeak Splatoon in Splatoon 3’s story mode. Discover the secrets of Alter…
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  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Frantic third person shooting action with less of an emphasis on direct combat
  • Really customise your character to match your style
  • Plenty of different ways to play; solo, PvP, PvE

Might Not Like

  • Lack of voice chat can hurt teamwork for top level players
  • Some unlocks are attached to time limited events
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Dynamic new moves help these fighters dodge attacks and cover more ground, along with a new bow-shaped weapon to sling ink and new special weapons, such as the scuttling Crab Tank.

"Return of the Mammalians"
Take control of Agent 3 and fight against the evil Octarian army alongside the New Squidbeak Splatoon in Splatoon 3's story mode. Discover the secrets of Alterna, the Fuzzy Ooze and how it connects to the mode's theme, "Return of the Mammalians".

Salmon Run Next Wave
The Salmonid are back, and they've got some new surprises in store for the Inklings and Octolings in the co-op mode: Salmon Run Next Wave! Stay tuned for more information to be revealed, as Splatoon 3 is scheduled to release for Nintendo Switch in summer 2022.

Splatoon has never been an A-Tier Nintendo franchise, which in my mind is a shame. The first outing on the Wii U was an interesting experiment. A shooter where you don’t necessarily win by shooting each other? Paint me intrigued! Pun very much intended. Splatoon 3 deserves it.

The original was a little threadbare at launch but had some great content added to it as time passed. Splatoon 2 bounded onto the Switch a few years ago and added some nice new features as well as a few new game modes. And here we are now, in the year of our Luigi 2022 with a 3rd entry in the series. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with this since launch, as well as spending a long time in the pre-release test fire, and I’m here to tell you what I think. Stay Fresh!

Inkling Fanboy

Now, as a bit of a disclaimer on impartiality, I like Splatoon. I’m writing this review while wearing a replica of one of the in game shirts. I played it on my switch with my splatoon pro controller and when I was done I put my switch into my Splatoon themed carry case. I really like Splatoon! I’m going to do my best to explain why this game is great and why it may appeal to people who may not be the biggest fans of shooters or playing online.

For those unfamiliar with Splatoon, here is a quick 101. It is a competitive painting game. That is a little facetious, but at its core it kind of is. The main thrust of the Splatoon experience is a team based shooter game. The player takes control of either an Inkling or an Octoling. These are basically anthropomorphic squids or octopus respectively that can switch between humanoid or squidlike form at will. During a Splatoon match, called a Turf War, a 4 vs 4 team of squid kids will face off to try and paint as much of the level in their team’s colour as possible. Your ink ammo is refreshed if you swim as a squid in your own-coloured ink but you take damage and get bogged down in your opponent’s colour. If you paint up the wall, you can now swim up that wall. That gives the game some brilliant verticality. Anyways, you’ve got 3 minutes to paint as much as you can. As soon as the buzzer goes off you will win if more of the stage is in your colour. That’s pretty much the gist of it. You’re more mobile as a squid but you can only shoot as a kid.

Now, obviously. You can just shoot your opponents with your paint if you want to. That’s a very good idea in fact as it takes a player off the field so you can ink more turf unopposed while they are waiting to respawn. But it is not how you win. I’m not great at taking out opponents, but I am pretty good at inking up the place and spotting breaks where I can push behind the other team and start wrecking up their end of the map.

As for maps, there are 2 available in each mode at any one time. They get rotated on the hour so you get something new to try every so often. If you have some favourites I’d recommend using the Splatoon 3 app. It lets you know which stages are entering rotation when as well as having a few extra events and tools for managing and ordering your gear.

Inking Turf

There are also a few other game modes that can be played. These are riffs on classic capture the flag, king of the hill and similar modes. I’ll be honest, I’ve don’t play much of these as I much prefer the standard Turf War mode. It’s not that there is anything inherently bad with them, I just have more fun playing Turf War. There is also a PvE mode called Salmon Run. This was introduced in Splatoon 2 and is thankfully bigger and better in this sequel. In this mode a team of players are tasked with grabbing more and more golden eggs from waves of massive boss monsters. At the end of the timed round if you’ve got enough eggs you move onto the next, harder, round. If not, better luck next time. There is the occasional themed wave where the rules may be switched up a bit. Lastly, there is also an rare mega boss who appears and helps you unlock the rarest stuff for your character.

The single player mode is often a bit overlooked. It’s nowhere near as frantic as the multiplayer mode, but it is great fun. What you’ve got is a series of levels which are sort of themed around a single mechanism each. Like, you may get a level all about using ink rails, or sponges. Something like that. You’ll have to blast from one end to the other to collect eggs which you can then use to unlock the next stage. There are challenge like stages too in Splatoon 3. These may have you eliminating targets within a time limit or dodging attacks. These stages act as a very nice extended tutorial to the main game as they teach you all the best tricks to keep you mobile in online games. And mobility is key.

The single player also has a few RPG elements thrown in this time around. As you get further into the campaign you can upgrade and customise your battle suit with new abilities. It’s not incredibly deep but it is there. You’ve also got the more basic hidden collectables that fill in some of the lore gaps as well as some weird collectables that can be used to decorate your locker. And that’s a nice segue way into the more social aspects of Splatoon.

Stylish Squids

You see, Splatoon 3 (as well as the rest) is a game built on style. The whole idea of the turf wars is to show off how fresh you are. As you rack up more style points you get access to more sought after gear which you can then use to customise your squid kid. These items are not just decoration either. Each bit of clothing has an attribute to help you in battle. Things like, swim faster, carry more ink, that sort of thing. But you also have one more slots to unlock as you use your gear more often. These will then give you extra random boosts. If you don’t like the boosts you can wipe them and start again or place in boosts you want if you’ve removed them from other gear first. This is barely scratching the surface of what is possible, but you can really change up the feel of your character to match your playstyle.

As you walk around the hub world of Splatsville you will see loads of squid kids all dressed up, you can see what gear people use and even order your own version if you’d like. There are banners that are over a bunch of the characters heads where people draw up little cartoons to share. People take this pretty seriously and there are some nice artworks to be seen amongst the scribbles and scraws of untalented hacks like me.

Then there are the aforementioned lockers. You can collect or buy a bunch of items to put in your locker. Other players can then see what you put in there. Now, people have already made this into an artform with many players setting out pretty intricate dioramas. Mostly containing an Easter Island head at the moment. This is one of the things I love about Splatoon. It has a real sense of community despite the fact there are limited forms of communication within the game.

But the ultimate community get together has to be the Splat Fests. These events have players battling on teams to answer the biggest questions. Cake or Ice Cream? Bike or Skateboard? These are the big issues of Splatoon, and you resolve them by inking up your turf! Players pick a side and then over the course of the event, each win they get will give their side some points and then the winning team gets a prize. Things are a little different this time as in the Test Fire beta, and the first proper event since launch, there will be 3 teams in the future Splat Fests. Then there is a new 2 on 1 play style that gets unlocked where the team currently in the lead faces off against the other two. It was a lot of fun, even though my team ultimately came last. Scissors fo’ life, yo. None of that boring rock or paper stuff for me. I did manage to win the second time round with Team Gear.

Looking Good

In terms of the more basic stuff, the game looks and sounds amazing. The levels are bright and distinct and with the colourful inks it’s very easy to get a read on where you are and where you want to go. The music is phenomenal and really matches up the gameplay and aesthetic. Each of the weapon sets plays in its own distinct fashion and there are plenty of options out there to try. The controls are brilliant, and the motion controls are a must if you want to really nail that accuracy.

There are some nice quality of life improvements too. I’m sure anybody who has sat down to play a game of Splatoon in the past has booted up the game only to be faced with an un-skippable cut scene where you have to be told what the current battle stages are, not anymore! You can now minimise it to a text box and get on with the game. Little stuff like this really makes the game more enjoyable and immediate.

The one thing that feels like it’s missing in Splatoon 3 is voice chat. Now, it is possible to use voice chat over the Nintendo online app. But this is clunky at best. This is more a platform limitation than an issue with the game itself though. But it does mean that it can be harder to co-ordinate as a team if you want to grab a bunch of friends and dominate Splatsville. That said, I quite like the lack of voice chat myself. I’ve had too many experiences of having to mute people or listen to abuse while playing online. I kind of like that Splatoon doesn’t really have any of that.

There is also now an in game card game as well. It works like a cross between the main Turf war and Tetris. You’re trying to cover as much of the grid off before your opponent can beat you to it. It’s fun as a little distraction. Lots of events will give you new cards and you can hone your deck to your liking. I’ve not spent much time on this myself, but there are some people who take this stuff really seriously!

Squid Season

As with most online games nowadays, there is a sort of time limited season thing to progress through. In Splatoon 3 you can level up your catalogue by playing matches to unlock a series of unlocks. Now, I’m not normally a fan of things like this. But to me it seems incredibly quick to unlock these things. I’m on track to unlock everything before the season resets. And as much as I like the game, I’m not what you’d call a heavy player.

I’ve seen a lot of people giving Splatoon 3 a bit of grief for not being as much as a monumental leap forward as Splatoon 2 was. It doesn’t help that it has been released on the same system so a lot of people are asking why wasn’t it just an expansion? But if you look under the hood, there are a lot of improvements and tweaks to just about everything that make the game better. Sure, this is evolution over revolution but if Call of Duty and Fifa get a pass, I see no reason why Splatoon should be any different.

Anyways, to wrap up. This was never going to be anything but a glowing review from me. I love this game series and I think it is incredibly underrated. This is the best Splatoon has ever been. And while I can’t guarantee anything, Nintendo’s post launch support could push this to the next level!

Zatu Score


  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Frantic third person shooting action with less of an emphasis on direct combat
  • Really customise your character to match your style
  • Plenty of different ways to play; solo, PvP, PvE

Might not like

  • Lack of voice chat can hurt teamwork for top level players
  • Some unlocks are attached to time limited events