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Splatoon 2 Nintendo Switch Game Review

Reviewed by on Jul 31, 2017
Rating: 4 Star Rating

A sequel to the Wii Us paint based shooter, Splatoon 2 has arrived on the Switch. Read Kidzworlds review to see if the game lands with a satisfying splat or a disappointing thud.

By: Max Cannon

The original Splatoon was a Wii U exclusive take on the shooter genre with a distinct spin that keeps the game feeling very much like a product from Nintendo, for better or for worse. While the main gameplay kept gamers and critics happy, Nintendo's bizarre understanding of online gaming and in-game menus caused its fair share of issues. And as much as I'd like to say that Splatoon 2 escapes those problems, and in small ways it does, but it mostly falls victim to the same issues but on a better platform.

A Family Friendly Shooter

While most shooters are focused on blasting away opponents, which is still part of the main mode, Splatoon's priority number one is to cover as much of the ground in your team's paint as possible. Players have crazy options when it comes to your paint splatting weapons, giant paint-rollers, buckets of ink, and super soaker-esque squirt guns just make up some of the possible weapons to win you a round. The game's main mode, Turf War, is the only online mode available until you reach at least rank 10 and there are only 2 maps available on that mode until rotation begins 2 hours later -- a quicker turnover than 4 hours in the first game.

Splatoon 2 Trailer


Another element to set the game apart is Splatoon 2's mobility. Any part of the map covered in your team's paint, which is an excellent visual aesthetic, can be used to traverse the map as a squid. Holding down ZL will submerge your character into the paint to increase speed and let you sneak up on opponents, you can even swim up walls. While you zip around the world, sneak up on enemies, and cover every square inch of the map in ink, it's easy to forget the very noticeable flaws in Splatoon 2. While not as much of an issue when the Switch is docked, Splatoon 2 's defaulted motion controls felt unintuitive when playing the game in handheld mode. I'm not opposed to motion controls, they're awesome in Breath of the Wild and the PlayStation Vita's Uncharted: Golden Abyss but something doesn't feel right when used in Splatoon 2 when the console is in my hands.

Navigating the Menus

Much like the original game, Splatoon has some pretty serious issues in both matchmaking and in-game menus leading to constant frustration. Your loadout needs to be decided before you start matchmaking because you cannot change it in the middle of a round or while searching for a game, if you're searching for a session you cannot back out until a timer runs out -- the original Splatoon just held you hostage without the roughly 120 second long countdown. One of the most agitating features is the unskippable intro you'll see every time you start the game, this gives important information concerning which maps are in the rotation but it's knowledge that could be given in a much more engaging way, even just presenting it while you're in matchmaking would be more effective.

A gorgeous screen from the game's Salmon Run mode.A gorgeous screen from the game's Salmon Run mode.

Finding your footing in the world isn't exactly organic, for better or for worse. Walking through the main hub and exploring the world's available shops is a bit confusing out of the gate and the game's single player campaign, which is excellent, is hidden underneath a small grate. It's crazy to think that such an important element of the game is hidden in a corner. The gameplay is so solid that it's even more baffling that Nintendo would make it so difficult to get in on the action.

An Inventive Single Player Campaign

Underneath that unassuming grate in the corner of the hub world is one of the best parts of Splatoon 2, a brief single player campaign. As a tutorial of sorts, the game's single player content throws your squid/kid into a series of fresh and inspired levels to test out the guns you'll find in the full online experience. You'll also see some of the most inventive boss fights to ever come out of Nintendo, the first one you'll see is a giant oven full of sinister bread, I couldn't even make that up if I tried.

The traversal really sings in this mode as well, which gives me hope that Nintendo will put its strongest elements in future online maps in the game. Grinding along rails, teleporting with sniper rifles, and a stronger focus on platforming delivers some great gameplay. There's also some fantastic music in these levels that stand tall alongside the best tunes in Nintendo's impressive library. And that's without getting deep into the Salmon Run Co-Op Horde Mode that is light on unique elements but big on highlighting what makes the moment to moment gameplay so great.

An inkling fires their Splat Dualies, one of the most popular weapons.An inkling fires their Splat Dualies, one of the most popular weapons.

Final Thoughts

The meat of Splatoon 2 is fantastic, while the menus and hub that surrounds it is confusing, it's clear that the gameplay reaches the high bar of a Nintendo developed title. The company still doesn't understand how the navigate the online world, to a frustrating degree, but with gameplay this good it's hard to stay mad for long.


  • Great Art Design
  • Fun Gameplay
  • Awesome Single Player


  • Poor Menus
  • Confusing Hub

Splatoon 2 Game Rating:4

Available for Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon 2 Box ArtSplatoon 2 Box Art
Have Your Say!

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