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How ‘Splatoon’ Changed The Game For Multiplayer Shooters

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How ‘Splatoon’ Changed The Game For Multiplayer Shooters

Words: Catherine Lewis

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Hey look, it's that squid game that everyone's been talking about! Wait, what do you mean they're not the same thing?

Definitely not to be confused with the survival drama series currently taking the internet by storm, Splatoon made a splash on everyone's favourite Nintendo console, the Wii U, back in 2015, with its sequel (and soon to be threequel) making its home on the Switch. Players control colourful squid-human hybrids called Inklings (or Octolings), who shoot their ink to 'splat' their foes and cover ground in Turf Wars.

But what sets this not-so-horrifying squid game apart from the countless other multiplayer shooters occupying the genre? Honestly, the better question might be what doesn't? To only talk about its cute and colourful exterior would be remiss - in true Nintendo style, the whole concept of these strange, evolved marine lifeforms is so fully realised, and used to completely innovate the gameplay beyond just a quirky coat of paint (literally).

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Splatoon 2 / Credit: Nintendo
Splatoon 2 / Credit: Nintendo

Besides providing a child-friendly substitute for bullets and blood, the ink plays a massive role in providing a completely unique gameplay experience, the likes of which you won't see anywhere else within the genre. As anyone who's played either of the games will know, covering all the surfaces you can in your team's ink colour is vital, regardless of what mode you're playing. The Inklings and Octolings can turn into their aquatic forms by submerging themselves in ink, allowing them to travel quickly between areas and lay in wait to ambush the enemy team. If you'll excuse the pun, the movement becomes so fluid - it's fast, responsive, and undeniably fun.

Aside from the multiplayer modes, the whole world of Splatoon is as vibrant as the Inklings themselves. Both games (and the upcoming third instalment) feature a single-player story mode packed with juicy titbits of lore, including the fact that the games take place in a post-apocalyptic landscape after all of humanity got wiped out due to the sea levels rising. Huh. Kids game!

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Watch the 'Return of the Mammilians' trailer for Splatoon 3, below

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Surprisingly dark undertones aside (and swiftly moving on from the second game's Octo Expansion and its giant blender) Inkopolis is full of quirky and lovable characters, most notably the musical idols. The first game introduced us to the iconic Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie, while the sequel brought us Off the Hook, featuring Pearl and Marina (who are definitely girlfriends and you can't convince me otherwise). Both pairs are super charming and bursting with character, so much so I'll forgive them for hosting those unskippable map announcements every time you turn the game on.

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Of course, you can't talk about the adorable musical cephalopods without giving mention to the series' music in general, all of which comes straight from the albums of various other marine musicians populating the Splatoon world. And it's... interesting, to say the least.

Splatoon 3 is released in 2022 / Credit: Nintendo
Splatoon 3 is released in 2022 / Credit: Nintendo

Composed of garbled sound effects, punchy beats, and completely unintelligible Inkling vocals, the Splatoon OSTs are a, uh, acquired taste, but are just another way that the series immerses itself in its zany concept, to the point where you have players genuinely invested in the music releases of a fictional band of molluscs.

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The Splatoon series is unapologetically loud, vibrant, and weird, but that's what makes it so fantastic. Regardless of any previous experience you might have with multiplayer shooters, I implore you to give this one a shot if you haven't already - it'll have you hooked. I'll see myself out.

This piece is the first in a series looking at outstanding games within a certain genre, exploring what makes them special compared to their peers. Follow the author on Twitter at @NerdyJourno.

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This editorial content is supported by Philips OneBlade. Philips is committed to providing products that fit into every individual's life, to suit every personality's idea of style. Every one of us is unique, and every one of us feels comfortable and confident in different ways - and the flexibility of Philips OneBlade ensures that anyone can express themselves in a way that's all about them. Find more information here.

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

Topics: Philips, Nintendo, Opinion

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