Last month, Nintendo released its latest action shooter Splatoon, a family-friendly game that promotes cooperative play. In this game, players choose a customizable Inkling character that can transform into squids and swim through their own ink. The goal of the game is to claim as much turf as possible by splatting opponents and cover the level with their team's coloured ink.
To test out Splatoon, Nintendo generously sent over a Wii U bundle which included the coordinating amiibo set. My little Nintendo kid reviewers were overjoyed to be able to try out some new Wii U games and also play some of their old Wii favourites. Setting up the console was pretty straightforward. The only thing was that we still have an old tube TV so I had to use the AV cable from our old Wii. The Wii U bundle only includes the HDMI cable. Configuring the system was easy enough thanks to the Quick Start Guide but I felt it was a very long process. Either that or I was just plain anxious to get playing. Once the Game Pad and Wii U Pro Controller were paired with the console, we were able to follow the on-screen instructions and then registered using the Nintendo Network ID I had recently set up for our Nintendo 2DS.
My seven-year-old son was the first to try out Splatoon. There are lots of ways to play but he prefers the four-on-four online "Turf War" mode. This is when he gets to team up with players from around the world to cover the most ground with their team’s ink. Using the Wii U GamePad controller, he can see a top-down view of the map as it is covered in ink in real-time. Learning to manoeuvre through the level and getting used to the large controller was tricky for him at first but fun to watch him twist his body as he waved the controller from side to side. Since we've installed the Wii U, Splatoon has been his game of choice and now he is a pro with the GamePad controller.
Me: What do you like most about Splatoon?
Paolo: I like how you can roll over the other characters with the giant paint roller and how you get to play with other teammates.
Me: What do you like the least about the game?
Paolo: I don't like how we sometimes lose. (Insert sad face here.)
The "Ranked Battle" mode uses a player's wins in 4-on-4 multiplayer matches to rank and match players in a highly competitive online battle. In “Battle Dojo,” players can take on friends in a local 1-on-1 battle. One player plays on the GamePad controller, while the other plays on the TV using a separate controller. Whoever pops the most balloons wins! Splatoon also has a single-player campaign that teaches players how to splatter, swim, leap, hide and climb walls, while trying to defeat the Octarian army. And finally, the Splatoon amiibo figures (sold separately) can be used to gain access to special challenge stages. By tapping Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy and Inkling Squid amiibo figures to the GamePad, players can receive special missions to unlock weapons and gear that you won't find anywhere else in the game.