Splatoon Review

 Stay fresh, right? 

At first I thought that the saying was just Nintendo trying to force the suburban hipster aesthetic, but actually, I realize now that staying fresh is Nintendo’s philosophy on Splatoon’s design.

Splatoon began with only four stages. FOUR. A game revolving around multiplayer shooting and only FOUR stages. That is a ridiculously low amount of stages to put in a fully-priced video game. When I realized that there were only four, I was mad. I felt like I had been cheated of my money. Surely, a sixty-dollar game should give me more than that.
Stay fresh!  *insert the goofy hand wiggling of the Squid Sisters* …and yet Splatoon quickly rolled out four new ones over the month-and-a-half since release, along with new weapons. So, OK. Now there are eight stages. It’s better, not perfect, but better.
Nintendo tried to keep people playing by keeping the game fresh, meaning releasing the stages over a course of time. I understand now. I’m not sure I like it, though.

It felt like these stages were either completed before the game’s release and were being withheld, or else Nintendo released an unfinished game.

Mario Kart Wii did something that took from a similar playbook. It had a “challenge” that changed once and awhile. Like, there was a boss UFO thing to fight, but you could only play it for that certain amount of time, then it was gone, unlike how all challenges were available in Mario Kart DS at launch. Why can’t I play that boss whenever? Because Nintendo withholds it and adds it back to keep the game fresh.

Nintendo goes even further with this idea. The single greatest flaw in the game is that only two stages are available per mode for every certain number of hours. Get bored of playing only two stages? Quit playing then! I have no idea why Nintendo chose this. It makes the game get old really quick. Stages should be selected like how Mario Kart U’s voting works. Let the players vote and then randomly select from the votes. I have no idea why Nintendo would intentionally do this stage limit. It only makes players want to quit playing.
The mechanics and gameplay are fun enough. There are major issues, though:

The guns all have really pathetic range. The sniper-type guns are slow and boring. The motion controls are really, really bad. The Wii U gamepad is not essential. Maybe they did this to allow for younger players to get in on the action, but running is a turtle’s crawl. I know you’re supposed to shoot and swim, but the range of the guns makes this mechanic less fun. Speaking of, while traversing the ink as a squid is awesome, I hate that there are so many walls I can’t swim up. They have the yellow-and-black tape on non-swimmable walls, and that feels very unnatural for game design. Why make so many platforms that appear to be perfect places to climb when they are not climbable? I feel like the design of the stages could use some work in that respect. I want my squid-swimming to feel OP and freeing, not severely limited by stage design. On the topic of design, the fact that the squids cannot go in water feels ridiculous. Just… don’t put water in the stages, then.
The last problem I had with Splatoon is the visual design. Most of the stages are bland, for what I’m guessing the reason is that you cover them all in ink anyway. I want weirder levels. Space. Volcano. Jungle. I want more variety. Also, I want to unlock new hairstyles, tattoos, socks, eye-styles, etc. instead of just clothing. Clothing was a good start, but Nintendo ruined clothes by forcing them to have stats. Because of that, my character had to wear the clothes that were good stat boosts, not clothes that were cool looking. 

The Good:

My blog is focused on constructive criticism, but since this has been negative so far, I wanted to say a few good things. I loved the single-player. It was the best part of the game, like a Mario Sunshine 2. The roller weapon is fantastic. I like the special-weapons, too. The kraken and hurricane are my favorites. The extra modes were great additions. I like the “zones” and secure the moving platform modes. Splat-fests were the thing that really made the game fresh. What a fun idea! The Miiverse integrating was the best Nintendo has done. I loved seeing my Miiverse posts as signs around town and especially during Splat-fests.
Also, the core gameplay is really fun and well designed. I enjoy playing, even if my enjoyment is limited by the number of stages that can be played at one time.

What I want from Splatoon 2:

1. Mario Kart U-style stage voting, with no limits on what time of day it is.

2. Classic stages from Splat 1 as the “DLC,” but the actual game needs to release with at least 8 new stages.

3. Better customizations. All the Splatoon kids look alike. Let us buy purely-aesthetic customizations for the characters.

4. Take the stat boosts off clothes and let us have a character skill tree. I want to wear what looks cool, not what gives me better defense.

5. The ability to use a standard controller.

6. Better range for all weapons.

7.  No black-and-yellow tape keeping me from swimming up a wall.

8. Online co-op for single player.

9. More Nintendo-style unlocks. They had a Zapper, but not a Donkey Kong shirt?
10. You should get to keep your Splat-fest shirts.

11. I want to see fewer stages where one can die by falling off the edge. I don’t want to play platforming games while shooting.

12. Weapon/equipment change out between matches.

13. Server playlists, like Rocket League has, with special rules (like, a list where everyone gets a jetpack jump, lists where more than 8 players are allowed, etc)
14. Better servers to kill the lag.

15. Voice chat.

16. More in-session music. I’m sick of the same songs over and over.

17. Online mode for Squids Vs. Octopi People. Just because

18. No day-to-day limit on when you can buy clothes/etc. I hate waiting for a certain pirate shirt to show up. Let me buy it when I want to.

19. A pumpkinhead helmet

OXYBORB.COM Official Review Score for Splatoon: 7.1/10 

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