How Nintendo Created the Ultimate Shooter for Casuals

Splatoon 2 is a very good video game. From what I’ve heard, Splatoon 1 is also a very good video game, but it came out on the crappy Wii U and so next to nobody played it. But Splatoon 2 introduced a huge audience to third-person shooters that actually allow you to learn and reward you for being more than just aggressive by implementing a movement system so ingenious, I’m a little embarrassed no one had thought of it before. Your guns don’t shoot bullets, they shoot paint. And when you get paint on the ground, you can swim.

Okay, there’s a little more to it than that. In multiplayer, your four-player team goes up against another four-player team, competing for one of a few different goals (Turf War, capture the flag, control the zones, etc). Each team has a different color of paint, usually highly contrasting to allow ease of understanding of how the game is playing out. Your weapon’s and throwables’ ink store slowly depletes with use, and once empty, you must dive into your own color in order to refill. While in your own ink, you can swim across the map at a way faster speed than you can run, and while in enemy ink, you are slowed to a crawl. Herein lies the beauty of Splatoon 2: you don’t have to be a sharpshooter to succeed at this game, because missing and hitting the ground actually helps your team. By painting the ground, you not only make it easier for your team to get around, but you also make it harder for the other team to come back.

All of the mechanics feed into this idea of land ownership, not K/D ratios (although, having good kill rates is never a bad thing). There are even modes like Turf War and Rainmaker where splatting other players is a secondary goal, totally avoidable if you get fast enough and good enough. By encouraging an actionable form of team-playing, it makes it easier for beginners to feel like they are contributing, which is a key to making sure they keep coming back. And then by the time they hit the level of play that requires a Particular Set Of Skills, they have grown enough to know that they can keep growing.

Splatoon 2 makes me hesitant to pick up any other online-multiplayer shooter, which just goes to show how good it is. I doubt that any other game can live up to the joy and feeling of accomplishment that I have received from playing it. So I guess I just wanna say, thanks ‘Tendo.

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