I must admit, having seen gameplay of the original Splatoon that released on the Wii U back in 2015 and despite it gaining some very favourable reviews, it never really caught much of my attention.  I’m not sure why that was exactly, was it to kiddie? Or was it simply that even though I own a Wii U, I never had much passion for the failed console.  However, upon seeing much of its sequels gameplay videos for the Nintendo Switch as well as not having many appealing options during Nintendo’s newest consoles life, I thought I’d take a chance on the game I’ve been hearing so much about.  So with that said, I happy to eat some humble pie and admit that Splatoon 2 is a fantastic game that has far exceeded my expectations.

Other than its bright and colourful world and characters, one of the first things that dawned upon me when playing Splatoon 2 was the realisation of how much fun I was having within minutes of getting into the action and in essence, what better purpose is there for playing any videogame?  The chances are that the most of the time you’ll find yourself playing Splatoon 2’s online modes.  However, before you can get into the thick of the action with the multiplayer modes that Splatoon 2 has to offer, you’ll have to get yourself to Rank 10.  Before then the only online mode available is Turf War, which is a popular returning mode from the original game.

In Turf War, you and your opposing team have three minutes to colour-in as much of the map as possible in your teams colours.  By the end of the match the team that covers most of the map in their colours wins.  It may sound like a very basic premise, but that is where the true beauty lies within Splatoon 2.  It’s a simple concept that just about any gamer of any age can master and in its three-minute bite-sized chunks, it gives you that “one more game” feeling and before long, you’ll quickly find yourself investing a lot of gaming hours into this highly addictive and fun mode.  Having spent a lot of gaming hours in other shooters such as Call of Duty, Destiny, it makes a refreshing change to find an online game that I can just kick back to and relax, instead of being overly intense on the edge of my sofa.  But don’t get me wrong, Turf Wars still has that competitive edge that will have you striving to win each and every match.

Once you reach Rank 10, you’ll then have access to Splatoon 2’s other multiplayer modes that make a return from the original game such as Splat Zones, where you’ll be required to maintain a selected area of your map in your teams colours and you must do whatever you can from stopping the opposing team from taking over that zone.  In its own kind of way, Splat Zones is very much like Control in Destiny or Domination from Call of Duty in my opinion.

Tower Control is like a spin on the Turf Wars formula, only in this mode you’ll have a moving tower that you’ll be able to ride in the hope of taking it into enemy territory to cover the opposing teams base in your teams colours.  It is also the job of the three remaining team members not riding the Tower to defend the player that is. Then you have Rainmaker.  In Rainmaker you must acquire a special weapon called the ‘Rainmaker’ and attempt to take it into the enemy base to score you extra points.  The team that carries the Rainmaker for the longest distance come the end of the match, wins.  You can also participate in League Battles where you are your team of Inklings can compete together in an online league as you attempt to climb the ranks across a variety of modes.  However, you can only access League Battles once you reach Rank B or higher, which I am yet to achieve at the time of writing.

During each and every mode you have control of two playable forms, a human and squid form.  As a human you’ll be running, jumping and splatting paint over the map, but in doing so you’ll soon run out of ink aka ammo.  When that happens, by turning into a squid, you’ll be able to refill your ink supplies.  However, turning into a squid has other advantages, such as being able to move more quickly across the map and to higher vantage points, as well as being able to escape enemy fire and if you work as a team, ambush the opposing team if you can.

Whichever mode you play, once you cover enough turf with your paint without getting killed, depending on the weapon you are armed with, you’ll be able to activate a special move, which will vary depending on the weapon that you are using.  This can vary from jetpacks, mines, missiles and more.  Acquiring weapons will be done so via one the vendors at Inkopolis Square (the games social hub if you will), which can range from rapid fire machine gun types, to shotgun and sniper types and even duel wielded pistols, it is also possible to level-up your favourite weapons.  Other vendors will also sell a variety of clothing and accessories.  As well as each looking different from the last, they will also have power-ups to unlock.  More weapons, clothing and accessories will unlock at the vendors as you rank up in the online modes, the more expensive the item, the greater benefits you will receive.

Of course away from the addictively fun multiplayer modes, Splatoon 2 has a singleplayer campaign known as Hero Mode.  Now I’ve heard people say this at least with the original game, that the single player mode is a glorified training regime and suppose in many ways that can be considered true, but to overlook Splatoon 2’s Hero Mode as a “glorified training mode” would be a mistake.  Yes, this is a great mode to learn the gameplay basics, as well as finding what weapons you prefer, but in Hero Mode I also found a campaign that has fantastic platforming segments and puzzle solving with some well throughout boss battles.  While I admit that for me at least, the online mode is where most of my time will be spent, if you’re out and about with no online connection, Hero Mode is a fantastic way to have fun on the go which offers replay value as you return back to your favourite stages to reach missed items and to beat your previous best completion times.

There is also a new mode introduced with Splatoon 2 and that is Salmon Run.  This mode is basically a co-operative waved-based survival mode, playable with 2-4 players.  Salmon Run will be played over three rounds, in which the team must defeat Salmonids in order to collect Power and Golden Eggs, if you collect enough eggs by the end of each round, you will progress to the next, with each round increasing in difficulty.  I know wave-based modes are very generic in this era, but with Splatoon 2’s high emphasis on fun, if you can get three players to join your team (co-op with friends is always best) and with various gimmicks promised to be added to this mode over due course, there’s certainly a lot of fun to be had with Salmon Run that fits well into the Splatoon 2 formula.

If I was to have some criticism of Splatoon 2 (and every game does have them no matter how great), it does seem to be quite a slog to reach that Rank 10 that allows you to access the more competitive matches, which also comes with greater rewards.  You can purchase certain boosts via in-game tokens, but even still, I wish you’d earn that little more XP to level-up online to make the grind a little less gruelling.

With all of that said, while I had some hopes going into Splatoon 2, I did not expect to have this level of fun.  It’s a game that welcomes all levels of abilities and aside from higher level players having earned the right to purchase better weaponry, the playing field feels quite level and aside from its highly addictive multiplayer modes, its singleplayer campaign should also not be overlooked.  I never thought I’d ever say this, but Splatoon 2 has found its way to becoming one of my favourite shooters to release this year and when I feel like an alternative to the soon to be released Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: WWII, Splatoon 2 will be one of my select go-to online shooters this year and beyond.  In a nutshell, this is one of my favourite games to release in this already quality packed 2017 and if you own a Nintendo Switch, Splatoon 2 is certainly a must own title.