E3 2014 Hands-On: A splash of new IP with Splatoon (Wii U)
This game was a surprise hit for me!
You assume control of these characters called Inklings, and you participate in 4-on-4 matches through Wii U network play (and presumably online). The camera angles can be manipulated by moving the Game Pad using its gyroscope; alternatively, the Right Stick can be used via a menu option. Your goal is to navigate an environment and spray one specific color of ink throughout the floors and walls of a stage, somewhat reminiscent of the FLUDD tool in Super Mario Sunshine, except with ink rather than water.
The layer should fill the stage with as much ink of your team’s color as possible, while fending off the opposing team. If there is enough ink on the ground, then pressing the shoulder button will allow the Inkling to glide through the ink like a squid, all the while refilling your ink supply, which does run out if you are careless. Other players cannot see you gliding through the ink, so you can surprise enemy players, spray them with ink, or throw bombs on them to defeat them.
If you are defeated, you will be returned to an earlier part of the stage, which in the demo was a small industrial town with crates and boxes, all setup like a maze. You can use the Game Pad to find your teammates and get a general feel for the layout of the environment, and pressing a teammate on the map will take you to that player’s location instantly. Once the timer has ended, the game will tally up the total ink splattered throughout the stage, and whichever team’s color has a higher percentage is deemed the winner.
All 8 players’ contributions to the ink volume sprayed are also calculated and ranked. Splatoon is a relatively simple concept, but quite addictive as a multiplayer title. However, the game may not appear to be of much value in single player, so it will be interesting to see where Nintendo does with this title in terms of dedicated single player modes.