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Fresh hands on with Splatoon 3 – Preview

It has been more than 5 years since Splatoon 2 launched on Switch and the third entry in the series has been highly sought after. With the game almost here, Nintendo invited us to their Australian offices to check out the game, including looks at the Return of the Mammalian, Turf War and Salmon Run, so single player, PvP and PvE. While there was a lot we got to see, there are somethings we can’t talk about, so on with what we can.

Rise of the Mammalians

It is funny, but even though Splatoon is focused more on the multiplayer, I always find myself drawn to the single player aspect and the fact that I got to enjoy a good chunk of it early, was a real treat. While we didn’t get to dive deep into the story aspect, why are there hairy octolings around the place, why do you have a small one with you, we did get to enjoy three of the opening stages. The first one played more like a tutorial, with some light puzzle elements and some platforming to enjoy, but it was the second and third where things were great. Right off the bat, the levels themselves, feel more like the Octo Expansion from the second game, with you getting to chose a weapon load out and get an easier or harder time based on whichever weapon you choose. The second stage was mostly just a refresher in combat, with most enemies just running towards me as I got close, but the third was the fun one, as it offered up a new weapon.

This new weapon required some more tactical thinking, because its alternate firing mode, was dependent on if you were jumping or not. Charge up the bow-like Tri-Stringer and you shoot three explosive rounds at once, along a vertical path, however, jump and those shots go horizontal instead. It took some getting used to, because there were new elements that required use of the charged shot and getting the timing right. The charged shot lands and causes some damage, but a second or so later, they explode and cause even more damage, if you time the shot perfectly, you can take down a group of enemies in one go. If you mis-time the shot, like I did quite a bit, the enemies get alerted and start looking around for you and firing back. Beyond the new weapon, most everything else felt quite familiar, climbing up walls and grinding rails, there is more I got to see, but sadly in order to avoid surprises, I can’t talk about it.

Turf War

When you think of Splatoon, there is a fair chance that your first thought will be of Turf War, it is the mode that Nintendo love to show off and is the one that people keep playing online. In my time with the mode, I got to experience one of the new stages, Scorch Gorge and was able to come out on the winning three times, from three matches. If you are reading this and have no idea what Turf War is all about, the basic gist is that the team with the most ground covered in their ink, by the end of the match wins. The first round was a wipe, with my team winning by more than 20% of the ground covered, the second just under 20%, but the final match was so close only 1.4% between the scores. I call out those results, so you can understand just how quickly the tables can be turned on you, it’s crazy, but the best part is the mode is always fun.

Between the rounds, I took some time to check out the new weapons and gear, each of course offering up different buffs for your character. While I would love to be able to breakdown the changes from weapon to weapon, it has been so long since I played any multiplayer Splatoon, that I couldn’t begin to tell you what has changed. What I can tell you is that the new moves, specifically the Squid Surge, make a big difference in getting around. The move is simple, you just hold jump down to charge it up and then once you shine, you let go and surge upwards. While executing it is simple, taking advantage of the height it offers, will take some getting used to, because if you are not prepared for it, you can easily find yourself missing your shots as you fall back to the ground. The other new move, the Squid Roll was not something I attempted to complete, it requires more precise timing and practice, not something I could worry about in a limited time event. After three rounds of Turf War it was time to move on and all I can say is the mode is great fun, it is fast and frenetic and if you were a fan before, you will enjoy this.

Salmon Run Next Wave

The third game mode that we got to enjoy was Salmon Run, now with Splatoon 2, this was the mode I played the least, as they always had random rules as to when it was available. Thankfully in Splatoon 3, it will be available whenever you desire, so no more hoping that the stars have aligned. With the settings in place, we helicoptered in for two rounds of the run and honestly it was a blast, just like the first time it appeared. Both rounds were played on the new stage, Sockeye Station and between each wave, the water level changes, so pathways that were around before, may be removed in the next wave. The egg basket also relocates between waves, but that is not really an issue, as the game will now let you throw your golden egg. Oh yes, I should explain the purpose of Salmon Run is to collect a set number of Golden Eggs in each wave, while more and more enemies swim up onto the stage to take you out. In Splatoon 2, once you had an egg the only option was to swim back to the basket to deposit it and while you can still do that, throwing means you can stay mixed in with the action.

In addition to the new stage, we also got to see some of the new boss type Salmonids, the most common one being the Flipper-Flopper, but the others all showed up as well. By far, the most interesting one was the Fish Stick, a large pillar with some spinning Salmonid attached to the top of it, because as your weapons are randomly provided at the start of each wave, team work was needed in order to take it down. The most dangerous of the new bosses was not the Slammin’ Lid, which given how it can crush you, seems hard to understand, but for me it was Big Shot. This Boss will lob large and heavy items into the stage from somewhere along the edge and they create waves, that can deal damage if they touch you. As the boss can shoot a few of them, if you are not paying attention to where they land, it can catch you and deal a fair amount of hurt. After two games, with victories in both, my time with Salmon Run came to and end, as did my time with the game as a whole.

Splatoon 3 is shaping up to be a great addition to the game, the multiplayer has a very familiar feeling to it, but there are enough surface changes for it to feel fresh, though I am sure pro players will find more changes. The games single player mode seems more in-depth than the past two games and while it does pull some more aspects from the Octo Expansion, there is still plenty of new things to enjoy. Salmon Run being playable whenever is a massive win for the game already and I am sure fans of the mode will be chomping at the bit to get into it. Time with these hands on is never enough and that is the same with this one, but with the upcoming Splatfest and the game launching in a few weeks, the wait is not too much longer for this one.


Splatoon 3 is out on September 9th, but before then we’ve got this weekend’s Splatfest World Premiere, out later this week is the Splatoon 3 OLED Edition Limited Edition console, and there’s even amiibo on the way later this year. As always check out our bargain guide for the cheapest copy of the game, and all the accessories that come with it.

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About The Author
Luke Henderson
So, I have been gaming since controllers only had two buttons and because I wanted to, I started my own site. Now of course, you can find me writing for Vooks as well

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