Splatoon review round-up

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We’ve showered praise on Nintendo’s refreshing take on the online shooter genre in our own Splatoon review, but what’s everyone else saying?

It’s largely positive across the board, with critics praising Nintendo’s refreshing approach to the genre while raising concerns about their decision to roll out so much of the game’s content post-launch.

Splatoon will launch exclusively for Wii U in Japan on May 28th, and everywhere else worldwide on May 29th.

* arstechnica – N/A
“There is a lot to like about Splatoon, we swear. The core experience, with the uzi gun class equipped and lots of puddles to quickly swim through, has no online-gaming peer, while the colorful art style, wiggly squid animations, and DJ-meets-acoustic-guitars soundtrack will charm players who loved the likes of Jet Set Radio. We think this game would be a no-brainer if it received substantive changes, including weapon balancing, range increases, more arenas, more modes, quick loadout-swap options, friend matchmaking, and any form of team communication.”

* Destructoid – 8.5
“In some ways, Splatoon’s online component is disappointing, and the lack of so many features will likely push other shooter fans away. But most of those shortcomings can be forgiven in my mind because of how damn fun it is. As a shooter it’s refreshing, and as a 3D platformer it’s up there with some of Nintendo’s greatest creations. You’ll quickly forget about the fact that you’re playing Turf War over and over as you squid down an alley, leap across a gap, and shoot enemies in the air as you fall. All Nintendo needs to do is keep supporting Splatoon, because the foundation is fantastic.”

* EGM – 8
“Nintendo’s newest cast of characters leaves their mark on the third-person shooter genre in Splatoon, one of the freshest and most exciting competitive multiplayer experiences so far this year. It’s just a shame that we’ll need to wait a few more months for some of the game’s basic functions to be fully implemented.”

* GameSpot – Score Pending
“Online multiplayer aside, the single player campaign does feature a lot of variety, taking you through five worlds filled with minor puzzles, platforming, and some head-to-head matches against the game’s AI-driven baddies, the Octarians. The goal in each level is to reach an electrified fish known as the zap fish, which lies at the end of every level. Though the worlds aren’t differentiated the way they are in so many Nintendo games, with different themes or natural elements giving them a strong identity, the objectives and goals you face along the way make the moment-to-moment gameplay feel fresh. Again, it’s generally easy to make it through most levels, but you will be hard pressed to find the game’s hidden items: Sunken Scrolls. Each one opens up a chapter in the history of the world of Splatoon. Collecting all of them may open up something new in the game, but I need to find a few more before I know whether that’s true or not.”

* Games Radar – 3.5 out of 5
“It breaks my squid-loving heart to be so down on Splatoon, because the core gameplay offered is one of the freshest and most exciting things to come out of Nintendo in years. But I can’t help but feel like this game should have come out three, maybe six months later, when all of the content is finished and included on the disc. As it stands, there’s simply not enough game here on day one to make Splatoon anything more than a weekend curiosity, and there’s no telling whether the content coming down the pipeline will be worth sticking around for.”

* Gametrailers – 8.4

* IGN – Score Pending
“Nintendo’s take on the third-person shooter is refreshingly original, with lots of impressive tools and skillful mobility. Matches are consistently fun and tense, and the mechanics feel simple enough that almost anyone can contribute positively. Splatoon really needs the extra modes and content Nintendo says is coming once a portion of the community levels up a bit, and not having voice chat is a bummer, but what is here feels polished and kept me claiming turf for hours.”

* Metro – 7
“Splatoon is an excellent game, but it’s being held back by some of Nintendo’s mostly woolly-headed thinking since the Virtual Boy. If you’ve ever wondered what an online shooter by Nintendo would be like the answer is amazing. If you’ve ever wondered why Nintendo are always so desperate to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory all we can say is that madness and genius are very often the same thing.”

* Nintendo Life – Score Pending
“In a sea of rock-solid single-player Nintendo experiences Splatoon is a standout as being an utterly sublime multiplayer endeavour. Everything is knitted beautifully and seamlessly together to create what is quite simply some of the most fun you can have online. Having been built specifically for online play it’ll face the challenge of avoiding too many hiccups, but conceptually proves that the Big N is capable of keeping up-to-date with this particular modern gaming trend. The single player elements and the local multiplayer also present a way to enjoy the game when you’re not geared up for the chaos that comes from fighting others online, and provide a useful reprieve if your internet cuts out.”

* Polygon – 8.5
“As of launch, though, Splatoon has enough going for it between the single-player and multiplayer to keep me happy. Nintendo has built two separate gameplay tracks that use the same mechanic yet feel discrete. They’re both a ton of fun, and they both have some obvious areas ripe for improvement. I can’t say whether Splatoon will become the next big franchise for Nintendo, with sequels every generation and spin-offs and endless fanboy buzz. But after this strong debut, it certainly deserves some attention.”

* the Guardian – N/A
“From the basic premise, Splatoon conjures dozens of fresh ideas, combining moving platforms, grids you can slip through, and exploding paint-filled objects. Beautiful and wildly addictive, this joins Mario Kart as one of the finest multiplayer games available.”

* The Jimquisition – 8
“Splatoon may not offer much “content” out of the box, but it does offer enough reason to keep coming back to it, hungry for more. Despite a simple idea and a handful of maps, this eccentric shooter does – as the game’s irritating in-universe TV hosts declare – “stay fresh.” It balances strategy with anarchy in a riveting way, and nails the balance between instant gratification and heartbreak as players obsessively cover their world with color and have to watch as their hard work is consistently overwritten in a way that only makes one more desperate to hit back. Some of the technical aspects of online multiplayer could use an overhaul, particularly the lobbies, but otherwise it’s a smooth ride and a ton of energetic merriment.”

* TheSixthAxis – 8
“In almost all respects, Splatoon is a satisfying game. It’s an online game which is incredibly fun to play, and one which runs really smoothly despite tracking a lot of endlessly changing information. It’s backed up by a really enjoyable single player portion, and from here you can see how people can pour countless hours into this game. It’s all about covering the environment in coloured ink, and yet it’s also so much more than that. It shows, if anything, that even a departure from their main cast can’t stop the streak Nintendo are on right now when it comes to high-quality games.”

* US Gamer – 4 out of 5
“Nintendo takes a chance with this odd, risky rethink of the arena shooter. Splatoon moves away from guns and grit, offering a shooter anyone of any age can enjoy. The game’s single-player is an absolutely amazing puzzle platformer that deserves some expansion. Multiplayer is a bit light on content at launch, but Nintendo is already promising more this summer.”

* VentureBeat – 83 out of 100
“Splatoon is clever, creative, and fun. The multiplayer is a fun twist on the team-based shooter. However, the single-player campaign is surprisingly the best thing in the game. It offers the kind of quality level design you’d expect from a Mario title, but with a healthy dose of shooter mechanics.”

* VideoGamer.com – Score Pending
“We’ll have to wait until launch to see how it performs out in the world, but so far Splatoon is by turns brilliant and frustrating, a Nintendo classic and a missed opportunity.”

* ZTGD – 7
“Splatoon is a novel title that is a blast to play. My biggest concern is longevity. With certain modes and features locked behind players reaching a certain level, I wonder how long its legs truly are. I want it to catch on, but with the paltry Wii U user base, and a quirky new IP at the helm, my fears are that no one will care about Splatoon in a month’s time.”

Written by
After starting out with a Yellow Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Alex once hid in his room to play The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time one Christmas. Now he shares his thoughts on Nintendo Insider, keeping track of everything to do with Nintendo.

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