PAX East 2015: First Impressions—Splatoon

Turns out Splatoon is the game everyone wants to play at PAX East… how do we know this? Because the line has been insanely long every single time we ventured over to the Nintendo booth. Now, that’s not a complaint—that’s a good thing! It’s exciting to see people getting hyped for a shooter-style game coming to the Wii U. It’s a new, strange, rare thing, and we went into the weekend with our fingers crossed that Nintendo could actually deliver on this bizarre squid-kid game that they’ve been pumping.


The first thing you notice about Splatoon is… color. So much color. Explosions of ink everywhere, with the playing field turned into a blobby canvas of ink. It’s visually arresting in the “wow, this is crazy” kind of way. The second thing you notice is that the controls are weird. This is no default twin-stick shooter—your aim comes from a hybrid stick-motion-control method (which is somewhat aggravating to read, I know, bear with me), but in this instance it works. Nintendo has made sure that aiming and staying in battle works with these controls, because the right stick positions you in the correct direction to shoot while the motion controls narrow you in on your target to take the shot. You can, however, change the controls if you like.

The game is going to be something that gets easier with practice, and practice it will certainly require. The matches are fast and the arena requires striking action instead of hanging back if you want to win. Strategic inking seems like it will play a massive role in the game, though in a demo environment it’s difficult to really test out various strategies to see what works best (and trust me, you won’t want to wait in that demo line more than once).

Turning into a squid is definitely all the fun it’s advertised to be, since it allows you to get in and out of danger easily—and it hides you from enemies as you maneuver through the ink around them. Then out and BLAM! Ink to the face.


Players need to balance painting the area and shooting opponents, which gets very hectic—but I think once you get the hang of it, it’ll be incredibly fun. And as we know, there are additional aspects of customization for your character in-game, though in this demo version there wasn’t really time for that. Everyone just wanted to “squid up”, and who can blame them?

This is definitely one to look forward to when it releases this May.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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