Squids, Kids, Splatfest




If you owned a Wii U it's likely you've played it. If you haven't, you've likely heard of it. If you haven't heard of it, you likely live in a cave. It's post-apocoyptic, crazy, original, and esquire. It's Splatoon.

Splatoon was a creative shooter released  by Nintendo on May, 28th, 2015. It saw you as a kid, also a squid --a squid-kid if you will-- with overtly territorial and aggressive behaviors, murdering the living ink out of each and every thing that's a different color than you. That might not be the best way to describe it, but I've sung my story and I'm stickin' to it.

The game was a great success. It was a shock to everyone that Nintendo released an original IP, because they had a tradition of releasing Mario's, Zelda's, and F-Zero's. Nintendo simply didn't risk investing in a game that might actually flop. However, Splatoon didn't flop. Splatoon soared like a falcon!

A Captain Falcon!

Splatfest - An Overview

Splatoon 2 hasn't released yet so, no, my editor didn't score me a review copy. I'm waiting like every other pleb that without a 30+ subscriber YouTube Channel and a press pass they've printed themselves. Splatoon 2 releases on July 21st, and I know this because my wife has told me. Repeatedly. For about a year now.

Lucky for me, and her, and anyone else whom drop kicked someone else to secure an ever elusive Nintendo Switch, the first Splatfest is Today, July 15th.

"How do you play the Splatfest if the game hasn't even released yet?"
- Me when it was announced

The Splatfest is equivalent to the ARMS Testpunch, DOOM MP Beta, or any other play-before-release event. It starts at 3:00 PM Pacific, that's 5:00 PM Central for us Texans. I'll level with you, it's currently 10:21 AM according to my good-for-nothing Google Home, so feel secure in knowing I do not know what this game contains as of right now. But that will change, and soon.

The Splatfest is a survey, a team based competition, and a huge war between opinions. Basically, the game asks you to answer a "what's better" question. It could be, Autobots or Decepticons, Pizza or Hamburgers, Cake or Ice Cream for example. You pick one, and now you're on Team Decepticon. Every multiplayer match now groups you with fellow Decepticons, and you fight those pesky Autobots. I'm not gonna get into the details of how that works, but basically, more wins for your chosen side, and more people picking your side, is how your side wins.

Splatfest - Kid Friendly, War, & Boobs

The first thing that happens when you start up the demo is that you're presented with two Inklings, innocent looking children with tentacle hair and the faces of British street gangsters. You get to choose between a male and a female, you get to choose your hair style and eye color. The selections aren't a huge list with high variability, like in a modded Skyrim, but are instead functionally concise. You can only pick 4 hair styles, sure, but unlike Mass Effect Andromeda, each one looks good instead of awful.

Can I retcon my review of ME: Andromeda?

The game then takes you through a quick tutorial. I'd love to comment now on things like graphics, sounds, and controls but I am saving that for an actual review of the game. Instead, I want to talk to you about anticipation, excitement, and how the Splatfest actually feels.

Kid Friendly

It's Nintendo, so I think most people expect their games to be kid friendly inteast of nightmarescapes of suffering and destruction. Splatoon is perfectly okay for children to play. It doesn't have nudity, blood, or foul language. Hell, the language is completely made up, like French. Yet there is a depth to its adult themes that sort of surpasses other Nintendo titles.


The game is 2 years old, so you don't even deserve this warning.


The first Splatoon had collectibles revealing the lore of Splatoon. I'm going to paraphrase here. "All the humans died; cephalopods now rule supreme." The story mode sees Octolings, poor sentient creatures that live in subterranean spheres, stealing a giant fish from the Inklings. The fish is electrical, and can power the entire Octoling civilization, and the Inklings obviously don't need the fish. So, you go through the entire campaign stealing their power source back from them, trapping thousands in absolute darkness, for eternity. See? Child friendly!

I'll avoid the crazy implications that come when you consider that this could be a metaphor for economics, racism, and genocide. The game is colorful, it's fun, and it can entertain adults and children alike. Just ask my wife.bSeeing this depth of story building continued is pretty exciting. It's not that the plot is complex or dramatic; it's whimsical and sort of loony.

However, it is unique, and it leaves you thirsty for more. I want to know the details of what happened in Splatoon's history, and that desire is all it truly takes to ensure I pick up the sequel. Congrats, Nintendo, you have me by the balls.

War

War is a pretty central theme to Spatoon. While the Splatfests are masqueraded as a celebration, a festival, they are truly celebrating dominance through lethal force. The whole idea is that you murder people that have a different opinion than you. Like people that prefer Optimus Prime over Starscream. Ugh.

Starscream is Bae.

That's also what makes Splatfest sort of great. It's polarizing, the lobby becomes filled with meme drawings and people's taunts of the other side. You can spend an hour just looking at the ridiculous shit that people draw and be perfectly entertained. Every match starts feeling like a push for victory. Your individual performance gives you individual rewards, but it also has the air of being a part of a bigger picture. Each win you score for your side becomes just a point in a huge, unknowable meta-match.

Boobs


No, that's not a joke. Splatoon had two idols, Callie and Marie. They were child-like Inklings that were the poster children of the two sides of a Splatfest, introducing new map rotations and sometimes waving at you. In Splatoon 2, the Idols are Pearl and Marina.

Marina is a synonym for harbor. Their names are Pearl and Harbor.
Touche', Japan.

The first thing I want you to notice is how absolutely ugly Pearl, the one with the crown is. Now forget about her, because she is the internet's new meme. Focus on the girl with the Octopus tentacle hair and a zipped down jacket. She is... Confusing.

Her skin exposure and cute, endearing attitude has won her everyone's favor, which you can figure out by google imaging her. You can also try it with SafeSearch off, if you are feeling particularly kinky. Even my wife is infatuated with her, which is why I will now shamelessly plug her art.



The Splatfest

It's 5:11 PM, the Splatfest is live, my wife is screaming in my ear, and I'm 3 games deep. If you liked Splatoon, you will love it. Play it. Play it now.

Some minor changes to the game include giving Rudd a kid, so now every time you win or lose, two cats mock you instead of one. Another thing to note is that nothing you earn in this Splatfest will carry over to the game. What a shame.

The lobby music is different, but familiar. The music that plays during the match is even more exciting and invigorating than the original, but it may simply be amplified by the anticipation of playing, along with long term deafness from my wife's shrill screams.

Connections are fast, stable, lag free. That's a big plus. However, the lobby disconnects after almost every match. It's not troublesome for gameplay, but it can add a bit of down time between matches. This is a way for Nintendo to stress test their servers, so it's to be expected.

One of the new maps, Inkling Art Academy, is somewhat plain compared to the winding slopes of Splatoon 1's Skatepark, or the moving platforms of the Museum. I don't know what that says about the game as a whole, because every map being a convoluted obstacle course is a hassle.

I'd love to get into the details of the gameplay, but you should simply play it yourself. Nintendo didn't try to fix what wasn't broken, and that's the smart move. If you have a switch, hop on and join us. It's fun, and we have ice cream.

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