Splatoon 3 review: Multiplayer madness on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo /

Title: Splatoon 3
Developer: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: September 9, 2022

Well, it’s been almost a month since Splatoon 3, giving it time to stretch its wings and get off the ground. I’ve spent the last few weeks tearing through every single aspect of the game, seeing everything it has to offer.

Splatoon 3 is pretty similar to Splatoon 2 in a lot of ways so don’t expect a reinvention of the wheel. While this could be considered a letdown for many games, Splatoon 3 takes what was already an excellent game and improves on it.

The only real new mode they’ve added to the game is Tableturf Battle. This card game, that also kind of looks like Tetris, is a fairly interesting addition to the game but, bafflingly, leaves out the ability to play with real people. It’s a weird decision for a game focused on multiplayer

Tableturf Battle is a bad mode, all things considered. It’s a fairly fun time waster that offers a few unlocks. But there’s really nothing to it graphically. It’s as barebones as you can get.

As for the returning modes in Splatoon 3, well, that’s where the game truly shines.

Turf War

Turf War is the main draw of Splatoon. Regardless of what other modes Nintendo adds, unless it’s something miraculous and world-changing, Turf War is always going to be the main thing people come to Splatoon for and that is fine. It’s a working wheel that doesn’t need to be fixed.

Turf War, as always, involves your team of four with one color ink going against another team of four with different color ink. In a few minutes, you have to see who can ink more of the stage.

The things that lay out ink come in a variety of styles and alter how you can lay out ink all over the stage. These also work as weapons as you can send an enemy back to their base by “splatting” them with your ink.

It’s a fast-paced, hectic mode that feels absolutely incredible when your team is doing well and teaches you a new type of anger when you are not. Of course, a lot of that would be alleviated if y’all would just ink the home base but… that’s a different article.

In Splatoon 3, the maps have a wider variety of areas with their own bits that make them interesting. One or two playthroughs will have you find a spot that works to your play style and little tricks hidden all over to really get comfortable. It’s a massive improvement over the second game as it doesn’t have a lot of stages with huge open areas leading to a lot fewer snipers setting up tents somewhere.

Story Mode

One of my personal favorite parts of the last two Splatoon games was the story modes. In these, you get to learn more about the lore of the world. It’s a story that more closely follows the manga which, like all Nintendo mangas, is INSANE.

Splatoon 3’s story mode is easily the craziest though. In this mode, you complete various single-player stages with different goals in order to make your way to the middle of the map while finding out what happened to humans and where Inklings came from. If you find yourself unable to unlock all the logs, as they’re difficult to get, I got you.

These stages can be anything from “get to point A to point B while dealing with enemies” to “rail slide a massive rail while shooting every target that passes you” to “we’re going to fill a small room with shockwave generating enemies, and you must dodge all of them until the time goes out and try not to lose your mind.”

I really enjoyed the story mode. There are a lot of new mechanics to play with and a lot more secrets to uncover. And I really enjoyed completing the log. My only complaint is that there are a lot fewer boss battles.

I personally loved the weird boss battles of the previous games. And while I absolutely love Deep Cut and battling them, and love the incredibly insane final boss, it’s annoying that half the worlds don’t even have bosses. Compared to the previous games which had six each. But it’s still incredibly enjoyable beyond that one minor issue.

Salmon Run

Salmon Run is great for people who want a multiplayer experience but don’t feel competitive. In this mode you work together with three other players to take on waves of enemies, collecting eggs and depositing them into a net.

I will say that while the experience is a lot more fun than previously in Splatoon 2, there are still some minor complications. For example, the speed at which you level is insane. Normally that’s something I’m fine with but the game increases the challenge pretty heavily depending on your rank.

And it’s not just something like “more enemies.” They’ve added new modes and modifiers to harder modes that turn a match into an exercise in stress management. For example, some waves will feature “glowflies” that will pick a player at random for a couple of seconds before going to a different player. While a player has “glowflies” swarming them, an endless parade of enemies will run out of the water after the glowfly person. Also, in some regular waves, I’ve seen four bosses attack at the same time and some of the combinations hitting at once are near impossible.

All-in-all, with the return of familiar modes, the addition of new modes, and a slew of work and polish put into every aspect, Nintendo honestly did a phenomenal job. If you liked Splatoon 2, it would be very hard to find a way to be disappointed with Splatoon 3 (with the exception of the loss of my beloved rhythm game). It even has amiibo support which is a thing most Switch games forget exist!

Splatoon 3 (Nintendo Switch) Score: 9/10

With lots of things to see and do and unlock, Splatoon 3 delivers exactly what people want from the franchise and so much more. Despite a few disappointing decisions, like the removal of the rhythm game, a near-perfect Splatoon experience.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.