What is Splatoon?

Splatoon is a third-person multiplayer action shooter videogame by Nintendo. The first installment being for the Wii U, while the following two installments for the Nintendo Switch.

Splatoon takes place in a post-apocolyptic earth, long after humans have gone extinct. Its primary inhabitants are anthropomorphic sea creatures that have adapted to breathe air, walk on land, and basically live like humans.

The player is able to choose to play as either an inkling (squid) or octoling (octopus), and the main gameplay mechanic is transforming between their humanoid form, and their cephalopod form.
"Kid" form allows you to walk around and use your weapon, while "swim" form allows you to swim through ink laid on the ground, which also replenishes your ink supply.


When covered with ink of a color that's not your own, you can eventually get splatted (killed). There is no visible health bar, but your screen darkens whenever you're hit with enemy ink. You can "replenish your health" by getting out of enemy ink or diving back into your own.
You can respawn as many times as you want after you're splatted, but you're given a penalty of a few seconds.
In the single player campaign, you're given only a certain amount of respawns per level.

Using any weapon depletes your ink tank which can be refilled by submerging yourself in ink. Depending on the weapon, more or less ink is used. If you run out of ink, no ink will be placed on the ground or shot from your weapon. Hitting an opponent with a weapon without any ink deals no damage.

Sub weapons require a certain amount of ink in your tank to deploy. And special weapons can be charged by inking a specific amount of turf which varies from weapon to weapon.


Splatoon has a weapon catalogue unlike any other game. It's a shooter game at it's core, but not all weapons are guns. There are 11 weapon classes, with various different weapons per class with their own special abilities, look, and playstyle.

Every weapon has their own unique stats, usually based on speed and damage, but it varies weapon to weapon.
Some weapons can be "branded" differently, which is usually just a recolor/reskin of a weapon with an alternate kit.

A weapon kit is which sub and special is paired with a weapon. You can't choose your own sub and special, they're paired with the weapon.

I'll go through and explain each weapon class, but I won't list every individual weapon, their subs, and specials, because there are hundreds.

They're just basic shooters. Nothing special about how they're handled. Some shooters have longer range than others, or higher damage, or more accuracy.

These are probably the most iconic weapon of Splatoon. Whoever thought of combat with paint rollers made such an odd but perfect choice for a game of modified paintball.
As the name suggests, they roll along the ground and paint the floor.
You can also jump to fling paint far distances.

A long ranged weapon class with a slow charge but powerful shot. Some chargers have scopes, others don't. They're basically snipers.
Chargers are mainly used for combat as they don't do a good job at covering turf.
A skilled charger user is a perfect addition to any ranked team.

It's literally a bucket of paint. A very close ranged weapon class, good at raining down on opponents from above or covering small sections of turf quickly.

A heavy weapon class mainly used in the backline as they take a while to charge, and slow down the users movement speed. Not very good for up close or fast paced combat.

As the name implies, dualies are a double wielded weapon. They allow players to dodge-roll and they're good for close combat. Other than that, they're similar to shooters, but are easier to aim.
Most dualies have the role of a frontline and aggressive weapon.

Shotgun-like weapons which can also serve as a shield. Some brellas allow you to deploy the "shield" for a short period of time, able to guard multiple players at once.
Most brellas are support weapons.

Blasters shoot out a small ball of ink that explode on impact. Some blasters are faster or longer ranged than others. Good for combat but not good at inking turf.

Similar to rollers, brushes allow you to paint floors and walls. Brushes can also dragged along the ground to create a thin trail of ink. They can fling ink at fast speeds but have a short range.

A new weapon type introduced in Splatoon 3. Strigers are just crossbows and function similar to chargers, but can shoot multiple shots at once. You can also choose between a vertical or horizontal shot depending on if you're standing or in the air.

Another new weapon type introduced in Splatoon 3. Similar to brushes, Splatanas are melee weapons that allow you to fling ink at fast speeds, and can be charged up to create wider and more deadly swipes.

Game Modes

There are multiple game modes, one singleplayer campaign, but the rest being 4v4 online matches.
The primary game mode is Turf War, where two teams compete to cover the ground with the most ink in 3 minutes. There are four ranked game modes (for more competitive players); Rainmaker, Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Clam Blitz, each with their own respective goals.

Rainmaker: The goal is to bring the Rainmaker to the other side of the map before the other team does. Teams will have to fight over who has the Rainmaker, being as there's only one.
Being the carrier of the Rainmaker makes you the primary target for the other team. Meaning, a lot of teamwork is required to keep the carrier safe.
The Rainmaker slows you down once picked up, and doesn't allow you to use any weapons, subs, or specials. The Rainmaker itself is a slow charging, but powerful weapon.
Which ever team brings the Rainmaker to the other side, or gets closest in 5 minutes, is the winner.

Splat Zones: Two teams compete over who has control of the "Splat Zone" a marked area of ground different for each map, and control is determined over which team has the most ink in it.
After a certain amount of ink is placed on the zone, the entire zone will automatically be filled with the team's ink, and a countdown begins.
The other team must take back control of the zone before the timer runs out. Whichever team makes it to 0 (or has a higher score than the other team before the time runs out) is declaired the winner.

Tower Control: A small moving tower is placed in the center of the stage, and teams are required to fight over the tower, and ride the tower to the other side's goal before the timer runs out. Depending on which team member is standing on the tower, determines the direction the tower moves in. Similar to Rainmaker, the goal is to protect the tower while riding it to the finish.
If the tower doesn't make it to the goal before the timer runs out, whichever team has gotten closer wins, regardless of where the tower currently sits.

Clam Blitz: A newer ranked mode introduced in Splatoon 2, similar to football (or soccer if you're from the UK). Clams are scattered around the map, and anyone can pick them up. Players can press A to throw clams, and pass it. Once a player gathers 8 clams, they transform into a power clam, a large football shaped item which can break the other teams clam basket barrier. Once the barrier is broken, the other team's basket will close and a very short timer will start. Players of the other team are required to throw as many clams in the other team's basket as possible before it closes. Throwing a clam in the basket resets the timer.
If no clams are thrown before the timer runs out, the barrier will close. Players will then have to gather another power clam to break the barrier again.
Whichever team throws the most clams in the other teams basket, is declaired the winner.

In ranked modes, there's a chance for a round to go into overtime if the timer runs out but the losing team is holding the Rainmaker, in control of the Splat Zone, riding the tower, or holding a power clam. During overtime, the losing team has a chance to turn the score around and win. Overtime only lasts for few seconds, or until the losing team loses control.

After every ranked mode, you're rewarded with EXP depending on how well you and your team did.
Everyone starts at C-, and after each win, can rank up. C to B, to A, to S, and finally X. Higher ranks are obviously more difficult to get to, because you'll fight against players with higher skills. More penalty points are taken off during losses as well.

There is a 5th game mode introduced in Splatoon 2 called Salmon Run, but unlike the other game modes, this one isn't PvP, and is comprised of only 4 players working together.

Salmon Run: 4 players work together to fight off waves of Salmonids (literally salmon) and collect Golden Eggs for a mysterious man named Mr Grizz, who talks through a radio, and rewards you for your hard work.
There are various types of Salmonids, which all reward you with Power Eggs, but only boss Salmonids reward you with Golden Eggs after defeating them. A certain amount of Golden Eggs should be collected for players to move onto the next wave. If you don't meet the quota in time, or everyone on your team dies, the shift ends.
Boss Salmonids each have their own attacks, mostly based on specials used in the main gamemodes.
In Splatoon 2, Salmon Run is only opened a few hours every few days, but in Splatoon 3, it's open 24/7.
Depending on how well you did, you get a certain amount of EXP which rewards you with capsules filled with cash, gear, tickets, or locker items (in Splatoon 3). You can also rank up if completing all 3 waves, which allows you to play at higher difficulties.


Splatfests are in-game events organized by Nintendo, which happen every month or so, and span one weekend. Splatfests are different for each region of the game, but all players in the same region partake in the same Splatfests.
Players can choose between two teams (or three, in Splatoon 3), usually with a theme, and players can choose which side they like the most (like Cat vs Dog, or Mayo vs Ketchup)

During Splatfests, the only game mode is Turf War, and each team fight against eachother. Though, Turf War is separated into two different modes during Splatfests. Normal, and pro. Players can collect "clout" for each game mode, which is basically EXP exclusive to one player during one Splatfest only.

Wins are determined by three (or four) categories; amount of votes, normal mode clout, pro mode clout, and "sneak peek" which was introduced in Splatoon 3 and refers to the amount of Conch Shells collected by a team.

The players of the winning team will be rewarded with Super Sea Snails, an exclusive "currency" only given during Splatfests.

During Splatfests, the entire plaza will change appearance and teams are given special ink colors not present in the normal game, as well as an exclusive Splatfest T-shirt which players can only wear during the Splatfest, but grant special abilities.

The idols of the respective game will dance and sing a song exclusive to Splatfests in the plaza and it is overall a very fun time.

Why Splatoon means so much to me

When I first got my Nintendo switch in 2017 and I was at the game store looking for games (after I finished Mario Odessey, the game I bought with my switch) none of the games really interested me. Though recently a new game "Splatoon 2" had came out and there were advertisements plastered all around the game store. I didn't know what Splatoon was, I had never played the first one. But I was well aware of the "you're a kid you're a squid" meme through some friends I had at the time, who would quote it. But that was the extend of my knowledge.

I also knew about The Living Tombstone's songs about it, they were some of my favorite songs of his, honestly. They were my first introduction to the series, but I never got into it until the second game came out.
The bright colors and cute characters on the cover art stood out amongst the other games on the "Nintendo Switch" shelf, so I bought the game and went in completely blind.

My dad asked me what the hell Splatoon was, but I didn't know either. So I just told him "I dont know, but my friends like it" little did I know, this blind choice I made would influence my life for the following years. and would introduce me to one of my favorite series of all time.

I actually joined in the middle of a Splatfest, on a weekend. It was the middle of summer, so I had a lot of time to sit down and play this game.
I remember playing all night, and some of my fondest memories was that very first Splatfest with such a realistic concert which genuinely made me feel like I was really there.

For hours I watched Marina and Pearl dance, even though I didn't know what a Splatfest was. I just had so much fun listening to music, and playing the game, and seeing the bright colors, and having a good time.

I don't even think I realized that the Splatfest ended, until the next one was announced, and I had realized that what I experienced the first day of playing, the fun battle between two teams with colorful ink and catchy music, and the concert, I'd experience it again every few months for the next few years.

When the Octo Expansion dropped, I bought it nearly the same hour it came out.
I don't remember how long it took me to play it, but I enjoyed it so much that I skipped school just to play Splatoon.
When I beat the DLC, I cried at the end because of how emotional it made me. I didn't realize how important the game was to me, and I was so attached to Marina, Pearl, and the rest of the characters. The Octo Expansion is one of my fondest memories in videogaming.

My Switch says I have 900 hours in the game as of right now, but I can assure you I have more since I used to waste HOURS in the single player campaigns when I didn't have internet. I believe I played Splatoon 2 until I was level 70, and the highest rank I'd gotten in ranked was S+4 in Clam Blitz.

In 2020, I was hospitalized for reasons I'd rather not disclose, but it was also around the time of the final Splatfest. I was hoping I was able to bring my Switch to the hospital, but I wasn't able to. And I missed the fest.
I was planning to choose team order, but my girlfriend at the time convinced me to join chaos so I could play with her. But I wasn't able to.
Honestly, this is one of my biggest regrets in life, even if the hospital visit wasn't entirely in my control.

Even to this day, I don't think I have it in me to even watch a Let's Play of the final Splatfest. I don't think I could handle the emotions, and even realizing what I missed. Even thinking about it makes me sad. I wish I could've experienced it, because I can't go back and experience it again.

Nintendo sometimes does live holographic preformances in real life, but they only happen once and take place in Japan. I remember when the final Off The Hook concert came out, and I watched it late at night. Once again, I nearly cried because of the emotions it made me feel, especially during the very end when they sung Fly Octo Fly.
Somehow holographic fictional cephalopod girls can preform better concerts than actual real bands, and I think I'd do anything to go see one.

Now that Splatoon 3 is out (came out a month ago, at the time of writing this) I'm going to make a promise to myself that I'll be here for every Splatfest, and especially the final Splatfest, whenever that is.