Navigating Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 is the second installment of Nintendo’s Splatoon franchise. First released in 2017, the game is a combination of a puzzle-solving story and a competitive first-person shooter. But what sets Splatoon apart from other first-person shooters is its unique shooting mechanic and how it relates to the environment around it. The goal is not to kill as many enemies as possible but to cover as much of the environment in paint. As an Inkling (a humanoid squid with paint for ink), your job is to cover the surrounding area with as much of your color ink as possible. Once a surface is inked, your character can transform into a squid and swim through the ink, making for quicker exploration as well as increased mobility. You cannot swim in enemy ink, interacting with it will damage you, which is why the environment matters so much. The more ground covered the more freedom you have.  

One of the most important spaces in Splatoon 2 is the Stage. There are 24 unique multiplayer stages in the game and every day the game picks certain stages at random for the players to compete on. With designs ranging from a grocery store to a shipyard, each stage provides new and unique environments to explore and conquer. The one above is Wahoo World; a stage modeled around an amusement park. The park is built on a pier, filled with vending machines and souvenir shops. The walls are decorated with graffiti and the boardwalk rides are visible in the background. The environment is created with several levels, ramps, bridges, and a spinning ride centerpiece. Each team starts on their side, with the goal to cover as much available terrain with their color ink before time runs out. Vertical walls can be inked and climbed for better vantage points. Glass bridges repel ink and connect the two sides, making them both essential for movement and dangerously open. Other levels feature similar variations in terrain as well as unique features to challenge the players. If the stages were flat and straightforward like in more typical first-person shooters, the challenge and intrigue of the game would be lost. Having an amalgamation of different heights, textures, and sizes makes each map unique enough to always keep players on their toes and is an integral part of the inking mechanic of the game. 

The first space you encounter when starting the game is Inkopolis Square (shown above). This is the central hub of the game where you can access other levels, the multiplayer lobby, and DLC expansions. The square is a starting point for other players as well as a showcase of one of Splatoon 2’s important secondary elements; fashion. The street is lined with stores that house the latest modern fashion from the real world; everything from bucket hats to Doc Martens. Each store carries a different type of clothing, and the more fashionable a piece is, the more bonuses it can give the player in-game. Inkopolis Square is also home to free-roam players. Other real player’s avatars walk around the square and can be interacted with. You can check out their outfits for inspiration or comment on their artwork. The square is lively, inhabited by shopping NPCs, food vendors, and skateboarding enthusiasts. All these elements make the road feel modern and exciting. Even the graffiti plastered on walls and the concrete is actually drawings from fellow players.