The second public preview for the upcoming Splatoon 2 was made available for Nintendo Switch owners. The one-day demo Splatfest allowed gamers to play team-based Turf Wars matches against other players from around the world in online PvP bouts.
The customization features are limited and the modes are restricted, but there are enough weapons and items to get a solid idea of what the gameplay will be like. Leveling up was disabled, so you couldn’t reach level 4, so you couldn’t purchase new clothes or weapons.
If you’ve played the original Splatoon just about everything has stayed the same, save they’ve added some new features and functions, such as new weapons and new secondary attacks.
In the demo you have access to four different weapons, each have their own designated secondary abilities and special attacks as well. There’s the standard splat cannon, the new dualies, the charge cannon, and the roller. The charge cannon and roller require a lot of skill to get the most out of them. The good part is that the roller can quickly paint over large swathes of a map with ease, but you get almost no distant-based efficiency. The charger allows you to splat out a row of paint in front of you, but it lacks severely in both speed and distance.
The splat cannon and the dualies seem to be the most used and most efficient for most tasks. There are no iron sights or scopes or anything to help with precision aiming. Instead the core of the competition – in Turf Wars, anyway – relies on being able to cover most of the stage while keeping your opponents at bay.
Encounters usually boil down to strafing or backing away while dousing opponents in paint. Different weapons are useful for different stages and also depending on what your teammates are using. During the rounds there is no voice chat unless you decide to use a third-party service while you play with your buddies online, otherwise there are just simple gestures such as “Ouch” and “Let’s Go” mapped to the digital pad. If you hate listening to people online this is a great thing. If you enjoy listening to 12-year-old brats who should have been aborted, then… well, tough luck.
Winning and losing can sometimes boil down to luck, but for the most part it’s based on teamwork (or the lack thereof). If you plan on using a roller, you better make sure you’re on a team with someone who knows how to use a splat cannon. And if you plan on using a charger, you better make sure you’re on a team with someone who knows how to use a roller.
Even still, the tactics are what determine victory as opposed to the game’s mechanics. Everything is made pretty simple, almost like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, where you’re likely to spend less time trying to perfect your aim and more time trying to stick with teammates and paint the stage blue… purple… or green.
There were four stages to play through Moray Towers, Humpback Pump Track, Starfish Mainstage
and Inkblot Art Academy, but halfway through the test it became restricted to only two stages: Moray Towers and Humpback Pump Track. Moray Towers is definitely the more challenging of the four stages given that teamwork and positioning are key for victory. There are a lot of ins and outs to the stage that forces team awareness – you need to know where your buddies are so you can know how far into the enemy territory you need to go.
Outside of the team oriented aspects, the game is as casual as casual can be. If you’re into shooters and you like third-person multiplayer games, you’re not going to find something here more hardcore than what you would get out of DICE’s Star Wars: Battlefront 1. Of course, if you like simple multiplayer games with bright colors, it seems like Splatoon 2 might be the sort of game to keep on your radar.