Nintendo has a reputation for making vibrant, family-friendly games--but the publisher has been known to supported violent, M-rated shooters in the past as well. Splatoon is where those game designs intersect. It's a 4v4 third-person shooter with arena combat similar to Gears of War. But it’s also a game where the main goal is to paint that same arena in neon colors, where you transform into a cartoony squid, and a portly cat judges your performance. So, you know, don’t expect any lengthy decapitation scenes.
Splatoon’s inky, aquatic style isn’t for show--it’s key to making this game stand out from the online shooter pack. Your main goal is to use your ink shooting guns to paint every part of the level with your team’s color, with the previously mentioned judgmental cat comparing the team’s performances at the end. Blasting your enemies is only important because it prevents them from laying down any more paint until they respawn. And while you can move the camera with the traditional right stick controls, you can also change your view with the GamePad. It’s another move that makes Splatoon feel very Nintendo, and the developers say the Wii U-specific motion controls will give you much more accurate aiming.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in the demo, but the squid transformations keep the pace fast and furious. A quick button press changes your character into a googly-eyed squid that quickly swims through your team’s ink, getting you back onto the frontlines of the paint war. The fights have the intensity I expect from shooters, but laying down paint instead of suppressive fire made me more focused on teamwork than I usually am in online battles (I was always picked last in Quake). Leave it to Nintendo to find a colorful approach that pulls me in more than any gory headshot could.
Check out the following screenshots for additional info!