Hands-On Preview: Splatoon – Bring the Paint

The Wii U’s library of titles has noticeably come under fire in the last several months, and while there are a number of quality titles already available on the system from Nintendo’s end (like the recently-released Mario Kart 8), and more to come (Super Smash Bros. for Wii U).

Alongside the usual stable of iconic series like Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and the numerous pillars that Nintendo has relied on for decades, this year’s E3 showed that Nintendo is also looking to take a chance on some new IPs for both of its consoles, as Codename S.T.E.A.M., and now Splatoon, have both shown for 3DS and Wii U, respectively. Splatoon is a primarily multiplayer affair, and though it may not have the same sort of competitive edge that may grab the attention of Titanfall or Call of Duty players, it’s the sort of game that keenly shows the Wii U’s capabilities with plenty of great ideas, even if not necessarily all of them end up sticking.

Currently in development as a new first-party title from Nintendo, Splatoon forces two opposing sides of four players, each armed with colorful paint guns, that must race against a three-minute timer to spray as much of the arena with their respective color as they can in that time period. Adding to the colorful chaos are a number of rules and strategies that provide the gameplay with more added variables, rather than just a race to see how fast a player can spray: walls don’t count toward point totals, spraying farther allows for a wider radius of paint to be spread, and more.

With points added up based on the area covered in each team’s paint color, Splatoon is silly and simple fun, but well-designed with the Wii U in mind, and seems likely to light up many local multiplayer Wii U parties. Replacing the usual TPS arsenal of grenades, gun-mounted chainsaws, and machine guns are also a varied selection of weapons that make the paint-spraying chaos all the more engaging: limited ammunition weapons like the paint roller and bazooka let players let loose with paint more strategically, allowing them to cover larger areas that could make a huge different in a match.


Splatoon fits right into the library of Wii U titles with its colorful, cheerful graphics and solid multiplayer offerings, with its only shortcoming being its slightly wonky controls that may be a bit of an adjustment to typical shooter players. Aiming a player’s paintgun is controlled between both the Wii U GamePad’s gyroscopic sensor and analog sticks: player movement is tied to the left stick, while vertical aiming is controller through the gyroscope, and horizontal aiming through the right stick. At first, the control layout was definitely a bit jarring, having to recalibrate my sense a bit by using both the analog sticks and GamePad to aim at the same time – a few matches in the adjustment was slightly more tolerable, but to call it intuitive is not ideal.


Splatoon may not be the next Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros. to light up those late nights with the Wii U, but with a solid foundation of multiplayer fun and gameplay that is easy to jump into, it’s easy to see that grabbing your paintgun and splatting through a few rounds is fast, fun, and surprisingly competitive. It’s definitely a smaller effort, but in the midst of the console’s struggles since its release, it’s refreshing to see Splatoon bring some color to the Wii U library.

Splatoon releases for Wii U in 2015.

Join the Discussion

  • MoreKetchup

    Definitely shaping up to look like really solid fun multiplayer experience, one of the reasons I’ll get a Wii U (This, Zelda and Metroid).

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  • Cassive

    OMG I want a Will U

  • truthtellerdealwithit

    I assume it has online multiplayer?

    • Ryan Meitzler

      Yes, local and online

      • truthtellerdealwithit

        YES! thanks 🙂

  • Boerewors

    This time a year ago I almost gave up on gaming. I owned a ps3 and 360 and bought tons of games just to relive the magic I used to feel 10 years ago. The more I tried to force myself to like it, the more I started to hate what once was my greatest passion. At a certain point, when I actually decided to sell everything but my old consoles I walked into this supermarket who had Wii U’s on sale for $150. I bought a bunch for family and friends back in South Africa. I completely gave up on Nintendo side the Wii and didn’t read up on what the U truly was, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I put in NSMBU and played for 6 hours straight! It was the most fun I had in years! It was like the GameCube and Dreamcast had a lovechild which could produce HD graphics. I’ve been a happy gamer ever since and I totally feel like playing my Xbox and PS too every now and then. Nintendo gives me my “fun-fix” and their near perfect games with tight controls, which makes me enjoy the more serious stuff I find on the other 2. Nintendo might not be the number one console in lots of homes, but every gamer should have one as a second console; it’s surprisingly good and gives gameplay experiences which MS and Sony will never offer. Thank you Nintendo for being as silly as you are, and I’m sorry for thinking you couldn’t fulfill my gaming needs anymore, I was wrong.

  • xBlackwater

    COD for kids

    • Porcu Peth

      pretty much. typical Nintendo bs

    • GamerLegend

      More like Titanfall, just without mechs and the campaign.

  • Chillbrah

    Did dualshockers just waste it’s time at e3? This weeaboo garbage doesn’t deserve to be on this site and you gave this shit the royal treatment. I’m quite disappointed.

    • Ryan Meitzler

      No, individually we each played/previewed at least 20-25 titles across all consoles at E3: we covered big titles, indie titles, and everything in between. Look at the preview coverage we have up so far, and the many, many titles that we are still writing up as we speak.

      Trying a new Nintendo IP is certainly not a waste of time, and Splatoon was far from it.