Nintendo launched Splatoon in 2015, and added yet another beloved franchise to legendary catalog. This wildly creative and accessible take on team-based competitive shooters tasks you with playing as a squid/kid who shoots and swims in their own ink to dominate the battlefield.
Splatoon 3, the latest game in the series, recently launched on the Nintendo Switch. Honestly, it’s not radically different from prior entries. If you spent years honing your esports skills in the first two games, you’ll hit the paint-splattered ground running. However, there are many gameplay tweaks that impact your sessions. And if you haven’t played any Splatoon games, you must rethink your approach, as Splatoon 3’s mechanics are unique compared to other shooters.
You’re a kid now, you’re a squid now, and with these eight octopus tips you’ll be the best Splatoon 3 player now.
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1. Stay Nimble
Two of Splatoon 3’s biggest changes are a pair of new movement options: the Squid Surge and Squid Roll. The Squid Surge lets you burst vertically up walls, while the Squid Roll lets you make fast tactical retreats with brief invulnerability. Combine that with existing moves, such as hiding and stealth swimming in your own ink, and you have plenty of tools for mixing up your approach and keeping your opponents guessing. It doesn’t take too many hits to go down, so minimizing your exposure is vital.
2. Plot a Course
In standard Turf War battles, you want as much ink on the ground because that’s how you win. However, even in other game modes, which place heavier emphasis on defeating opponents, you’ll still want to ink as many paths as you can. This gives you and your teammates many options for getting in and out of battle. Plus, it constricts your enemies at the same time.
3. Synergize Your Attacks
When considering your weaponry, think about how it can complement your teammates’ weapons, not just how powerful it is in a vacuum. Long-distance stringer bows serve a different purpose than close-range buckets. Sometimes you want Splat Bombs, other times you want Suction Bombs. Even different special attacks, such as the Killer Wail blast or Crab Tank mech, are better or worse depending on the context. Together, everyone achieves more.
4. Strategically Respawn
After you get splatted, you wait a few seconds before respawning. You can aim for a specific spot near your base, or jump directly to a teammate. Many times, jumping onto a teammate makes sense. This gets you into the battle faster during a big push. However, if you get too predictable, opponents will see you coming and splat you once again as soon as you land. Sometimes it’s better to hold back.
5. Upgrade Your Gear
Splatoon 3’s gear not only offers fresh looks, but perks, too. Everything from shirts to shoes to headphones grant bonuses, such as better ink conservation and faster run speed. As you play with the same gear, you earn points to level it up. Hit a high enough level, and you’ll unlock even more perk options and maximize your equipment.
6. Hold the Line in Tableturf Battle
Tableturf Battle is Splatoon 3’s new, deck-building minigame. You take turns playing cards that ink squares on a grid. Each card inks a different square arrangement, such as a long, straight line or an irregular rectangle. Victory comes from controlling space and denying your opponent a chance to advance, since your squares must all be connected to each other. A good, early strategy is to build a solid wall as far into your opponent’s field as possible. Once you shut them out, you can then start filling in your own side of the board without worry.
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7. Study Boss Salmonids
Salmon Run tasks you and three other teammates with blasting waves of fishy enemies, and collecting their delicious eggs. It’s Horde Mode, basically, and in Splatoon 3 you can now play it whenever you want. The mode forces you to adapt. Not only does the map dynamically change, but you get a random new weapon every round. The best way to prepare yourself is to learn the specific patterns and weaknesses of the Boss Salmonid monsters that regularly appear, such as throwing a bomb at a weak point or inking an entire area before the boss touches down.
8. Skip the Broadcast!
Although we wish Splatoon 3 had more obvious innovations, we appreciate its various improvements. Previously, every time you loaded a game, you had to sit through a broadcast explaining the current map rotation, and then watch it again when that rotation changed a few hours later. As much as we love Splatoon’s charming hosts, Splatoon 3 thankfully lets you click the analog stick to speed up and minimize that annoying broadcast into a tiny news feed that plays while you’re doing other things. Get back in the fight!
For more recommended Nintendo Switch titles, check out The Best Nintendo Switch Games and The Best Nintendo Switch Games for Kids. For in-depth video game talk, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel(Opens in a new window).
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