While Nintendo is an innovator on the hardware front with the success of the Wii, GameCube and 3DS leading the way, its software releases have been tougher. Nintendo games for first parties usually meet a certain standard of quality, and expectations arise as a result, but it seems that they improve on the same fundamental formula every time. Super Mario Odyssey is a more extensive version of 1996’s Super Mario 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild dates back to the very first game in the long—running series. Splatoon was something else, becoming Nintendo’s foray into the online shooter space, and Splatoon 3 carries the baton with relative ease.
Nintendo was never going to enter the genre of shooters with a copy paste imitating Call of Duty and Titanfall. The company has always attached great importance to products for family viewing, so a completely different approach was required, and Splatoon 3 is the latest development in which competitive gameplay is combined with creative ideas and colorful visual effects. Its charm extends far beyond its core mechanics, as small 4-by-4 squads succeed in ensuring that small cards never repeat themselves. The small size is one of the best features of Splatoon, proving that online shooters do not need to constantly chase a large number of players and scattered settings.
The rapid spread of online shooters
Of course, there are franchises such as Call of Duty and the upcoming xDefiant, which adhere to the philosophy that narrow maps and a small number of players can provoke a highly competitive gameplay, but there is a growing need for large maps and the number of players to justify a full-fledged release. . The trend, even in single player, seems to be towards games that can take hundreds of hours, rather than a tense, dynamic game that can be viewed over the weekend. Today it is simply impractical to have a small number of small cards to play in the 6 by 6 or 8 by 8 format, but the pleasure that this can cause is sometimes much greater than what is presented in more extensive games.
Games like Call of Duty: Warzone, and modes like Conquest in Battlefield, increase the number of players to dozens, and while this is good for the scale of the project and evokes a sense of value for money, it can stretch the gameplay to a width that is simply impossible. just as immediately attracts as other franchises. Battlefield 2042 recently removed the 128-player mode to make it more “tactical”, returning the mode to the usual 64 fighters of the series. While this may seem like an odd comparison, it’s no different from the 8-player mode in Smash Bros. Ultimate, which was too much to balance. Splatoon 3 uses the exact opposite approach, and despite the sharp differences in gameplay, it seems much more competitive and therefore interesting.
Splatoon size is special
Providing players with a huge map with topographic challenges and diverse landscapes may seem like the game justifies its price, but any online-oriented experience should make you want to keep coming back. Splatoon has been doing this since the first game was released in 2015, and the series has only improved over time. Splatoon sold well in all of its three releases, even with the first game stuck on the dying Wii U, which not only showed that there was a market for online shooters in Nintendo’s first lineup, but also that less could mean better. .
Splatoon’s basic design prioritizes capturing territory rather than destroying another team, so it won’t work with a lot of players in every match. The desperate rush to cover a card with color only for another player to undo all the hard work is why it’s fun, and larger cards can seem like a boring task with limited potential for true fun. The third game carrying this philosophy is the reason Splatoon 3 is well received by critics, and while it’s a perfect example of how Nintendo’s eccentricity pays off, it also shows that the ongoing “bigger is better” trend isn’t always true.
Splatoon 3 is available for the Nintendo Switch.