Splatoon 3’s SplatNet is one of the best companion apps ever

Splatoon 3 locker, Inklings hanging out in inkopolis
(Image credit: Nintendo)

For Splatoon veterans, the SplatNet mobile app’s existence won’t be a surprise, as Splatoon 2 also featured its own version within the Nintendo Switch Online app. If you’re fresh off the boat, though, I can’t recommend enough that you check out Splatoon 3’s SplatNet app.

That’s because SplatNet is packed with menus and features that’ll greatly enhance your Splatoon 3 experience. From stat tracking and checking the current map rotation, to piecing together a new Freshest Fit loadout for your in-game character, it’s a useful resource if you don’t have your Nintendo Switch on hand.

I’d go as far as to say that Nintendo has finally managed to create an Nintendo Switch Online app that’s the perfect companion to its parent game, and one that’s worth checking out every single day.

Splatoon 3 Splatfest - the festival shown in full swing

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The road less painted

Nintendo’s had a very weird history with ancillary apps, especially when it comes to Nintendo Switch Online. The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate app felt like an afterthought, allowing you to post screenshots and video clips, read event news and little else. Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ NookLink app fared a little better, letting you do useful things like ordering items.

These lackluster attempts at mobile companion apps have always felt a little strange to me. Especially given Nintendo’s love for multi-screen systems. The Nintendo DS and even the Wii U demonstrate what a separate screen can add to a game. Sure it’s a little different in this case, as the device is separate, but the experience in making touch-based functionality still applies.

There’s not a single microtransaction in sight – quite a rare thing to see for a free-to-download app.

SplatNet combines everything Nintendo got right in its previous apps, while adding even more on top of that to make it a genuinely useful companion.

Fashion-frenzied Inklings and Octolings can check out the SplatNet Shop. It presents an assortment of clothing that swaps out daily, often forming a complete set, a good reason to check the app every day – you might net a pristine drip that isn’t available to buy in-game.

You do have to pay a premium on these items, but if you’ll always use your in-game cash to buy them. There’s not a single microtransaction in sight – quite a rare thing to see for a free-to-download app. And if you spot something you like, one tap orders it in the app for you to pick up the next time you boot up Splatoon 3. Simple. The only drawback is that you can only order one piece at a time. But once you’ve claimed it in-game, you’re free to order again in the app instantly.

Splatoon 3 maps, Scorch gorge

(Image credit: Future)

The finest kettle of fish

On top of the meta analysis and cosmetics, the SplatNet app also lets you view your Story mode progress, browse your photos and replays. And maybe best of all, scan for QR codes posted on Nintendo’s social accounts for extra goodies you might otherwise miss.

The standout feature is Wandercrust, it’s a kind of in-app quest where you help Splatoon 2’s Crusty Sean (pun of the century, I know) along on a journey by banking the points you’ve earned in multiplayer. You’ll bag some extra in-game treats by doing this and uncover some very charming flavor text while you’re at it, all just for naturally playing Splatoon 3.

So whether you’re coming into Splatoon 3 as a newly hatched tadpole or an ink-stained veteran, I can’t recommend the SplatNet app enough. Nintendo has finally made its app worth downloading because of it. So if you own an Android or iOS device and want to get the most out of your turf warring shenanigans, it’s an absolute must. 

It's also just had an update that lets you add widgets to your phone's Home screen, making it even more useful, and showing that Nintendo's at least somewhat committed to keeping the app for its multiplayer shooter staying fresh.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.