Splatoon 2 tips and tricks
Don't let your inkling get splatted
Splatoon was something of a surprise hit on the Wii U. Not only was it Nintendo's first real stab at an online shooter, it was also an entirely new IP and launched on a console which will go down in history as one of Nintendo's biggest commercial failures.
In spite of this, Splatoon sold millions and established itself as one of the Japanese giant's most exciting new franchises. We haven't had to wait long for a sequel, and Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch improves on its forerunner in practically every way possible – but there will be plenty of newcomers who are experiencing this series for the first time, so here are some handy hints and tips to ease you in gently.
Go for easy ink
Unlike many other shooters, the objective in Splatoon 2 isn't to kill (sorry, "splat") your opponents. Instead you'll need to cover as much territory as possible with your coloured ink.
Of course, taking out your rivals helps – not only does it put a momentary stop to their own inking activities, they also explode in a shower of your colour ink, covering even more ground – but your primary focus should be spraying as much of the floor as possible.
Don't take your finger off the trigger – you want to maximise your coverage and boost your score as much as possible. When you begin a match, make sure you ink as much of the area round your spawn point as possible – this part of the map usually isn't touched by the rival team, and is "free turf".
Ignore the walls
At the conclusion of each Turf War contest (Splatoon 2's most popular mode) the amount of ground covered by each team is calculated and the winner – as you might expect – is the team which claimed the most territory.
Only ink which can be seen from above counts towards this total, so inking vertical surfaces is a waste of time – unless you're doing so in order to create a trail you can then swim up in squid form, of course. Speaking of which...
Swimming is always faster
In human form, your character is pretty nippy, but to really get somewhere fast you need to transform into a squid, which is done by holding down the L trigger.
In squid form you can swim through your own colour ink much faster than walking, making it by far and away the best means of traversing the map.
Naturally, there will be times when you can't swim because enemy ink is blocking your path or no ink has been sprayed on a particular part of the level, so be sure to strike a good balance between swimming and shooting.
Pick the right gear
Splatoon has always made a big deal about being "fresh", and it's possible to dress your character up in all kinds of cool clothing.
These don't just serve a visual purpose, however – all equipment comes with special abilities which can really help you in a match.
Furthermore, the more matches you win whilst wearing gear, the more experience it gains and once you reach a certain amount, more ability slots are unlocked.
You'll need to be at least level 4 before you can start buying gear, but play a few online matches and you'll be there before you know it.
Deploy your special abilities at the right time
Each weapon loadout has a special ability, which is available for use once you've inked a certain amount of turf in-game.
These range from long-range weapons to special jet packs and even shields, but all of them have one thing in common – they don't come around that much.
During a typical match you might get one or two chances to use your special, so be sure to choose wisely.
For example, there's no point in charging up your Tenta Missiles when you're in the middle of a firefight, as it takes time to lock onto your targets and by then you'll be splatted by the opposition.
Likewise, there's no point in activating your Ink Armour when you're miles away from the enemy – save it for when you're about to dive into the fray.
Work as a team
This might sound obvious, but teamwork is key in Splatoon 2. Not only do you stand a much better chance of surviving when you're in a pack, you can also support one another during tense battles.
For example, if you see a fellow inkling struggling to move in enemy ink, shoot the floor beneath them to turn it to your colour, freeing them up. If you stick together you can also watch each other's backs for sneaky flanking attacks, or take down snipers who are picking off your pals one by one.
While it's tempting to go it alone and be the hero, you'll usually end up getting splatted.
Experiment with weapons
Rollers, splat chargers, sloshers, splat dualies – there are plenty of weapon types in Splatoon 2, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The standard "Splattershot" style weapon has good range and a decent rate of fire, and is perhaps the ideal choice for novices. Splat chargers are like sniper rifles and are best used at a distance, while rollers are great for covering loads of turf but perform pretty poorly in a firefight.
Splatoon 2's splat dualies are perhaps the most interesting new weapon in this sequel – they allow you to perform a fast dodge move which is very handy in the middle of a shoot-out, but their range is limited.
The key is experimentation; mess about in the game's training range to get a feel for which weapon suits your own play style before venturing online.
Control choke points
Like any great battlefield, the maps in Splatoon 2 have choke points which you and the opposing team must fight to control.
These areas usually sit in the middle of the level and if you can take and defend them, you'll make it very hard for your enemy to break out and ink more of the map than you.
It helps to have a sniper up high picking off stragglers while other team members remain mobile, flushing out faster opponents.
If you lose control of a choke point, work together as a team to reclaim it, rather than dashing in wildly and hoping for the best.
Don't ignore the single player campaign
Splatoon 2's appeal unquestionably lies in its amazing online mode, but don't ignore the game's superb solo campaign, especially if you're hitting the game as a newcomer.
Not only is it jolly good fun and packed with tricky levels and devious bosses, it also teaches you the basics in terms of controls and strategies, making it the ideal tutorial for the online portion of the title.
Don't quit when you're losing
Finally, a word to the wise – don't rage quit in Splatoon 2, even when you're doing really badly.
Nintendo has enforced a policy where if you quit out of a match several times by putting your console into sleep mode or powering it down entirely, your access to the game could be suspended for a limited period.
Sore losers, consider yourselves warned.