Splatoon makes us want to dye - can it reinvigorate the Wii U?


Greetings, game fiends. For those of you in the UK who haven't been blown away by this week's galeforce winds or election results, prepare to be blown away by NEWS! Marvel at my fantastic segue.

For the rest of you around the world, I've got nothing. Sorry.

We can't talk about anything else until we've talked about Splatoon, Nintendo's new ink-splatting IP that even your gran can enjoy. I played a little bit shortly after E3 last year, back when the mess fest was in its infancy, and while I didn't exactly understand why everyone could turn into a squid, it was a hell of a lot of fun. A Splatoon-centric Nintendo Direct revealed more information this week: there will be an open global beta, which is an interesting new play from Nintendo. The Global Testfire, as it will be known, is running this weekend, and all participants that work at Nintendo will be wearing lab coats obviously.

There will also be free DLC, new stages added each week to the standard five available at launch, a ranked battle mode due in August, and a tournament called "Splatfest" which could earn you a special item based on how well you perform. Don't be fooled by all the colourful charm - Nintendo's added a fair amount of depth to the game, including customisable clothes, headgear and weapons, many of which can be bought from the Booyah Base. Yes, that might be Nintendo's greatest pun of all time.

But in all seriousness, Splatoon is a really refreshing effort from Nintendo that could only come from such a veteran of multiplayer gaming. Things are looking up for the company right now, following this week's announcement that it had become profitable again for the first time in four years, and titles like Splatoon continue to demonstrate why the Wii U is still a horse in this console race.

So does all that sound exciting? Of course it does, don't be silly. The game will be out on May 29, and you can check out this week's Nintendo Direct in full below.

The other biggie of the week was Tony Hawk. Thanks to a couple of leaks, a few more on-purpose teases, and an actual, proper reveal, we know that Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 is coming to console this year. So what's the hawkman up to now? New levels, new characters, new skateboards, probably, and co-op and solo play. Oh, and err, "projectiles", we're told.

You can create your own skate parks - expect a great deal of halfpipes put together to resemble a giant, wooden dong - and you'll be joined by a host of other skateboarders like Ishod Wair, Riley Hawk, Leticia Bufoni, and Andrew Reynolds. If you don't know who they are, don't worry - you're probably just not cool any more.

But if you find skateboards way too rad for your poor, weak body, perhaps you'll enjoy this news as much as I did (read: I squealed, rather loudly, and then went and told a load of my co-workers, who reacted much, much less excitedly. As in, not at all). Lego Dimensions is getting a whole bunch of new characters! Alongside the existing ones, including The Lego Movie, The Wizard of Oz and Lord of the Rings, a leak has sort-of confirmed that we'll also be getting expansion packs for Jurassic World, Scooby Doo, The Simpsons and Portal. These were already rumoured thanks to an incredibly blurry pack shot from a few weeks ago, so I'm more than ready to accept these rumours as being totes legit.

Portal Lego. I mean, who'd have ever thought it?