Splatoon was first shown off at Nintendo’s digital event earlier today, but it was a fairly brief showcase. It mixes a third-person shooter with a bit of De Blob. Like that series, you want to cover as much of the world in a certain color. The 4-on-4 team combat feels like an FPS, but with a third-person viewpoint. The team with the most turf in their color wins the match, and you can keep an eye on that in real-time on the Gamepad thanks to the map function there. It’s amazing how the Gamepad has led to DS-style gameplay/HUD blending being done so well on consoles, and it also means that this game could work reasonably well on that platform with some control changes. Beyond using the Gamepad as a map, you can also spawn next to a teammate who needs help at any time by tapping on that area. In a bit of tower defense, if they’re near your base, you can concentrate your team to defend it and then take over territory once it’s secure.
The round-based setup is much like an FPS, but with four minute limits. You can also still be the MVP of a particular round even if you lose – so if you’re tired of carrying the team, at least you’ll be recognized for doing that here. The percentage of territory actually goes down to the decimal – so you could have a 50.1% vs. 49.9% victory. This means that the old thought process of just doing one thing right, or getting one kill, actually does make a difference here. This particular element also reminds me a lot of Qix. Given how great that game was back in the day, and how exciting it can be now in mini-game form, it’s a solid mechanic that should add a lot of excitement to an intense match. Much like a twin-stick shooter, you’ve also got a hail mary play in the form of a splatter bomb. It will spread paint with the quickness, but you only have a limited number of them – so you may want to save them until the very end to make the most headway. There’s even a bazooka full of ink you can use by clicking in the right stick. You can’t spam it though, as it’s got a time limit before it burns out. This game looks fantastic, and will be a must-own for the Wii U.