The Secret to the Ooze.
NOTE: The article is for the single-player version that is available in Splatoon 3. For our thoughts on the multiplayer modes, check out my Splatoon 3 multiplayer review here.
Historically, Splatoon’s single-player campaigns have focused on acclimating you to the waters of its much more frantic and churning multiplayer battle modes. Splatoon 3’s campaign — dubbed The Return of the Mammalians — starts in territory so familiar that I was initially worried I was about to spend the next several hours slogging through tutorials on fundamentals I’d learned two games ago. Thankfully, the rug was quickly pulled out from under me, leading to a brand-new take on the series’ hub world design mixed with some of the best ideas of Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion. Splatoon 3 boldly let me decide on whether or not to blaze my own path toward any of its 70 bite-sized, inventive missions, and choose where to go next when exploring its fuzzy ooze-filled world. A lot of the enemies I found there were unchanged from previous Splatoons, but I had a great time navigating the large variety of objectives all the way to the campaign’s explosively satisfying finale.
Although Splatoon 3 does its best to push players towards online Turf Wars as soon as you’ve customized your character I did find the single-player mode enjoyable. In its admittedly slow introduction zone, you’ll encounter the strange ooze that blocks your linear route which only your lovable fish friend can consume If you’ve got enough salmon eggs to keep him to go after it. The ooze bears an eerie resemblance with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild’s toxic disease and touching the substances will result in death through fuzzball. Once you’ve reached the core of the adventure in the cold hub world in Alterna as well as its seven islands (which isn’t a long time) there’s goo everywhere you look for your missing friend. Thankfully, the routes I found through the deadly goo were large enough that I wasn’t suffering, and the cracks between the layers of goo provided glimpses of the new paths I could explore in the near future.
The ooze is not just as a barrier however, it also offers a wide range of options in how you wish to advance. Inhaling an ooze patch could allow you to access shortcuts or hidden treasures, and could lead you to a pot that can take you to a goal or a pipe that leads towards the island next. You’ll usually be able to have a rough idea of what’s on the other side looking at certain panels with a birds-eye view as well as by looking up the cost of currency to get rid of the liquid. Many times, I found myself considering the likelihood of spending every salmon egg (Splatoon 3’s primary kind in currency) to create an access point towards the next island or trying to uncover more of the region to discover items I need to improve my skills.
While the missions themselves are exclusively on the mission that is being completed, completing each one can help you discover fascinating details of the deeper mystery of these icy ruinades, and also some exciting discoveries about the way in which this humanoid squid-dominated universe was created. I appreciated the continued efforts of Splatoon to focus its efforts on the issues and offers enticing bits of backstory and lore in the main world for players who want to find these out. The more urgent story of the rescue mission is revealed by familiar faces that greet you as you arrive in Alterna and then cleverly grows when you meet three bosses in trying to find your missing friend.
What We’ve said about Splatoon 3’s Multiplayer
Built on the solid base of its predecessors, the flood of amazing improvements to the quality of life and new features Splatoon 3 brings make it difficult to imagine the ink-based shooter game like it was prior to this. It’s more than just an upgrade, the array of new features makes it equally appealing to experienced players and accessible to novices. While there aren’t any major additions that alter the game in the same way that Salmon Run’s inclusion changed the game for Splatoon 2. Splatoon 3’s updated weapons, maps and PvE bosses been able to make their already great multiplayer battles more enjoyable.
Read the complete review of the multiplayer
You’ll have to complete a set amount of missions in order to earn an adequate amount of money to remove ooze, the method and where you choose to complete them is entirely dependent on you since there’s no one specific mission that is mandatory. It’s risky to make multiple missions only to allow you to skip them completely and yet I was able to appreciate the way Splatoon 3 was considerate of my time and my preferences . For instance, If I wanted to accumulate the currency I needed by completing some missions in order to make it to the next island in pursuit of an epic boss battle I was willing to do so. If you’re simply trying to see how fast you can get there or take your time looking over each location and finishing every mission, this game doesn’t judge. I was able to finish the main story within 4 to 5 hours skipping one island completely and skipping a lot of other missions. But, there was lots of more to do after that I needed another couple of hours to complete each mission and inspect each island’s location about eight hours in total.
There are many reasons to explore Spatoon 3’s Arctic hub world. First, there’s the intriguing remains of a lost civilization that is covered in deadly liquids are full of all kinds of treasures. Beyond the standard stories, you’ll also get rewards that can be used when playing multiplayer or single-player including items that grant upgrades to cosmetics that add to your locker inside the game’s multiplayer lobby as well as xp and cash boosts for be used in games.There are many reasons to keep coming back to explore Spatoon 3’s Arctic hub world.
Many of these secrets lie buried in the snow, requiring the keen nose of your little buddy to pinpoint for you. He’s not exactly the brightest bioluminescent fish in the sea, and sometimes it took repeated passes before he’d rush over to indicate buried treasure, but it was so charming to watch the Smallfry scamper around and accidentally fall off cliffs that I forgave him. He also has his uses in the missions themselves, acting as part distraction, part grenade — but I rarely found a situation where tossing him into the fray was preferable to just diving in and splatting enemies myself. No matter how many Hero Gear skills I bought to increase his health and damage and decrease his cooldown times and ink usage, he never became all that useful outside of very specific missions. (Why would I want to upgrade his health if I’ve never seen enemies really hurt him?) I ended up focusing on more obvious upgrades like better weapon spread and ink capacity for myself, and I became far more effective at wiping out enemies than he was.
If you liked the Splatoon 2. Its Octo Expansion and its approach to mission structure, then you’re enjoying a great time. Although Splatoon 3 is still unwilling to let go completely of the control of its players because of constant chatter with your squid buddies on what you should do next however, the missions themselves are generally packed with fun ideas which also offer some great lessons to take to multiplayer games. A majority of them will offer several options of various weapons, and I enjoyed that even the most basic objectives gave me opportunities to learn about the types of weapons I’d probably not be able to unlock during multiplayer for a long time. In later levels, you can play with more specific variations to help you comprehend and appreciate the specifics of a weapon’s speed of fire, ink consumption and the amount of terrain that a shot will cover. I was excited to test new weapons that were more sophisticated, such as the explosive-launching bucket or the new splatana which has marks along its ink-spinning “blade” and is equipped to appear like a chainsaw. Being able to experience these armaments that blast ink eventually affected the weapons I decided to buy after a few hours in multiplayer games.
Certain missions that are more wacky are also a great way of showing off the potential of Splatoon 3’s unique capabilities, allowing you to experiment with them and with infinite possibilities. The ability to fly between pillars, like Spider-Man and then crash into be able to ambush enemies with the Zipcaster was fun and provided me with an enjoyable environment in which to explore the possibilities of how it can be utilized in multiplayer. Although it was not an individual battle against other players on the same online server, this one-player experience performed a fantastic job of getting me ready for the fundamental concepts. Things like managing ink as well as understanding spread of weapon and even making use of an one or the other of Splatoon 3’s two new motion options which is Squid Surge and Squid Surge — to quickly ascend walls and take the drops on targets following the squid surges upwards. I would have liked it to given some time to demonstrate another new feature called Squid Roll Squid Roll — and how to utilize it to effectively and swiftly stay away from harm’s way by leaping out in a different direction, without losing momentum.The single-player campaign performed great job in getting me ready for the fundamental concepts.
Each area has a few “main-but-still-optional” missions found in gold kettles, and these take you through fairly standard objectives like battling through enemies and platforming through inked terrain to reach your goal; meanwhile, dozens of black kettles provide more interesting and often challenging goals but will charge you a small fee to access (and retry should you fail). Even the zaniest objectives can teach you about properly dividing your time between inking terrain and enemies – like a race across rapidly falling platforms, or following the narrow ink paths created by curling bombs through lethal enemy ink, requiring quick and precise banking shots. One of my favorites included a maze straight out of Pac-Man – I had to rapidly paint a path through while using an inkbrush to collect salmon eggs and beat the clock, all while dodging indestructible ink-spewing machines that I could only briefly interrupt with my Smallfry buddy.
The individual missions are usually no longer than 3 to 5 minutes. I believe that this found a perfect balance that allowed these levels to shine. It’s the perfect amount of time for you to showcase some unique objectives or gimmicks that gives players a couple of rooms to put your techniques into practice, and present what you’ve learned in order to accomplish the objective -but it’s all before you become repetitive and boring. The decision of Splatoon 3 to move hidden collectibles out of the missions itself had initially made me skeptical but the no-distraction setting lets the speedy nature of the games make the game shine.
In terms of the enemies you’ll encounter I was disappointed to discover it was the “fuzzy” version of these Octarians I faced in the previous Splatoon versions are just an aesthetic change. Octosnipers continue to snipe, while Octobombers continue to lob bombs. Splatoon 3 offers practically no new enemies aside from two new enemies I discovered. A brand new Octarian version releases a shockwave that you need to leap over, which is a good method of getting me ready for similar shockwave attacks when playing in the PvE Salmon Run mode and in PvP.
In the past, Levels have often remixed these concepts with the placement of enemies in clever ways that I never felt like I was on the same path.Each mission is usually less than three or five minutes. I believe that this found a sweet spot which truly made these levels shine.
While there are also plenty of returning platforming mechanics like ink rails and sponges, the levels often remixed these ideas with enemy placement in clever ways so that I never really felt like I was retreading the same ground. Concepts like soaker blocks that required you to ink an initial block to extend more platforms outward for a short duration seemed like a simple concept, until I had to contend with enemies firing upon me and inadvertently undoing my platform-building in the process.
The bosses in Splatoon 3 are fun to fight up against, however the details of how they function should be figured out on your own. They still adhere to the old method that says “shoot the boss after being exposed three times to win” the new group of bosses is much more approachable and come with some flair to their appeal. One particular boss has me feeling awestruck Super Mario Sunshine vibes. Although, they’re not easy, but the challenge of these battles isn’t overly difficult However, I’ll be happy to play them again, despite the small version of Octo bosses from earlier entries.
I was delighted to be able to see Splatoon 3 build from the foundation laid by Splatoon 2. Octo Expansion and its finale which only increasing to provide an unforgettable experienceand a magnificent final boss that blends the perfect mix of extravagant spectacle and iconic Splatoon music beats. In the end, those who complete could discover opportunities to explore in the aftermath of the story, for instance the ultimate challenge run to test your skills to the challenge. It brought a rush of excitement that I’ve never experienced ever since the Mario Odyssey’s Darker Side of the Moon.
Tableturf is the Other Mode for Single Player
The central hub of Splatville is mostly home to multiplayer-focused retail stores and lobbies has the Tableturf Battle Dojo allowing you to play a mediocre card game with AI opponents (Nintendo promises multiplayer to be added in the near future and for no cost). Minigames with cards have always had a hit or miss experience however, unfortunately Tableturf does not do as well as it can ink. Mixing an odd combination from games like Splatoon’s Turf Wars and Tetris, you’ll be using the cards from your customized deck to create pattern patterns onto a grid board similar to the process of coloring a field. The patterns are usually big and heavy, which make them an issue when you need to surround a certain square to activate specific points.
Due to the extremely limited number of cards which I could not even manage to slow my opponent’s progression. The moment I was allowed to use the game’s “Special Attack” to overlap my opponent’s squares and watch their scores drop by three while my score increase by six wasn’t exciting, and nearly every match ended with each of us taking in the past few rounds due to the lack of cards that would fit in the board. If a game of cards consistently end with a whimper of a loud bang it’s hard to get the desire to start making new decks or challenge harder opponents.
Splatoon 3’s single-player adventure brings all the excitement of Splatoon 2’s innovative Octo Expansion missions and places them in a slick environment in which freedom of choice lets players get whatever you’d like out of your experience, knowing that you’ll return to play more. Even when it is heavily reliant in familiar adversaries, clever levels and objectives and bosses with a lot of personalities keep things fresh throughout the entire time.