Before last night’s livestreamed Nintendo Switch presentation, fellow Fandom games editor Henry Gilbert and myself assumed Splatoon would see an enhanced port on Nintendo’s soon-to-be-released hardware. Splatoon stands as one of Nintendo’s most popular new properties, and moving it to the Switch would give the community a good reason to make the jump to their newest console. So, it goes without saying we were taken aback by the announcement of Splatoon 2—a true sequel—for Nintendo’s next platform.
I had the chance to play Splatoon 2 at the Manhattan event, and was delighted to see Nintendo leave the original's great gameplay undisturbed. If you've played the first Splatoon, it shouldn't even take a second to immediately click with the sequel. It features the same four-versus-four action, centered around spreading as much of your ink around the battlefield as possible—a brilliant idea that gives combatants a goal outside of simply inking other players.
The Inky Action You Love
The sole arena display during my hands-on demo felt a bit smaller than the ones found in Splatoon, though that could have been an intentional choice by Nintendo to make the game easier to show off to newcomers. And while the match I experienced played out like the hundreds I lived through in the first game, I still managed to play with one of the sequel's new weapons, the "Duelies." (Spelling subject to change.)
These dual-wielded pistols felt like many of the more rapid-fire weapons from the first game, but with a few new twists. First, they allow you to perform a dodge-roll, though this move eats up some of your precious ink supply. Second, they offer a special attack not seen in the first game: activating it causes you to hover in the air for a short period of time while raining ink from above in giant blobs. Sadly, the demo didn't offer any other new weapons I could play with, though the Duelies gave me a taste of Splatoon 2's possibilities.
Accommodating for the Switch
The demo only offered control via the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, so I unfortunately couldn't see how the console's touchscreen—which Nintendo has scarcely mentioned—interacts with the sequel. In the original game, it came in handy for jumping to a remote part of the arena: touching a specific area of the map would cause you to jump there, if you had the ability. With the Pro Controller, Nintendo solves the touch issue by letting players jump to one of their three partners by choosing one of them with the control pad after hitting another button. It's not the most elegant solution, but I'm still glad Nintendo found a way to make this feature work with a more traditional means of input.
Splatoon 2 might not be a huge move for the series, but it's the right move. Nintendo is simply shifting the game's community to a new console, while keeping the experience they love entirely intact. It's a bit of a bummer that Splatoon 2 can't be a launch game, but fans of the debut won't have to wait very long to get their fix on the Switch. Be sure to check back with Fandom for more coverage of Splatoon 2 as we learn more about this Switch sequel.