Splatoon made kids and squids out of all of us in 2015, but don't put your roller back in the garage just yet: Splatoon 2 is coming to the Nintendo Switch in Summer 2017.
A sliver of the new Splatoon was on display at the Switch event in New York City last week, and I went hands-on for a couple of rounds. Alas, a couple of rounds was all I was allowed; unsurprisingly, the game was a popular attraction.
Justifiably so, even though Splatoon 2 admittedly doesn't differ a whole lot from the first game. If you compare the two side-by-side, you're going to have a hard time telling them apart at a glance. That doesn't invalidate Splatoon 2's existence, though. For one thing, the Wii U's dismal sales mean the original Splatoon went severely under-appreciated (though it still sold well, considering). For another thing, Splatoon's core formula is simply fun. There's not a lot to improve on.
The good times hold up in Splatoon 2, too. It's been two years since the last series of turf wars rocked the Inklings' world, and another batch of battles is bubbling across the city. The rules of war haven't changed: You must cover as much of the battlefield as you can in your team's color within the time limit.
You use a variety of paint-bombs and guns to get the job done. Most importantly, you can shift into a squid and zip through areas of the stage that bear your team's hue. This is the fastest way to get around (outside of warping directly to a teammate), plus going for a swim also reloads your weapon's ink.
Splatoon fans should be able to dive right into Splatoon 2, and newcomers to the series shouldn't feel like they're missing out on much if they skip over the first game. That doesn't mean there's nothing fresh about Splatoon 2, though. Here are some confirmed differences between the first game and the new instalment:
Now you press "X" to access the map
Since the Switch lacks a dedicated secondary screen, level maps must be accessed with the "X" button. I didn't find this distracting, but I'm very much a casual Splatoon player. Professionals and otherwise dedicated players may feel otherwise; we'll have to see.
There are local multiplayer options
Now you can engage in turf wars while touching shoulders with your closest pals. Invest in a bigger couch.
There's a new weapon type: Splat Dualies
The Switch reps at the event made sure to give Splatoon 2's players plenty of hands-on with the series' newest weapon type, the Splat Dualies. As its name suggests, they're a pair of pistols. That's cool, but what's seriously awesome is that the Dualies' special attack suspends you using a double-stream of ink, much like Mario's FLUDD backpack in Super Mario Sunshine. When you're airborne, you can throw down paint bombs at your foes. It's very sweet.
There are new special attacks for old weapons
Some of your favorite tools of war are getting an overhaul. For instance, the special attack for the Ink Roller now lets you leap into the air and come down with an explosion of ink, which can cover a wide area of rival turf and splat any opposing teammates unfortunate to get caught in the shrapnel.
There are new songs
Alas, I didn't get to see the Squid Sisters for myself, but I assume Callie and Marie are hanging around somewhere. Nintendo did confirm Splatoon 2 has new songs, and if they're delivered by any other pop idol duo, there will probably be demonstrations in front of Nintendo's headquarters.