Wow, that Nintendo Direct sure had some stuff didn’t it? Splatoon 2 is out in July. Arms is out in June. The 3DS hasn’t been abandoned. Nintendo is still churning out Amiibos. And uh, there’s even more games coming to the Nintendo Switch! So much for that Direct being a “Splatoon 2 and ARMS” exclusive.
Right off the bat, it was nice to see Nintendo spotlight the 3DS, a system that I figured would start to be ignored in favor of the Nintendo Switch. That doesn’t look to be the case, mostly. With new Kirby titles in honor of its 25-year anniversary, a new 2D platformer Pikmin, and a new BoxBoy, the 3DS’ line-up doesn’t look to be floundering at all. Even Miitopia, which might be best categorized as Tomodachi Life the RPG, will be coming to the west this year. Though, after 2017, I wonder if the handheld console’s longevity once the Switch starts picking up steam. And if, like the rhythm game Voez, the Switch will opt for more portable-exclusive titles as well. (Which might put the nail in the coffin for the ol’ 3DS.)
Arms detailed more of its upcoming fighters, like Minmin, a literal noodle-armed gal. The game spotlighted the interchangeable gloves that will be equippable while boasting that yes, Arms will be a bit “deeper” than it looked on the surface. While most fighting games, in general, aren’t personally my thing, Arms’ saturated cartoonish style has piqued my interest. It seems to hit all the stylish notes that Splatoon once did, and for that, I look forward to seeing more of it.
There was a lot of Splatoon 2 news. A release date (July 21st). A photo mode. “Befriendable” amiibos that save outfit data onto them (useful, Nintendo noted in the Direct, for visiting a friend’s house and wanting to outfit a squid kid there). Three new Amiibos of inklings. The biggest news, however, came at the start of the Splatoon 2 section of the presentation: with the VHS-esque video reveal of a four-player PvE mode.
The lo-fi video bounces straight into a new mode being introduced in Splatoon 2 called Salmon Run. Salmon Run is a PvE horde mode, where a four-player co-op team battles waves of scary looking salmon. Occasionally, stronger salmon come along to join the fight. All the while, the inklings scurry to collect “Power Eggs” in their efforts to “change the world.” The entire situation is framed as just another freelance gig for the inklings. One that is dismal yet worthwhile, as the excited announcer explains might be popular “due to the rewards.” Hah. Heard that one before.
About a month ago, an advertisement in a New York subway station went viral. “You eat coffee for lunch,” the ad reads for the online freelance marketplace Fiverr. “You follow through on your follow through. Sleep deprivation is your drug of choice. You might be a doer.” The ad glorifies the unhealthy lifestyles that freelancers, no matter what their craft, often have to resort to. Once upon a time, I knew that life all too well.
At least Splatoon 2's grim imagining of freelance life feels true. The map for Salmon Run is not as bright and colorful as the rest of Splatoon. In fact, it's kinda ugly. This part of the world is grimy, as the inklings swap out their stylish fits for practical work clothing. Freelancing is not fun and games (...except for when it literally is fun and games in a PvE mode). But hey, in spite of all that freelance-prone bleakness, there's always that light at the end of the tunnel. Or maybe not. So it goes.
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