I feel like my perception of the post-apocalyptic, exclusively sea critter filled world of Splatoon has been completely undone in the matter of an hour. Because here we are, at its sequel. And during the recent Splatoon 2 Global Testfire, my eagle eyed senses caught eye of something strange during a match: pigeons. I had plopped down a ledge, inked the turf to squid my way through more ink, only to scatter a small flock of pigeons with my presence. What the hell dude.
As you may know, Splatoon envisions a world full of squids, anemones, evil octopi, among other sea creatures, as the game resides in the post-apocalyptic time known as the Mollusc Era. The only non-sea-dwelling animal is a single feline named Judd, who is only around after being cryogenically frozen 10,000 years prior by a human who initially caused humanity’s extinction. Among those animals (aside from the occasional bird that apparently showed up in the hub area according to a Google Search), pigeons were not one of them. And why would they be? They’re not animals that dwell the sea; they take flight in the sky. To include them would break the world’s lore (which imagines a world rid of actual humans, where only impeccably stylish inkling kids walk the Earth). To include pigeons upends the sanctity of that universally understood truth by players. And alas, I’m left pondering what other animals will guide us to questioning more about Splatoon 2’s fresh world, and if this spells trouble for the fated Mollusc Era.
In the first Splatoon, its highly underrated single-player campaign detailed a lot of the game’s buried lore. Being a primarily multiplayer romp, it was the only place the story behind Splatoon could live on and find an audience. For many, the single-player campaign was inessential (and a bit out of the way in the hub world, to be completely honest). Yet what a lot of players missed was a pleasant reworking of platforming in Splatoon—something only tepidly represented in the multiplayer maps of Splatoon. For Splatoon 2, I can only hope its confirmed single-player campaign serves a bit of both: more platforming, with a side of story. (And please, tell me why and how there are pigeons.)
In the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire, held over the weekend in six hour-long intervals, new clothes, maps, guns, specials, and, of course, pigeons were on display. There’s now Splat Dualies, twin guns with a high rate of fire, lower range, and a dodge roll equipped. Despite all these shiny new additions, my eyes were fixated on something else: the new hair. From a silly inkling manbun to a hairstyle akin to Skrillex, the sequel’s giving squid kids a bit more customization of their look aside from mere threads.
People enjoy Splatoon for all sorts of reasons. They could be enamored by the enjoyably non-violent centered loop of play (where your main goal is inking turf, splatting others just comes with the territory). Or they could be drawn to its casual-leaning playstyle: where anyone can virtually master it with the variety of guns and specials at your helm. But in my personal view, I've leaned heavily towards the series for another reason: it’s inherently a stylish and cool game, which, especially coming from goofy ol’ Nintendo, feels almost novel. I consider myself a stylish person: I enjoy shopping, even if my closet is 70 percent basics from Uniqlo. In Splatoon, I’m employed with the same sense of stylish freedom. And from the peek at Splatoon 2 during the Global Testfire, its sequel seems to be taking that a step further—hairstyles and all.
In essence, setting aside pigeon-related controversies, Splatoon 2 is, well, more Splatoon. Guns pack an ink-filled splat. Squidding your way through ink puddles is still an oddly satisfying method of travel. You remain looking as stylish as ever. If anything, during my time spent during the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire over the weekend, I was left feeling like Splatoon 2 was more of a Splatoon 1.5. But honestly, that’s not much of a bad thing. At least not in this Squid Kid’s opinion.