Squid friends, load up your weapons and come to the place of style and marine scents for a new batch of colourful jousting. Splatoon 2 Mobile arrives on Android & iOS with an aquatic-fun concept that has already proven itself on Wii U. The question now is whether the magic still works!
We’re not going to lie to ourselves, a new Splatoon 2 Mobile sounds a bit like evidence. The painted shooter and its multi dynamics seem to have been designed for Nintendo’s new platform as it already meets its criteria of fun among friends and accessibility. The concept is still as addictive as ever: Two teams try to cover the floor of an arena with their own colour of paint, while lining up a few frags in passing, just for shape. By offering impeccable manoeuvrability even with the gyroscope, as many ways to play as the Switch allows, exquisite mobility with squid transformations to swim in the paint, and technical gameplay that requires team play, Splatoon is already a great concept that only requires talented developers to be up to speed. Since the Nintendo teams are the ones running the show, the game is fun to play at every moment and the games go on without respite.
Splatoon 2 Mobile : The Return Of The Classics
So the Splatoon effect is still there. But what Splatoon 2 Mobile brings back in its little pouch remains to be seen. Let’s be clear on this level, the answer is “not much” and if you were expecting an evolution, which we often hope for with a second episode, as much to say that you will be disappointed. The single-player mode, for example, is very similar to the previous one (although it is new levels) with the same micro-island concept, hidden bonuses to improve your equipment and bosses that are more impressive than difficult. The solo is still honourable, though, allowing you to discover a little bit about how weapons work and even have fun with some interesting gameplay ideas such as growing sponges and moving platforms.
But it’s around the multi that Splatoon takes on a whole new dimension, as was the case for the previous opus. In addition to the classic Territory Warfare, there are mainly three modes available in the Pro and League sections: Zone Defense in which you must hold one or more zones with your colour for as long as possible, Risky Expedition in which the zone to be guarded is mobile, and finally Bazookarpe Mission which consists of taking the eponymous artefact (which is also a weapon) to the opposing camp. If you haven’t played the previous opus, just know that these different modes require players to work as a team to be effective. Since swimming in its ink allows us to go faster, we must be careful to find the right balance between going towards the enemy and watering the playing surface to allow better mobility for the whole team. These modes are always very demanding and turnarounds are not uncommon. Unfortunately, part of the tactical dimension loses interest in the absence of voice chat on most online sessions. Indeed, you can only chat with other players during games via the Nintendo Lounge (via the mobile application), necessarily between friends. We would have liked something more general.
Play-Well, Play A Lot
Of course, this doesn’t take anything away from Splatoon 2 Mobile lyrical pretensions. Exhilarating and fun at the same time, the gameplay is still as efficient as ever and the arrival of new games allows for a little more diversification. We especially note the notable presence of the double gun which opens the way to greater mobility via the rolls. The most astonishing thing is to see to what extent the way of playing differs according to the weapon. You don’t handle the roll like the sniper rifle and it takes a long learning phase to master your toy, in addition to secondary and special weapons. Moreover, given its multi online dimension and technicality, Splatoon 2 Mobile, just like the first opus, is a title to be reserved for players who intend to give their all. If you rarely play and don’t plan to train, you will never have the level to enjoy the gameplay against more experienced players. Splatoon is played a lot and well or not played at all. This feeling is also found in the experience and rank system: you have to play a lot to gain levels and unlock new equipment, at a point that can sometimes become painful. The same is true for the ranks, through which you can unlock League mode: you have a specific rank for each game mode and your bar can drop down a level if you lose several times. When you know that it’s always impossible to choose which game mode you want to play since the mode itself changes every two hours, it can be frustrating. On this subject, Nintendo would have opened the valves a bit more rather than forcing the player’s hand…
Splatoon 2 Mobile : Modes
But let’s not forget that when it comes to game mode, we also have a newcomer: the Salmon Run mode. To put it simply, it should be seen as a “zombie” mode that can be played cooperatively by four players. Harmful fish attack your base and you have to slaughter them to collect eggs. Of course, bosses appear regularly and require a little more strategy, like being hit from behind for example. They release golden eggs which are in fact your target. The whole thing works in waves, and sometimes you’ll have to deal with several bosses at the same time. This Salmon Run Mode is a success even though it’s a bit repetitive, and here again, good communication with other players is essential, especially since it’s possible to revive buddies. On the other hand, the big downside still comes from Nintendo’s policy: this mode is only available at times decided by Nintendo, which seems to be one day a week so far, but that can potentially change …
Because it is important to remember that Nintendo intends to treat Splatoon 2 Mobile in the same way as its predecessor. The title will benefit from regular additions of new weapons, and potentially new modes, to keep the community in suspense. Splatfest events are back with gifts and the opportunity to get equipment with better bonuses at the end. If the promise is kept, and it’s hard to see how it won’t be, there’s no doubt that Splatoon 2 Mobile has a long life ahead of it!
Finally, let’s end with a last little flat: given the short duration of the Splatoon 2 Mobile games, the waiting time during matchmaking, cumulated with the unseizable endgame screens, is a definite problem. In the best case, you will already wait for more than a whole minute between the end of one game and the beginning of the next. But when matchmaking struggles to find the eighth player, which happens devilishly often, this time can sometimes be doubled. If you’re the impatient type, you’ve been warned.
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