I was very excited to hear that Nintendo is currently working on Splatoon 3. And, I’m totally fine with it not being released until next year because I’m not done playing Splatoon 2 just yet.
I only bought the original Splatoon for Wii U because of my former co-worker. He always talked it up before I even owned a Wii U. He would sing this song, “You’re a kid! You’re a squid!” all day. I enjoyed the time I spent in Splatoon, but I didn’t spend too much time there since it was on the Wii U (and my Wii U didn’t get much play time from me).
Splatoon 2 on the Switch was a totally different story. I bought it day one. I bought the Splatoon 2 Pro Controller. My second set of joy con were Splatoon 2 colors (and they quickly became my primary ones). I would have bought a Splatoon 2 carrying case if I didn’t already own a Zelda one.
I gave Splatoon 2 a good run during its first year. I played many online matches and participated in tons of salmon runs for Mr. Grizz with my friends, online. It was always one of my top five “most played games” on the Nintendo Switch. Last year, (2020) I had my girlfriend try it out and she loved Splatoon 2. This renewed my love for the game too. Now, it’s my second most played game after Animal Crossing (Splatoon 2: 155 hours, Animal Crossing: New Horizons: 305 hours).
With the announcement of Splatoon 3 and seeing how they are adding a bunch of new features and content (from Nintendo’s tweets and the trailer) I decided to go back in time and play some original Splatoon. I hadn’t touched the first game since well before the release of Splatoon 2, so I never really noticed the big changes from one game to the next.
Below is what I learned about each game after revisiting the original Splatoon:
SPLATOON Wii U (2015)
Current Level: 9
Top Weapons: .52 Gal • Splat Roller • Splattershot
When I first jumped back into the original Splatoon on the Wii U last week, I was worried that the online wouldn’t work. I thought that either the servers would be turned off already or that no one would be playing. It did take me a long while to find my first match. It took long enough that I got a bit worried.
Not much has changed in the pre-game visuals and matchmaking. This part is mostly the same (minus the mini game) all the way up to the team intro videos right before the match begins. The first level I played was Blackberry Skatepark which later came to Splatoon 2 in pretty much the same layout, so I was pretty familiar with this one.
Playing the original Splatoon today just feels slow. The new game is so smooth. I always had trouble with the motion controls in the original game (maybe it was the giant gamepad in my hands). I lost most gun fights, unless I had my Splat Roller to roll right over opposing players. It was nearly impossible to make simple jumps from one platform to the next.
My average points per match were always somewhere around ~500, leaving me as the middle/bottom scorer. Something that threw me off coming back to Splatoon was the jump button. I guess they had to change the jump button to ‘B” in the new version, since ‘X’ is now the open map button.
One thing that I really loved from Splatoon that wasn’t in Splatoon 2 was the Squid Jump Pre-Match mini game. It was a fun little touch during matchmaking. This is something you don’t see in many online games. Usually matchmaking time is used for Twitter scrolling.
Splatoon 2 Nintendo Switch (2017)
Current Level: 40
Top Weapons: Aerospray • Sploosh-o-matic • Dualies
In Splatoon 2 the movement feels so much more fluid. The game is fast-paced with quick movement and it’s much, much easier to get around the stages. Sure, I miss some jumps here and there and end up in the water, but I can make simple jumps and continue moving smoothly.
I still get inked in many gunfights, but I have gotten much better at them. Most of the time I’m just searching for unpainted and unoccupied spots on the map to spread my paint. The paint is also so beautiful and fresh-looking in this game (you’re legally obligated to use the word “fresh” at least twice when talking about Splatoon). Going back to the original Splatoon the paint looks dull and boring. In this game it’s shiny and wet.
My average points per round in the Splatoon sequel is ~1000. I’m usually the top scorer (sometimes number two) for my team. The jump button is now “B” which makes more sense, also because ‘X’ makes a better map button. It was just weird to go back to the first game and feel like a real Salmonid because I didn’t know how to jump.
Splatoon 2 added a new mini game or pre-match warm up where you get to play DJ. It’s not as much of a “game” as Squid Jump, but it’s still pretty fresh (Fresh number 2!). You get to remix the matchmaking music and add your own sounds and scratches to it.
The Good and The Bad: Splatoon vs Splatoon 2
One thing the original Splatoon had over Splatoon 2 was the dual screens (if you were using the Wii U gamepad). The Wii U may have been a huge failure in many ways, but that second screen was sometimes put to good use. It was nice to be able to look down quickly as you continued to spread paint all over the level. In Splatoon 2 you must leave yourself unprotected while also not spreading any paint any time you wish to check the map.
SPLATOON 2 brought with it many new weapons, stages, game modes, more outfits with new power ups. We’ve even gotten way more Splatfests this time around. There’s a horde mode aka Salmon Run which is fun with a group of four. Splatoon 2 had it’s own campaign DLC (OctoExpansion), which I have not purchased yet, but hope to after I finally beat the original campaign.
Splatoon 2 also brought us the fast forward feature in the weapon shop. This is great for when you haven’t checked the shop in a while and Sheldon is talking nonstop about all his new products (and it’s still not fast enough).
We also got two new friends, Murch and Crusty Sean. Murch is great for black market clothing internet purchases using the Nintendo app. Crusty Sean provides deliciously deep-fried snacks that increase cash and XP for a few matches, as long as you have tickets to spare.
Something I noticed early on in Splatoon 2 was the inkling butts. When transforming back into an inkling from squid form, there’s a little inkling butt that forms in Splatoon 2, but not in the original game. Here are some shots I was able to get of the cute little inkling butt.
It was much harder to capture gameplay images from the Wii U version. It wasn’t even possible while playing online. I did my best to take some shots in both games that were comparable. This way we could check out the graphical differences from Splatoon to Splatoon 2.
One last question I have to ask after returning to the world of the original Splatoon is: Where did our original hosts, The Squid Sisters (aka Callie and Marie), go? Pearl and Marina (aka Off the Hook) are great and all, although Pearl has a bit of an attitude, but I’m a bit sad that Callie and Marie had to lose their jobs for these two to come along.
I did check the internet and it turns out that the Squid Sisters just got too popular and couldn’t handle the “Ink-star Life,” so I guess I’m happy that they didn’t get fired and they chose to leave instead. I also found that they made an appearance somewhere in Splatoon 2, so it is now my goal to find them. Now I have a new question: What new characters will be the hosts of Splatsville and the Splatlands in Splatoon 3?