Shooters have been a popular genre for nearly as long as video games have existed. Multiple generations have cut their teeth on games like Doom, Goldeneye, Unreal Tournament, and Gears of War. Revisiting a favorite shooter or picking up a new one can transport you back to the good old days of playing split-screen matches against your buddies. If you want to feel some extra nostalgia next time you get an itchy R-trigger finger, and you have fond memories of that time your parents made you spend the first week of summer vacation staining the deck and still got all mad about it when you were done, try Splatoon 3.
Obviously, you have some experience trying to cover a surface with a dyed fluid in order to change its color, and you’ll find plenty of ways to do just that in Splatoon 3. Unlike during that brutal week of staining, you won’t have to make up imaginary games in your head to stave off boredom. Splatoon 3 has a full single player campaign, several competitive team-based modes, and a cooperative horde mode to keep you busy. You can even screw off from painting entirely to go play a tabletop card game, only this time you won’t lose driving privileges when you get caught.
The variety doesn’t stop at game modes. There are so many different weapons and loadouts that you’ll never actually master any of them, just like you never quite figured out how to get between the boards with that flimsy sponge brush. For added realism, you can post about your favorite weapons and strategies on the Splatoon subreddit. Someone is bound to imply that you’re a moron, like Pops did when you painted yourself into a corner and got trapped there for, like, two hours.
Reddit may be toxic, but Splatoon 3 has an in-game community that’s just as lively and colorful as its gameplay. Walking around the game’s hub, Splatsville, is a blast, as you participate in its unique meme culture by checking out doodles made by other players and creating your own. Splatoon players are actually as weird as your dad thought your high school friends were, and you’ll never be bored by the content they create.
If drawing isn’t your thing, don’t worry – there’s other ways you can express yourself in Splatoon 3. You can deck your character out in the flashiest squid clothes and fashion accessories, all of which have stat modifiers to up your game. Spending an evening grinding through Turf War matches to unlock a new ability slot for your favorite shoes never feels like a waste of time, and it’s fun to build your wardrobe as your Splatoon career progresses. With plenty of options and a mechanic that allows you to re-spec specific items – albeit a bit slowly – you will always look fresh, like you did when you started staining the deck in your brand new Atticus T-shirt even though your dad specifically told you to wear old clothes. Luckily, Inkling paint washes right off, unlike Ready Seal Dark Walnut Exterior Wood Stain.
Splatoon 3 is one of the best multiplayer games on the Switch, and with two waves of DLC announced, now is the perfect time to jump in and get painting.
Splatoon 3 might be for you if:
- You like multiplayer shooting games and want to try something off the beaten path.
- Grinding matches to collect and upgrade gear is your idea of a good time.
- You appreciate it when a game has a horde mode, but it’s not the main attraction for you.
- You have a sense of humor and appreciation of whimsy, despite any deck-related trauma you might be carrying.
It might not be for you if:
- You prefer shooters that have more of an edge.
- Seeing that you didn’t evenly cover the entire map by the end of the match will trigger horrific flashbacks of that one terrible summer.
You can pick up Splatoon 3 here.