We went into the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire event expecting the worst. Many things could have gone wrong, with this being the first online test of the Nintendo Switch and a multiplayer competitive game to boot. These Testfires are limited to one hour at a time, thus increasing the number of people participating in them. We had issues with the original Splatoon’s Testfire demos, giving us server errors and kicking us out of games.
Imagine our surprise, then, when not only were we immediately able to connect, but also play for the entire hour without a single hiccup. That’s right! No server errors, no disconnections, no lag, everything worked as if Splatoon 2 was a final product.
The only issue we had with the Switch had nothing at all to do with Splatoon 2. If you’ve had your Nintendo Switch in Sleep Mode, Nintendo did some tinkering on their servers this week, which has caused some Switches to give an error when trying to access the online services, like the eShop and Splatoon 2. As we reported earlier, the easy fix to this is simply holding the Power Button on the Switch for a few seconds until a screen pops up. Select Power Off and let it shut down. Then simply power back on and everything should be good to go.
But, enough with that, how does the game play? Well, Splatoon 2 is a lot like the original game! The Testfire demo allows you to choose from four different weapon load-outs: Splattershot, Splat Roller, Splat Charger, and Splat Dualies. Each weapon choice has advantages and disadvantages, and each gives you a different sub-weapon, like Splat Bombs or Curling Bombs. In addition, each has its own Special attack associated with it too, like Ink Jet, which allows you to fly up in the air with two jets of paint shooting out of the bottom of your tank, ala Super Mario Sunshine.
For this demo we used the Pro Controller and left the default controls in place. So, that meant that to aim the reticule up or down we had to tilt the controller. This could also be done to aim left or right, but it was quicker to simply use the right analog stick for that in many cases. The biggest departure from the Wii U game is that there is no longer a second screen that shows the map at all times. This is unfortunate as it used to be so easy to immediately tell how much of the map was covered in paint and where your allies were. This map can be accessed by pressing the X button, but that covers your entire screen, basically taking you completely out of the competition for those few precious seconds. It works, but it’s nowhere near as elegant as it was in the Wii U game.
Our biggest hurdle with the controls was that B was jump and X was map. After playing over 100 hours of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we kept hitting X to jump. This subsided as the matches continued, but it was a surprising issue that cropped up in our short time with the game.
For the demo only Turf War is available to play. This is the mode where your team attempts to paint as much of the territory as possible. Whichever side has the most covered in three minutes wins the match. While you can of course kill your opponents, doing so does not have a direct impact on your percentage of territory claimed. However, taking out the competition can prevent them from painting for a short period of time while they respawn.
The graphics have seen a slight bump up in quality over the Wii U. There are more reflections and the paint itself looks even shinier and better than the last game. The frame rate seemed solid the entire time and we never encountered any type of graphical hiccups at all during the entire hour. The awesomely strange music that permeated the original game is back for the sequel. All of it is very quirky, but instantly addicting and fits the game’s zaniness perfectly.
The sequel features all new Specials, and so far our favorites are the Tenta Missiles, which can really take out your competition, and the Ink Jet, which catapults you into the air. Although the Ink Jet is very risky due to your enemies being able to shoot you out of the sky, it’s a fun way to paint a lot of ground and works like a charm if you’re closing in on a competitor and pop it, you fly above them and take them out before they know what hit them.
Also new to the game are the Splat Dualies, where you hold a gun in each hand. These are very fun to use and can really pump out the paint. When shooting you can press the B button and a direction to roll up to two times. This can really get you out of a jam, but the penalty is that you can’t move very well for a second or so after coming out of the roll.
When all was said and done, the Splat Roller is still probably the easiest weapon to play and have fun with. It’s a bit overpowered sometimes and it’s just fun to really paint the ground with it. There’s also a lot less fuss with it because you don’t really have to manage up and down on the Y axis like you do with the guns.
Overall the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire was a lot of fun. It featured two brand new stages and there was enough new stuff included to keep our interest. There’s no denying the fact that it plays almost identical to its predecessor, but this is just a small taste of what is on the way in the final game. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, remember there are more hour-long Testfires coming up. Here’s the schedule:
We’re looking forward to the final game, which is scheduled to release this Summer on the Switch. For more screens, videos, and more be sure to stop by our preview.