I don’t like RPGs. I don’t like online FPSes. But I do like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and I’m surprised how much I liked my first taste of Splatoon. Nintendo is just nailing everything at the minute!
Yes, this is the beginning of Nintendo’s Splatoon 2 Global Testfire on Nintendo Switch – essentially a “can we get everyone online at once without the Nintendo server room burning down” stress-test. The answer, if you’re wondering, is pretty much “yes”; I only encountered two connection issues in my first one-hour session, which doesn’t seem bad for a beta test, although in all fairness, some Redditors are reporting they had a far less smooth experience.
For the most part, matchmaking was surprisingly speedy. After picking from one of four weapons – the splatty one, the double splatty one, the paint-rollery one, or the sniper-y one – I never had long to wait before being plopped into one of the three demo arenas and sent into battle.
Despite the relative lack of content on offer – the demo only includes the “Turf War” play mode, which involves painting as much of the arena in your team’s colour as possible, within a set time limit – there’s a nice amount of depth and variety on offer here. Once I got used to the control scheme, which included pleasingly precise motion controls for aiming (pleasingly optional, mind you, if you’re not into that), I quickly found myself becoming more strategic and more and more useful to my teammates.
If I’ve got one complaint, it’s that the game sometimes gets too chaotic. Not in terms of the actual gameplay, but in terms of all the UI and HUD bells and whistles that’re continually chopping and changing and flashing all over the place.
There’s a lot to keep track of and, in the demo at least, the game made no effort to explain most of it to me. An arrow with the name of one of the other players, “Patricia” emblazoned on it kept appearing at the bottom of the screen in one of my matches, but I never did figure out what it was trying to tell me.
Splatoon 2 did make a great first impression, regardless, and I’m looking forward to trying it out again tomorrow.
The next Global Testfire session is at 3am tomorrow (UK time), followed by two more sessions at 11am and 7pm. Your last two chances are on Sunday, at 4am and midday.