An Idiot’s Adventures In Gameland – Steve McNeil

#2. Splatoon!

Hi guys. It’s me again. “No idea who you are, mate”, you quite rightly retort. Regardless, hello.

This week I’ve been playing a lot of Splatoon, to write a review and some features about it (top ten levels, guide to multiplayer, stuff like that…) for Ginx TV. If this article goes online in-time, you can catch me chatting about the game on Ginx Live at 6pm tonight. (Virgin Media Channel 286, and

If you missed that, either because you didn’t read this until after 6pm, or because you just couldn’t bear the thought of looking at my mouth moving (both solid reasons), I’ll tell you a little bit about it here instead.

This isn’t a review though. I toyed with the idea of writing a proper one, but the last thing the internet needs is another chubby white guy in his 30s posting a review of a videogame on a website.

Instead, if I’m writing about a game on here, which I will do from time to time, I’ll try to give you the stuff I think I’d want to know about it, without going all “journalism-degree/simile-wank”.

First up, most importantly, the online stuff’s great. You can either play with mates, or get dropped into a 4-v-4 death-match. You don’t have a say as to what level it sticks you in, but you do choose your weapon, and supporting accessories that give you useful modifiers. You get to buy better ones as you level up.

It bashes along nicely, with battles lasting just 3 minutes a pop. I gather there’s going to be additional game modes released post-launch – the pre-release version I got my hands on only had the Turf War mode – so whilst I can’t speak to the breadth of options, it sounds like they’ll be adding plenty of the things you’d expect in the very near future.

What you might find tedious is that you can’t do 4-player battles off-line with mates.  I’d assumed there’d be a split screen, Goldeneye-style, 4-player mode and it’s a real shame they’ve not managed to include that. Instead, there’s a 1-v-1 balloon fight battle, where you compete against a friend to destroy the most balloons, whilst avoiding getting splatted (which reduces your balloon count). It makes good use of the Wii U gamepad, with the player using it focusing on its screen, whilst player 2 focuses on the telly. I had a lot of fun playing it but I imagine most people, like me, would have preferred the full-fat 4-player experience.


As a lifelong Nintendo fan, it’s a hard slog defending them with stuff like this omission, or the bizarre choice of Battle Mode on the recent Mario Kart 8. Surely EVERYONE knows what people want from these games, so why not give them it? But then, we’re talking about a company that seem to take great pride in making it harder to find a particular amiibo in a shop than it would be to find a snake’s anus in a pitch black room full of hose-pipes.

Back to Splatoon (Thank God: ED.), The thing that might surprise you is that the single player stuff is arguably worth the price of admission alone. It’s endlessly inventive, and offers an experience that is frequently far more surprising and satisfying than the comparable COD and Battlefield equivalents.

You can bash through it in a day, sure, but I’ve never been overly bothered about shorter games. I guess if you’re 14, and you’ve saved up all your pocket money to buy a video game instead of some tasty drugs, cider, or grime records (I’m pretty sure that’s a thing), you’d want to get your money’s worth. But, as someone with a car to wash and a garden that’s constantly attempting to destroy my will to live through its unique combination of weeds and rotting fence panels, I don’t have the time to blow 50-plus hours on side-quests in games that involve repairing elves’ hats. Short is fine.  Having said that, though, The Order 1886 was gash. I’ve had more interactive experiences adjusting the volume on my TV remote whilst watching Holby.

In summary, I think we can all safely say: that wasn’t a proper review. But you probably also have a sense of whether you want to buy Splatoon or not. So, job done.


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