Ink the Town Red

At Nintendo’s E3 2014 Digital Event, the company announced a new IP that takes the multiplayer shooter genre in a much more family friendly direction that anything you would expect with a Call of Duty or Battlefield name attached to it.

Splatoon pits two teams, with up to four players each, against each other in a closed arena to battle for control of the map. You mark your territory with brightly colored ink and whichever team has the most ink on the field wins the game.

That’s the basic premise anyway - the characters used to spray the ink are what should make Splatoon a bit more interesting. The teams are made up of creatures called Inklings, characters with the ability to switch between human and squid form quickly and effortlessly. While in human form, Inklings use their guns and weapons to spray the field with ink, and if an enemy team member happens to be in the way, they are sent back to a spawn point.

While in squid form, the Inklings swim through the ink with ease. They use the ink to get anywhere, including traveling up walls and through grates. This mode also allows them to rocket to an ally's location by tapping that friend’s icon on the Gamepad. You can even stay still and lie in wait for an opponent to appear and then pop up and pick them off.

The developers spent a good bit of time talking about the different tactics they’ve discovered while making Splatoon. Some find the fact that you can see enemy ink being sprayed from around a corner to be a good early warning system to try and take out the opponent. Others talked about how their strategies were all about making the shortest path to the enemy area as fast as possible in order to let his allies move across the map quickly and effortlessly. Of course, enemy ink can be laid over these paths and slow down that progression, not to mention making it obvious what the attack route is.

As an interesting feature that helps keep Splatoon as feature-filled as some of those more serious online shooters are the various super weapons that can be unlocked as you cover more and more area. These weapons seem to start small, like giant roller brushes to lay a river of ink in front of you, but quickly escalate to laser ink guns, grenades and even what appears to be a satellite-based weapon that shoots down a massive stream of ink.

Splatoon will hit stores on the Wii U in the first quarter of 2015.