Games of The Year: Splatoon
With 2015 coming to a close, it feels like a good time to reflect. It’s been a mixed year of sleeper hits and bitter disappointments. Micro-transactions became a hot topic, as did the continued growth of season passes. We’ve seen big name franchise depart from their creators and promising games cancelled. When all is said and done, looking back at the good games is what this is all about.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is not featured at any point, purely because it’s came out at the worst possible time…for me. It’s impossible to fit in such a large game, and playing it like it deserves, while I have so much ‘on’ at the moment.
Nintendo have had a rough few years, at least in terms of public lashings. Numerous sites and critics revelled in the early struggles of the 3DS. The Wii U was prime meat for insults and snarky tweets. Nintendo did what it did best, soldiered on and created video games.
2015 saw Nintendo try it’s hand at various things. Captain Toad Treasure Seeker and Yoshi’s Wooly World weren’t new Ips, but they were attempts at new concepts. Nintendo did take a chance on a new title, a bold step for them. If there’s two things Nintendo are guilty of, it’s not creating new IPs or not fully embracing online multiplayer. Splatoon changed that.
The right game, at the right time, Splatoon was the bright light in a pretty dull peroid of video games. Dropped into a market of gritty, realistic and time hogging games, Splatoon took things back to basics. Nintendo have always had a knack for creating simple games that capture the essence of fun. Nintendo focused on a core principle, building various tricks and mechanics around it, resulting in one of most potent games of 2015.
Splatoon’s 4 v 4 competitive multiplayer spine provides the perfect platform for Nintendo to build upon. The objective is simple, paint the map in your teams colours. On paper, the concept sounds simple. In practice, things are a little more tricky. Splashing the map in your teams colours is only part of Splatoon. Weighing up when, and where, to engage the opposing team plays a large role in the overall experience.
Those few seconds spent repawning can see a match turn into a loss. It’s one of many cogs in the well oiled machine that is Splatoon. A surprising amount of depth can be found beneath the surfaces. Players can equip various items of clothing, each of which have perks and abilities. Unlike other multiplayer shooters, Nintendo ensured that balance was always a priority over spectacle.
For their first major step into competitive online shooters, Splatoon manges to level all of the guff that most modern shooters suffer from. It takes everything in it’s stride, with self aware cheeky winks and giggles at the player. Nintendo’s confidence and charm oozes through, allowing for some room for forgiveness when games aren’t exactly going the player’s way.
2015 was the year of big games, but Splatoon’s controlled chaos carved out a neat little space in the market. It’s everything Nintendo is known for, projected onto a genre and field they’re not accustomed to. It’s not perfect, nor is it for everyone, but the sheer amount of fun dripping from Splatoon is impossible to deny. The Amiibo content is still bullshit.