NS Review: Splatoon Global Testfire

The next big IP from Nintendo is incoming, we first heard about it at E3 2014 and it has gone on to become one of the most anticipated games on Wii U; Splatoon. We recently had a Nintendo Direct solely devoted to Nintendo’s new game. The original announcement excited me, the additional information from the Direct raised hype, but then the Global Testfire happened and everything exploded. Personally, the music was the aspect that appealed most to me. The soundtrack perfectly suited the gameplay, hi-octane, fun, pop-punk tracks that have left me humming long after the end of the Testfire. If the rest of the soundtrack matches up to this little teaser, consider me sold (and please release it Nintendo).

Otherwise, the Testfire just further convinced me on Splatoon as a purchase, as well as completely selling me on the online matches (which I must admit I was skeptical of at first). The weapon sets were balanced and the turf wars were incredibly fun, if wholly more stressful than I am used to from a game. Also, what we know about the single-player mode also pleases me to no end (character customisation!!). Needless to say that I am very excited about the full game on Friday now. I’ll see you all online!


However, I would like to pass over to Conor, with a much more in-depth set of thoughts:

I was able to play in the final session of the Splatoon Testfire Demo, and was immediately engrossed in the fast-paced action that was offered by Turf War Mode. Each match randomly selected between two maps. As far as I understand this will be how the online map-rotation system will work, with two new maps offered every four hours. The two stages were Walleye Warehouse – a close-quarters stage packed with shoot-outs as opponents commonly converge in the centre – and Saltspray Rig – an ocean-based rig with long pathways and several open spaces.

Turf War is an intense game mode, and seems to be one of the least objective-focussed modes that the game is going to offer; there isn’t a specific area that needs to be covered in paint like Splat Zones, and there isn’t a tower that needs advancing towards like Tower Control. Players need to focus on splatting all floors while also taking out opponents in their way. A battle can turn on its head at the drop of a splat with good (or bad) co-ordination and teamwork. It would seem like a voice-chat feature may make this easier, but all I can imagine is four strangers frantically talking over each other as they try to update their team on the situation.


The controls feel fairly solid, with both the right control stick and the GamePad’s motion control being used for aiming. Using both these methods to aim felt surprisingly accurate, and I never had much trouble aiming my splats where I needed to. Splatoon is one of the few Wii U games I’ve experienced that makes prominent use of the GamePad too. The GamePad screen shows a map of the stage, the ink that’s covering it, and other team members. Players can view the map – if they dare to look away from the on-screen action for a brief moment – to see which spots on the map are in need of some inking. Touching a teammate on the GamePad will launch the player to that teammate. This is at its most helpful when the player respawns as it is a quick way of getting straight back into the action. It becomes more difficult to use during the middle of a match, as you have to turn your focus away from the TV screen to set it up.

Four loadouts were offered in the demo, each with different sub weapons and special weapons. The Splattershot and Splattershot Jr were fairly similar rapid-fire weapons with balanced attributes. The Splattershot Jr doesn’t quite have the range of its bigger counterpart, but the loadout came with a handy special weapon; the bubble shield renders the user invulnerable to harm for a short time along with any teammate within range of it. Knowing when to use your special weapon was a key factor in surviving splats and potentially winning the game. Some special weapons like the aforementioned bubble shield will be required to avoid getting splatted, while other specials can deliver huge damage in a certain area.


The Splat Roller was the easiest to use when it comes to covering the ground in your team colour, and it can be tough to deal with. While there were some initial cries of the Splat Roller being overpowered, it has a short range and could be dealt with as long as the opponent doesn’t get too close. The Splat Charger – playing the role of long-range sniper-style weapon – was the most underwhelming. The charge-up time meant that less shots were fired, and that the ground was being covered less efficiently. Hopefully, some of the other Charger weapons in the game will be of more use.

Having online Testfire sessions was a wonderful idea from Nintendo, presumably in order to test the online capabilities as well as offer some gameplay to fans. The servers held up very well and I don’t recall ever experiencing lag. Considering my internet connection isn’t top-end, that’s made me very optimistic for this game’s release this week.


What did you think of the Testfire? Will you be getting Splatoon on Friday? Let us know in the comments!

One Response to “NS Review: Splatoon Global Testfire”
  1. Jeremy says:

    I didn’t have a chance to try the testfires and I was trying my best to avoid all the hype, but the positive early reviews have convinced me to order a copy. It looks like a fun and unique spin on the arena shooter and I hope my PC fps experience will help me in the early days of the game. If not it’s off to eBay but I expect this will be a keeper! Sadly I can’t make the next streetpass Brighton meet but I’ll get some practice before the next one.


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