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Pro Tips for Playing Splatoon

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We’ve all had a couple months to get used to the controls of Nintendo’s newest video game, Splatoon. While the ink-filled madness has been capturing many a Wii U fanboy, maybe you’ve found yourself at the wrong end of the Splat Roller more than once. We’ve been tackling the game’s many levels, modes, guns, and more and have come up with a few tips that you can use to boost your skills, increase your rank, and generally not stink at Splatoon! Here are some pro tips to make you the Splat King!

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Try out every weapon and pick two that work for your playstyle

There are dozens of weapons in the game, and more seem to be added every couple weeks. Every weapon in the game falls into a category or weapon type: Shooters, Chargers, Rollers, and the still to be released Slosher and Splatling. Here’s a general breakdown of each type: Shooters are typical guns that have average stats all around; Chargers shoot further but take longer to fire and have moderate to high damage; Rollers can paint turf fastest out of any weapon but suffer poor attack; and Sloshers and Splatlings will fall into the mid-range moderate damage and high fire rate category respectively. Each handles differently, so head over to the Weapon Shop, try them out, and get a feel for what suits your playstyle. Alternatively, pick up a weapon and head into online mode and try them there. You’ll find your fit in no time. And, most importantly, have a backup weapon in mind just in case you’re not feeling it with your other weapon one night. Nothing spoils Splatoon faster than a session of losses.

Don’t forget to jump!

You may have run into this strategy online already. It goes something like this: jump and shoot! Taking a page from the Mega Man handbook, some excellent Splatoon players have mastered the ability to jump in the air, aim at their opponent, and fire fire fire! This strategy is two-fold: you not only shoot just a bit further since you’re in the air, but your opponent will have a heck of a time trying to splat you when you’re jumping all around! This is especially handy when taking on opponents using Shooters and Chargers, since their aim needs to be precise in order to land a hit!

Swim away when you’re hit from behind

It might seem like the best strategy when you’re being shot to shoot back, but retreating can lead to even greater rewards later. If you’re getting hit by ink and you’re not sure where it’s coming from, turn into a squid and try to swim away in your own colored ink. This way you’ll be out of reach of your opponent, have a fuller ink tank, and can perform a raging comeback they won’t be expecting. Chances are the player shooting you will likely let you get away since they will be preoccupied covering the board with ink and won’t bother chasing you down.

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Don’t forget to cover your base with ink. Seriously!

The biggest no-brainer in this article is the one that I see people forget to do all the time. Cover your base! Not only does this give you some immediate points and special gauge at the start of the match, it’s also the easiest point for you to secure percentage of map covered during Turf War! Some stages, like Urchin Underpass and Kelp Dome, have rather large starting zones to get covered, and I’ve been in numerous matches where we’ve defeated the other team simply because we covered our base and they didn’t. On the other side of this, don’t worry so much about covering your opponents starting zone. Sure, if you’re over there you might as well, but they are extremely likely to just cover it all again once they respawn.

Play through the single player game to get the best weapons

Splatoon is definitely a multiplayer game. It shines when you’re playing online in 4v4 battles, covering a stage in glorious ink and defeating opponents in the best of fashion. But don’t neglect that single player campaign! Not only does it introduce you to a lot of techniques that easily carry over into the multiplayer game, it lets you unlock brand new weapons you can bring to the online battlefield too! The Aerospray RG for example is earned only by playing through some stages in the single player game and is arguably one of the best, most versatile weapons in the whole game! On top of all that, the single player mode is actually quite fun! There are some great bosses to challenge and a lot of fun to be had!

Know what your gear abilities are and use them appropriately

Isn’t it awesome when you buy a new piece of gear with unlockable abilities, then you finally unlock them all and have no idea what any of those symbols mean? Each piece of gear comes with one skill you know for sure, and then the rest are randomized. When checking out your gear, be sure to press X to look at what those skills actually do, and then use them to your advantage. The Stealth Jump skills lets you jump to other teammates without that pesky landing zone showing up for the enemy to kill you instantly, and the Ninja Squid ability lets you move in squid form virtually undetected. The skills you get are random, but use them to your advantage! If you can jump and enemies can’t even see you when you land, and then you instantly go into your invisible squid form you can easily get behind the enemy and cause a lot of damage! Look at what you bring to the table, and use it!

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Not all specials are created equal!

There are some special features of the special weapons you might not know! For instance, the Bubbler special will allow any teammates close to you gain the invincibility bubble as well if you activate it in their proximity. The Kraken special is fun and all to use to kill unsuspecting enemies, but it’s also great for scaling walls that aren’t even colored your color to quickly sabotage the enemy. The Echolocator also points out enemies who are sitting in squid form with the ninja ability, making them easy targets! You should get used to your special weapon as part of your loadout of gear: it’s as important to your success are your main weapon. Some special weapons are much more useful in certain stages or situations than others however. Experiment with them and see how they work. The Inkstrike is great in Ranked Battles, but isn’t as useful in Turf War for example.

Go a different route than everyone else

This tip comes in two separate forms: a useful tip for Turf War, and a cool strategy for Ranked Battles. In Turf War, your objective is to cover the most ground in your team’s colored ink, so take a route someone isn’t already taking! Divide and conquer, if you will. From there, work at flanking your enemies to take control. In Ranked Battles it can be advantageous to go around the objective than simply head straight for it guns blazing. Move around the control point or tower, snipe at enemies or flank them, and then cash in your control point! This greatly depends on your current team: sometimes they will work well with this in mind, other times they can stick together and you might want too as well, since strength in numbers is a challenge, albeit possible, route to success. If nothing else, these alternate routes boost your special meter!

You can buy gear you see on other players in the game’s lobby

See something your opponent was using (besides a weapon) that you really liked? Head into the game’s lobby (the mall area where all the other Inklings are roaming around) and find that player. When you inspect their gear you’ll have an option to order it for a fee! Don’t see the option yet? Go to the space underneath and to the right the building where Callie and Marie broadcast and you’ll meet Spyke who will let you purchase gear from others! This will cost a lot of cash, but it can be worth it: you can get the item with a great chance of it having the same stats as that other player. Spyke will also let you re-roll the abilities of a piece of gear as well if you’re not totally satisfied. This is useful because you can get the specific abilities you want right away instead of waiting to get lucky with a new item.

As more maps, more modes, and more content overall gets released for Splatoon even more strategies and tips will come up. The main thing to remember here is this: HAVE FUN! Splatoon isn’t as serious a game as, say, Call of Duty. You don’t have to worry about failing your team and having them all call you names, or how one person’s shortcomings will hinder the entire experience. While this can happen, it doesn’t come up too often, and for the most part everyone can enjoy the game at their own pace! With this tips in mind you’ll take your squid game from C- to A+ in no time!



I've been writing about video games for years and playing them even longer. You'll find me playing all types of games, old and new. Mega Man III is greater than Mega Man II.