Is Splatoon 2's single-player off the hook? Check out our early impressions.
Splatoon’s multiplayer was the primary focus of its fantastic 2015 debut, but the downplayed single-player mode nestled in the Wii U game turned out to be really strong, complete with neat twists on the squid and ink concept as well as memorable and awesome bosses. After checking out the first handful of levels in Splatoon 2, the single-player appears to be just as novel and fun with a few updates to vary the experience.
The structure is almost identical, though this time you’re now working with Marie as your guide, following story breadcrumbs that seem to hint at Callie possibly teaming up with the Octarians or something equally absurd and ridiculous. Like in the original, you have several worlds (by the look of the menu, five) that are represented by playground-like maps where you have to uncover each mission through exploring the small space. More secrets are nestled throughout these overworlds, as you can seek out other unlockables and play around with shooting balloons that spin-off into light challenges.
The missions themselves are in the same vein as the first game, as you race around areas that resemble Super Mario Galaxy levels while seeking out the electric Zapfish at the end of the level. The biggest change is that the previously Amiibo-gated content is now baked into the main game. Starting in the second world, you can start to use more than just the basic weapon in missions. Some levels become dramatically more challenging with a different weapon, while others become a little easier.
The alternate weapons are also nice segues into new mechanics. The debut Splat Dualies level shows off the Inkrails where your squid hero grinds around on rails, jumping between them and firing off ink like a madman. The Charger level shows off grapple points that are easiest to reach with the long-distance weapon (and have to be reached by a well-timed bomb with other weapons). Once you come across a weapon for the first time, you can go back into any other level and replay it with that weapon. Some of the stages change slightly to accommodate each weapon, as for example, some walls could be nigh impossible to scale with the Roller.
The first two bosses recall the delightful insanity and creativity of past fights. The first one is a giant oven that shoots out loaves of bread that you have to deftly scale to reach the tentacle at the top. Marie seems to delight in laying down filthy bread puns during the course of the battle. The second boss is the Octo Samurai who wields a deadly Roller. The latter boss is a little more complex as you have to ink the baddie enough to stun him, which is no easy feat given the breadth of attack patterns he has.
So far so good with the Splatoon 2 single-player mode. The early goings give off the feeling of a refined iteration of the first adventure, and as someone who dug it the first go-round, I’m having a blast with the second romp.