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Splatoon 2: First impressions of Nintendo's latest must-have title

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Nintendo

Splatoon 2 is out now on Switch, and we’ve been playing Nintendo’s hyper-colorful competitive multiplayer shooter for over a week. While we’re withholding a final review until we can fully test the game’s matchmaking servers and the Nintendo Switch Online app, it’s safe to say that fans of the first game will be pleased with this sequel. And for those who never played the 2015 original on Wii U, Splatoon 2 is a must-have title for Nintendo’s new console-portable hybrid. Here are the first impressions — and some suggestions — we have after playing the game.

Start with the single-player campaign

Although it’s primarily a multiplayer game, much like the original, Splatoon 2 features a fantastic single-player adventure. Throughout the campaign’s approximately 30 levels, you’ll get to know all of the weapons, including the new rapid-fire Splat Dualies and more defensive Splat Brella, as you traverse the wonderfully weird worlds. It plays like a spiritual successor to Super Mario Sunshine and is constantly introducing new platforming mechanics (there’s even some Sonic Adventure-style rail grinding). And the boss battles, where you fight a possessed oven and an octopus on a unicycle, to name a few, are delightfully demented.

Download the Nintendo Switch Online app to chat while you splat

You can jump into Turf War, Splatoon’s main multiplayer mode, without the app, but you’ll need it for voice chat in the game’s other modes (and it’s really helpful for strategizing with your teammates). Yes, it’s very weird that a video game console in 2017 requires a separate app to use voice chat (which we’ll evaluate further in the review), but at least the app has some useful features: You can check out your stats, order special gear in the shop, and find out which online multiplayer maps will be in rotation for the coming day.

There’s a horde mode, but it’s only playable online at certain times

Nintendo’s take on horde mode is called Salmon Run, where four players team up to face waves of increasingly difficult enemies and squishy bosses while trying to collecting Power Eggs. Although you can fire up a local game at any time, the mode is only available to play online at certain times set by Nintendo, which is unfortunate because it’s an absolute blast. You can check the Switch app to see when it’s available.

Check back soon for our final review of Splatoon 2.