Games

10 Splatoon 2 tips to help you splat 'em all

© Nintendo
By Damien McFerran
Want to be the sharpest shooting inkling on Switch? Check these essential tips and techniques before you get started.
Splatoon 2 has to rank as one of 2017's most highly-anticipated sequels, but there's a good chance that many Nintendo Switch owners who're contemplating a purchase haven't played the original on the Wii U, one of Nintendo's most commercially disastrous consoles. Don't be afraid if you're hitting the game cold though, we've compiled some handy tips that cover the basics and will get you up to speed in no time at all.

Ink smartly

It might sound obvious, but use your ink wisely. The aim of the game in Splatoon 2's online Turf War mode is to cover as much ground as possible with your own ink, not to rack up kills. Hitting the walls doesn't count so don't bother, unless you're creating a route to swim up in squid form. When inking, remember that covering the enemy ink with your own is always preferable to covering bare, unclaimed ground – that's because every inch of enemy turf you claim adds to your team score and takes away from that of your rivals.

Master the Splat Dualies’ dodge move

Splatoon 2 has plenty of weapons to choose from but it's the Splat Dualies – new for this sequel – that make the most impact. These dual-wielded pistols fire a rapid stream of ink, which allows you to overwhelm opponents at close range. However, it's the dash ability that really makes them stand apart; when firing, pressing 'B' and a direction will trigger a dash, followed by a brief stream of even faster fire.

Use your special abilities wisely

After inking a certain amount of turf, you'll trigger your special ability, which is different depending on which weapon you've selected. Some of these are defensive – such as the Ink Armour – while others are devastatingly powerful offensive weapons, like the Tentamissiles, which allow you to lock onto multiple targets at a distance and unleash a barrage of rockets. It's tempting to use your special ability as soon as it's charged. After all, you usually only get a couple of chances per match. But don't be too over-enthusiastic. Defensive abilities are best used when you're about to enter a firefight with the enemy, while ranged weapons – like Tentamissiles – work most effectively when you have some space between you and the bulk of the rival team.

Pick your perfect control method

On Wii U, Splatoon boasted a unique control system, where the GamePad's motion controls were used to control aiming on-screen. This system has been retained in the Switch sequel, with some slight differences.
When playing in docked mode the Joy-Con / Grip combo (or the the Pro Controller), replace the GamePad but retain the motion control. When playing in portable mode, the motion controls are present, but your attention is naturally fixed to the screen, which makes it feel a little different to the Wii U original. You can switch off motion controls and rely entirely on the twin-stick set up, and while many top-tier players swear by motion controls, it's worth experimenting with both configurations to find the one which suits you best. You can also tinker with the sensitivity of the controls if you're finding them to be too twitchy, or not responsive enough.
A word of warning, though. You can only change the controls from the main plaza screen. When you're in an online battle or waiting in the lobby, you'll have to drop back to the plaza to make any alterations.

Back up your allies

When you're moving through your own ink things are hunky-dory in Splatoon 2, but as soon as you set foot inside enemy territory things get a little bit sticky, to say the least. Dipping a toe into enemy ink not only resets your healing timer, which means you're at risk of getting splatted, it also slows down your movement dramatically, and negates your ability to transform into a squid and escape at speed. If you see a team-mate in this situation, aim at their feet and fire as much ink as possible. Not only will this bag more territory for your team, it will release your beleaguered ally and get them back in the game.

Don’t rage quit

When you're on the losing end of a battle it might seem tempting to simply place your Switch in sleep mode and exit the match, but we'd advise against such mean-spirited behaviour. For starters, losing still earns you experience points so failure isn't all bad, and secondly, the game logs when you put your systems into sleep mode, even going as far as to flash up a warning message when you next boot up the game, pointing out that your last session ended 'suspiciously', and that you may even be temporarily suspended if you continue to rage quit. Gulp!

Choose when to jump

Getting splatted and being sent back to your team's spawn point is mildly annoying when you're in the middle of a tough contest, but don't worry – you can use your super jump to instantly leap to another team-mate at any time, which allows you to get back into the thick of things faster. However, there are some caveats to this; the process of jumping takes a few seconds, and by the time you land your ally could well be toast, placing you right in the middle of the firing line. Before committing to a leap, check the map to see which ally makes the best jump point and don't rush, because saving those few seconds doesn't mean anything if you get splatted the moment you touch down.

Exploit shortcuts

Each map is roughly divided into three sections: your side, the enemy's side and the middle ground, which is where you'll spend most of the match contesting. The maps are designed with choke points in mind, and controlling these is vital to victory. However, some maps also have short-cuts and concealed routes, which allow you to get over to your opponent's side of the map without taking the most obvious path. Find these and exploit them wherever possible.

Rotate your gear

Once you attain rank 4 via victories in online battles, you're considered 'fresh' enough to visit the many outfitters that populate the game. Some of these sell you new weapons, while others are more concerned with clothing. Not only does this gear make you look cooler, it bestows special buffs that can really make the difference in battle. As you play online, your gear earns experience too, unlocking new abilities. Make sure you rotate your gear to ensure you max out all items and don't waste any of those precious experience points.

Make sweet music

This isn't a tip as such, but when you're sitting in the lobby waiting for a match to start, you can use the face buttons to trigger the vocal parts of the music and the analogue sticks adjust their speed. You can make some pretty far-out tunes using this method.
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