Make no mistake, Nintendo is hell-bent on winning you back with a boombox held over its head playing a song that croons, “I’ll give you what you want. I’ll give you all the games you need.” It’s an overplayed move, but you’re a sucker for a grand gesture. Our staff was swept off our feet when Pyre flared its fantasy sports feathers. Similarly, we were seduced when the Game Grumps released Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Simulator. Yet we’re giving the game of the month to Bachelor #3: Nintendo’s Splatoon 2.
Splatoon 2 is the sequel to 2015’s hit shooter on the Wii U. This version improves on the original in practically every way and adds plenty of new features like a horde mode and voice chat. To our delight, Splatoon 2 even found a way to retain the user-generated billboards and graffiti that made its predecessor a viral sensation. With regular online community events that ask players to choose a team based on a personal preference (ketchup or mayo) and a host of cute characters, Splatoon 2 has dominated many conversations in public gaming forums since its release.
That’s not all. The Splatoon series not only made shooters accessible for all ages and skill levels, but also for new geographical markets. Splatoon was one of the first, if not only, shooters to become popular in Japan. Now that Splatoon 2 is portable, Japanese subways are filled with locals challenging each other to Turf Wars. It’s a sociocultural phenomenon that could spur new development trends.
Additionally, Splatoon 2 is the proving grounds for Nintendo’s unorthodox answer to voice chat and online matchmaking. The Nintendo Switch Online mobile app launched day-in-date with the game’s release. The ink-based shooter is the first game available for this online service, allowing players to create private matches with their buddies and download exclusive in-game gear. Everybody using the app has become a beta-tester for when the service becomes paid next year. What Nintendo gleans from this will impact the future of its upcoming online platform.
Splatoon 2 looks, sounds, and plays amazingly well. As far as sequels go, it delivers on all fronts. However, it’s true innovation is how it effortlessly builds online communities that thrive in and out of the game. It also wins points for being the guinea squid for Nintendo’s confounding online service. For making Inkoplis great again and taking one for the team, Splatoon 2 earns our Game of the Month. Don’t stop singing those sweet, sweet songs to us, Nintendo.