Review: ‘Splatoon 3’ Was Worth the Hype

This wildly popular game reboot strikes a great balance between making improvements and keeping what players already loved.

Screen-grab image of the intro screen right when you launch the game.

Nigel McKinney, Contributor

Splatoon 3 is Nintendo’s latest AAA game for the Nintendo Switch.

Released on September 9th, 2022, it was highly anticipated by both fans of the series like myself, and new players. The company promoted the game heavily – even to demographics that don’t typically follow video game news.

Was it worth the hype?

I think so.  And I’m far from alone.

Like almost all of Nintendo’s big releases (and most AAA games in general) Splatoon 3 costs $60, and it can be bought physically or electronically. According to CNBC, ease of purchase, as well as wide promotion, caused Splatoon 3 to become the best-selling game in Japan. Within just a few days of its release, it had sold over 3.4 million copies.

The third game in the Splatoon series boasts many improvements over the previous two. For one thing, the multiplayer system is friendlier to players, and more refined than it was previously. 

Now, it is possible to create and join parties with ease. You don’t have to hope you’ll be able to join your friends in an empty lobby, or have to wait for your friend to finish a match before you can play with them – a vivid memory from Splatoon 2’s multiplayer version.

In this screen-grab of the game, player lockers can be seen in the lobby. (Nigel McKinney)

Joining a quick match with others is now easy, unlike the roulette of matchmaking it was before. Even after only playing for a few hours, it’s evident that this tiny fix alone makes the game much more enjoyable. 

The multiplayer system also now allows people to queue together for special and ranked game modes. This was almost impossible in previous games. It’s nice to be able to break up the relentless turf war matches with something like ranked tower control every now and then.

Another nice feature is the increased cosmetic options. These range from new hairstyles and pants types to freshly added player banners and lockers.

Opening screen to a match, showing off the player’s individual banners. (Nigel McKinney)

Banners display at the beginning of matches, and the lockers can be seen in the lobby. They are both extremely individual to each player, and can be customized in almost infinite ways. It’s cool to see how other people decorate themselves, and show off what they have. Often, seeing other people’s designs can provide inspiration for your own!

The single-player story mode has also changed quite a bit. The new plot sticks true to the Splatoon theme, and has many returning characters and mechanics. To people who’ve played the previous editions, it should feel familiar. But with brand new characters, settings, and world-building, it will be refreshing for both new and returning players.

Last but not least, I really appreciated that the game provided the option to import player data from Splatoon 2. It gave meaning to having spent a lot of time playing the previous game, and it felt good to be recognized and rewarded for it.

Screen showing the characters, emotes, and banners of each individual player on the winning team. (Nigel McKinney)

All together, Splatoon 3 is a very good addition to the series. It keeps the best elements from previous versions, but makes small improvements that add to players’ enjoyment. Everything feels much more impressive and finished. And by rebooting stuff from the old games in new and exciting ways, it keeps players like myself hungry for more without changing too much.

Overall, the game is absolutely worth the amount of suspense and anticipation that surrounded its release.