Video Game: Splatoon

Ink-oming!

"Go ahead... Make a MESS!"

Splatoon is an upcoming Third-Person Shooter, created by Nintendo for their Wii U system. Revealed at E3 2014, the game features the Inklings, a race of shapeshifting squid-kids/people who fight with all sorts of ink weaponry, which allows them to paint entire areas of their color that they can use to swim around the map faster as a squid.

The original demo and trailer shows two teams, consisting of the "Good Guys" and the "Bad Guys", that fight for control over maps, accomplished by spraying colored ink across the map, with the team with the most area of the map controlled winning.

Later on, a single player campaign was confirmed, called "Hero Mode". In Hero Mode, the Inklings must fight against the Octarian Army Corps, an army of octopi who invade from Beneath the Earth. There is also a two-player local multiplayer mode, with one player watching the gamepad while the second uses a television screen; the objective is to pop as many balloons as possible (and prevent your opponent from doing the same) before time runs out.

The official website can be found here. Also featured is an official Tumblr called the "Squid Research Lab", which reveals information in a similar vein as the "Pic of the Day" done for Super Smash Bros. 3DS/Wii U. The game is also compatible with Splatoon amiibo; they can be used to unlock additional challenges in the single-player mode, and defeating them rewards the player with additional clothing accessories.

See the announcement trailer here, and the Hero Mode trailer here.

Splatoon provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: One of the single-player enemies is a bomb that homes in on the player and explodes into enemy paint.
  • Alien Hair: Most of the characters are Apparently Human Merfolk that retain their beastly bits as hair resembling the fish they take after.
    • When the Inklings switch from squid to humanoid form, they retain part of their squid forms as their "hair". This is even more noticeable and alien with the Octolings, who have a mass of tentacles for hair styled in a bouffant.
    • Annie, the shy anemone girl who runs the headgear shop, has a big anemone afro with Moe the clownfish inhabiting it.
    • Spyke is sea urchin street urchin whose hair is a mass of spikes with only a sliver of his face showing through.
  • April Fools' Day: The official Tumblr claimed that Splatoon was actually going to be a hot new snack. The slogan? "Now you can have your squid and eat it too unless you're a squid then just eat a freakin' quesadilla!"
  • Animal Jingoism: There's a fervent animosity between the squid-based Inklings and the octopus-like Octarians.
  • Art Attacker: Turf War matches are won by the side who sprays their ink on the most surface areas.
  • Badass Adorable: The Inklings are colorful squid who shape-shift into young humanoid children, some of whom are girls with tentacle pigtails.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The Octolings' outfit in humanoid form shows quite a bit of navel.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The protagonists of the story mode are the adorable Inklings, and the villains are the Gonkish Octarians.
  • BFG: The Blaster stands out among the shooter-type weapons. It's on the big side, and it fires explosive ink rounds akin to a grenade launcher.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: While Octarians look no different from each other normally, only females display the ability to take humanoid forms. The Inklings are an aversion, with both genders having two forms that don't look too different from each other.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Well, kinda. The Inklings seem to be made of ink, so the game is either very bloody, or not at all. One of the ink colors is scarlet, which kinda blurs the line between playing this trope straight and averting it.
  • Brand X: The basic Splattershot weapon is clearly based on the original Super Soaker by NERF Brand, complete with a slightly rearranged color scheme.
  • Brown Note: The Killer Wail speacial weapon is a huge speaker that creates a massive soundwave that splatters any enemy Inkling in front of it. It doesn't paint territory on its own though.
  • Buffy Speak: The Squid Research Lab, for all of their interest in 100% methodical and serious research of technicolor squids, is a victim of unscientific speaking. For instance, "These suckers use one tentacle to work their little steering joystick thingy".
  • Button Mashing: Twintacle Octotroopers use their second tentacle to mash on their ink-shooting button, making them a bigger threat.
  • Catholic Schoolgirls Rule: The costume unlockable with the Inkling girl amiibo is a school uniform. Its female variation comes complete with a color-matching skirt, making it one of the few outfits with major gender differences.
  • Character Customization: The Inklings are highly customizable, from their gender and skin and eye color to their offensive and cosmetic equipment. Furthermore, each piece of cosmetic equipment comes with a fixed associated perk that affects gameplay, and up to three other ones chosen at random after being unlocked.
  • Character Level: Multiplayer features a leveling system that increases by area painted during a match. Higher levels make the store clerks more willing to part with more exclusive equipment, and at level 10 the player can access Ranked Battles.
  • Charge Attack: Charge-type weapons work like sniper rifles, and cover a long area in front of the player which increases the longer the attack is charged.
  • Close Range Combatant: You play as this if you equip a Roller weapon. Its purpose is to roll over and instantly splatter other Inklings, but the only ranged attack it has is very slow and fairly short-ranged, too.
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • Each team of Inklings can has different colors. Both team's colors are chosen randomly, but have significant Color Contrast to help the gameplay.
    • The Octarians primarily use purple as their color.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: The game was born and revealed as a 4 vs 4 multiplayer shooter.
  • Con Lang: The written language of the Inklings and Octarians is composed of a bunch of weird symbols. Now what language they're supposed to represent or be based on, if any, is another matter.
  • Covered in Gunge: The whole point of the game is to cover everything in ink, both scenery and enemies.
  • Crosshair Aware: A spinning crosshair of sorts marks the area where an Ink Strike is gonna fall. For the sake of your well being, we recomend distance.
  • Cute Little Fangs: A variation of the trope. Inklings have the little fangs where the canines would be like most versions of the trope, but they also have a fang on the front bottom tooth made to look like the beak of a squid.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Averted. The spawn point provides a shield, preventing spawn-camping. Adding to that, players can automatically jump to any other active teammate via Super Jump, denying the chance to try to catch players in a chokepoint outside the shield.
  • Death from Above: The Ink Strike special weapon. You select a target area from the map using the Wii U Gamepad, and it fires a rocket high into the air. When it comes back down in the targeted area, a gigantic tornado of ink swallows the area, splattering any enemy trapped in it. The Octocopter enemy in Hero Mode attacks by using this very attack.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
  • Domino Mask: The Inklings have black outlines around their eyes, giving them the appearance of wearing masks.
  • Downloadable Content: Every few weeks, new content for the game is released via free updates. This includes multiplayer stages, weapons, gear, and even Battle Modes.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Single Player campaign takes place in large underground domes made by the Octarians to simulate the surface world.
  • Elemental Baggage: Inklings carry a finite amount of ink that they can replenish in squid form by swimming in it. This essentially means they have an infinite supply as long as they have some ink to hide in, which could be provided by the limited amount they carry.
  • Elite Mook: The Twintacle Octotroopers, Octarian Corps enemies that have two tentacles instead of one, are much stronger than their one-tentacled counterparts. Why is that? For one, they can use their free tentacle to Button Mash their fire button.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: When an Inkling is "splattered" by the other team, they explode into opposing-colored ink and their clothes are left behind. They spawn with a fresh set back at the starting point.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods:
    • The Inklings, squids that can change into kids.
    • The Octarians are shown as a more disturbing version, most of them taking the form of single tentacles with eyes, mouth and legs.
  • Evil Counterpart Race: The antagonistic Octarians are to octopus like the Inklings are to squids. This is most exemplified with the Octolings, who are the Octarian version of the Inklings. Only female, they are capable to hide on their ink and take humanoid form.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Ink guns, ink bazookas, ink grenades, oversized paint rollers... you might see a pattern here.
  • Field Power Effect: Ink in general has effects on the players when they stand on it: Ink of the same color allows Inklings to quickly swim in it as squids, and doing so quickly refills their ink supply. Enemy ink, on the other hand, slows Inklings to a crawl, while also leaving them damaged for easy splattering.
  • Fish People: Most of the NPCs, like the jellyfish folk and Crusty Sean the shrimp. The rest are Apparently Human Merfolk; with Judd being the only non-fish character in the game.
  • Friendly Fireproof: An unusually Justified example. The ink you fire is the same ink that your teammates' bodies are made of and that they can merge completely into in their squid form, so it makes sense that only opposing ink could harm them.
  • Funny Foreigner: Several jellyfish appear around the city, but most can't speak the Inkling language. Jelonzo has learned the language, but butchers it in a hilarious way.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There are multiple times where ink is used as a stand-in for blood. Notable examples being the inklings exploding into splatters of opposing ink when "Splatted," as well as Octarian bosses gushing out fountains of ink when their tentacles are destroyed.
  • Girlish Pigtails: The female Inklings have their tentacles take this form in their human forms.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: When an inkling gets splattered, their squid-form "ghost" floats upward, presumably to respawn. Defeated Octolings also leave them, octopus-shaped of course.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Hilariously, Inklings can be equipped with goggles on their foreheads. Not really gonna do much up there, even though extreme paintball would be one of the times where goggles would be most useful.
  • Graffiti Town: The setting of many arenas is industrial with some other urban elements, while nontheless still being colorful even before the Inklings wreak havoc all over.
  • Grenade Spam: Some special weapons grant unlimited ammounts of sub weapons like ink grenades and ink bombs for a limited time. As the game puts it: "Bombs away!"
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The Inkling Boy amiibo unlocks challenges involving the melee-style Roller weapon, while the Inkling Girl unlocks challenges with the sniper-like Charger weapon. Averted with the actual gameplay, though, where an Inkling's gender has no effect on what weapons it can use... or anything else.
  • Hartman Hips:
    • The female Inklings and Octarians have proportionately wide hips. Their idle animations place some emphasis on this.
    • Callie and Marie take it further, looking significantly older than the playable Inklings.
  • Hub Level: Inkopolis, a city filled with Inklings.
  • Idol Singer: Callie and Marie, The Squid Sisters. They're popular with the young Inklings, and are also the announcers of the Splatfest events.
  • Improbable Weapon User: One of the main types of weapons featured is melee weapons... in the forms of oversized paintbrushes and paint rollers that can squish opponents flat.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Turning into a Kraken is one Limit Break ability, you make your own ink to swim in and can splatter opponents.
  • Laser Sight: A charger's line of fire is marked with a laser as it's being charged. You don't want to be on the wrong end of those.
  • Layered Metropolis: The surface world is a bustling metropolis dominated by Inklings, while Octo Valley is comparatively distopian, with the Octarians having giant monitors simulating the sky, and using electric catfish as a power source.
  • Lighter and Softer: To the usual shooter affair. The game has a very colorful art style, with guns that fire ink instead of real weaponry.
  • Limit Break: There is a meter in the top-right corner of the screen that, when filled completely, gives a super weapon. These can be stuff like a bazooka that fires twisters of ink, a bubble shield, and the Ink Strike.
  • Long-Range Fighter: You can play as this if you're using a Charger weapon. The long charging time prevents you from going up close, but its range makes up for that.
  • Mana Meter: The Inkling's ink supply, which is expended when firing main and sub weapons and recharges while in squid mode.
  • Mega Twintails: As the female Inklings' Girlish Pigtails are really their tentacles, they are quite big.
  • Metamorphosis: As shown in this image, Inklings start their life as baby squids, and slowly become more humanoid as they age. Once they hit 14, they take their familiar almost human-looking form, and gain full control of their Voluntary Shapeshifting abilities.
  • Mini-Game: 4 8-bit minigames are available when waiting for a match to start; one's available from the start, the other 3 require completing all of the challenges given out by a certain amiibo to unlock.
    • Squid Jump: Jump between platforms, escaping the rising tide of enemy ink.
    • Squidball: Play softball, with a Zapfish as the ball, and try to hit all of the jellyfish.
    • Squid Racer: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
    • Squid Beatz: Looks to be a Rhythm Game.
  • Mirror Boss: Octolings serve as this in Hero Mode, using the same spray and hide tactics the Inklings can use.
  • Modesty Shorts: Inklings always keep the same shorts on regardless of outfit, making them work like this for outfits with skirts like the female school uniform.
  • Morphic Resonance: The Inklings retain their eyes and their tentacle/hair is the same color as in their squid form. Furthermore, the 10 limbs real squids have are still represented in their humanoid form: 2 legs, 2 arms, 2 hair tentacles, and the remaining 4 in the back of their head.
  • Mr. Exposition: An elderly Inkling named Cap'n Cuttlefish serves as this in Hero Mode.
  • Nice Hat:
    • A wide variety of fashionable headgear is available for the Inklings: Headbands, knit hats, baseball caps, gas masks; you name it.
    • Both of the Squid Sisters. Callie wears something that looks like a piece of pink sushi in her head, and Marie what appears to be a green bowl.
    • Sheldon has a helmet shaped like a horseshoe crab. Granted, since he is a horseshoe crab, it's hard to say if that's actually a part of his body or not.
  • Nonindicative Name: The teams only have four inklings. They're really more of a splire team.
  • One-Man Army: A single Inkling armed only with a "hero suit" takes on the whole Octarian army.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • A fully charged and direct blast with most chargers will splatter players immediately. In a similar fashion, explosive shooters like the Blaster will finish off opponents if they're hit directly by the round.
    • Roller-type weapons will make short work of any Inkling ran over with them. Of course, this is only at melee range.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: And pink/teal. And green/purple. And yellow/purple. Given that covering territory is the name of the game, you really want the team colors to pop.
  • Pointy Ears: Humanoid Inklings feature them, not only making them look more alien, but also giving another level of Morphic Resonance by looking like the fins real squids have in their heads.
  • Power Glows: Inklings' "hair" glows with their own color when they can use their special weapon.
  • Pre-Order Bonus:
    • In North America, Gamestop purchases include Inkling-themed Mii Fighter costumes for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Target preorders come with a toy water gun based on the Splattershot. Preorders at EB Games in Canada include a special double-sided poster.
    • Europeans who preorder from GAME get a beanie resembling a orange female Inkling's hair, and preorders at Gamestop grant a T-shirt.
    • Preordering from Amazon Japan nets you a sticker sheet.
    • Preordering on the Nintendo eShop provides an extra costume for use in the prerelease "Testfire".
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Played for Laughs. In multiplayer, the "good guys" are always whichever team the player is on, and the "bad guys" are always the other team.
  • Pun-Based Title: A play on the terms "splat" and "platoon", as well as the cartoony nature of the game.
  • Punny Name:
    • The shrimp shoe store clerk is called Crusty Sean; say it fast and you get "crustacean". There are also minor puns with people like the jellyfish Jelonzo and the sea anemone Annie. Callie and Marie, the Squid Sisters, also count as punny Theme Naming.
    • Booyah Base is two puns in one, being a play on bouillabaisse, a type of fish stew, and also referencing Shibuya, the main inspiration for Inkopolis.
    • The Ammo Knights store is named after an extinct marine cephalopod species.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Male and female Inklings play exactly alike, making the choice up to personal preference.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Clothing and gameplay-affecting perks are linked togheter, which can lead to players using more bizarre combinations of clothing to suit their needs. However, this is mitigated by only one perk being fixed to each item of clothing, and extra ones being chosen at random, making it so there's not a potential "most powerful" (and silly looking) combination set in stone.
  • Regenerating Health: Staying a couple of seconds away from fire will "clean-up" the player and regenerate their health.
  • Right Out of My Clothes: Hitting opponents with weapons will make them disappear while leaving their various accessories like headphones behind.
  • Rocket Tag Gameplay: Because of the high weapon damage, it only takes a few hits to splatter the opposing team members. In fact, because ink does not hit immediately unlike standard shooter-game bullets, it's actually possible to invoke Taking You with Me in regular firefights with relative ease.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Annie stands out as not only a not-often-seen sea anemone, but as a humanoid one as well, complete with an also uncommonly seen clownfish living in her afro. Sheldon does as well, being horseshoe crab.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: While the normal Octarian troopers are Gonkish tentacles, the Octolings, the Inkling's Evil Counterpart Race, mirror the female Inklings while also wearing custom armor that's more revealing than anything the Inklings can use. In fact, even the unlockable replica of the Octoling armor barely shows any skin when worn by a female Inkling.
  • Series Mascot: The orange female Inkling takes front and center in most artwork and several trailers, with her squid form acting as the game's symbol, and is often accompanied by a blue male Inkling as her rival.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Inklings look vaguely like Bloopers, especially with the dark marks around their eyes. Several elements in both in-game and in promotional materials feature them. When the single player campaign with the Octarians was revealed, the trailer made similar comparisons between them and The Legend of Zelda's Octoroks.
    • Some of the posts in the game's official Tumblr make direct references to other games, such as the skate-park area reveal to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and the first teaser of the mysterious Octarian girl to Octodad. These make for rare instances of Nintendo shouting out games not published by them.
    • The post on Octosnipers makes two in a single post: One to the famous intro of Bad Dudes, which segues to Michael Jackson's Bad.
    • The Splatoon Direct features several shout-outs, such as the narrator mimicking Salvatore's infamous "splooooosh" while describing the Roller weapons.
    • Jelonzo speaks with the same mangled grammar as Fawful.
    • Callie and Marie, the Inkling pop stars, bear more than a passing resemblance to Bayonetta and Jeanne.
  • Shows Damage: Damaged Inklings will be covered in enemy ink until they are splattered or Regenerating Health kicks in.
  • Speaking Simlish: The "squid language" is a bunch of gibberish, though characters sometimes speak what sounds like garbled English. When an Inkling deploys a special weapon, for example, they shout what sounds like a distorted "Ready!"
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Super Mario Sunshine. Splatoon is a multiplayer-focused shooter set in an urban environment that's based around spreading as much ink as possible. Super Mario Sunshine is a singleplayer platformer on an island based around cleaning up as much paint as possible.
  • Sprint Shoes: Inklings can quickly swim along ink of their color and resurface elsewhere. Particularly convenient for bypassing fences or sneaking up on nearby enemies.
  • Standard FPS Guns: The weapons use recognizable tropes, but with a focus on paint-theming.
    • Shooter-type paint weapons are variations on automatic weapons, and can vary from automatic pistol-types, to rapid-grenade launchers, to assault-rifle types.
    • Charger-type paint weapons are sniper rifles capable of painting long straight lines with on shot.
    • Roller-type paint weapons are basically this game's equivalent to shotguns or flamethrowers: Powerful, but with very limited range. A few, like the paintbrush, operate more like swords or other melee weapons.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Swimming on their own ink makes the Inklings nearly invisible to enemies, making stalking and hiding in the ink before striking a valid strategy for both single and multiplayer.
  • Stealth Pun: Spyke is literally a Street Urchin.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: In Hero Mode, there are hidden scrolls in each stage. The scrolls provide background information on the story and world of the game.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Jelonzo, who runs the clothing shop, speaks in Engrish. This is because jellyfish have their own native language, and Jelonzo is not a native Inkling speaker.
    "You! You are not the cool! You are needing more cool for wearing of my clothes!"
  • Super Drowning Skills: Inklings die the second they touch water. While it may not look like it makes much sense since they're squids, they're also made of ink, and ink dissociates in water.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Inkopolis, the setting of the game, is based on Tokyo, with the Hub Level based on the Shibuya district.
  • Twinkle in the Eye: Appears when inkling's special weapon gauge fills up. Charge weapons also have their own small twinkle at the end of a barrel when their charge is full.
  • Variable Mix:
    • During gameplay, the background music gets muffled while the player is hiding in ink, going back to normal once they jump back out.
    • Besides the previous effect, instruments are added and taken away from the background music during the single player campaign depending on how far on the stage the player is, and whatever or not they are engaging in combat.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The Inklings have a large variety of clothes, shoes and hats they can be equipped with. Each of them also come with perks that improve different abilities.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Inklings are capable of changing between squid and humanoid form at will. They gain full control of this ability when their Metamorphosis ends once they hit their teenage years. On the villains side, Octolings are also capable of changing between octopus and humanoid forms.
  • Wall Crawl: Spreading ink up along a wall allows the Inklings to swim up it to cover more ground more quickly.
  • Warp Whistle: Of a sort; turning into a squid allows the player to super jump to one of their teammates. This can mean warping to the back of the enemy's base for easy inking... or jumping into the wrong end of a firefight.
  • Widget Series: Anthropomorphic squids turn into kids with paintguns to shoot paint for the squids to swim through while battling an army of sentient octopus tentacles.
  • Wiki Vandal: Parodied. The Splatoon Tumblr page has a Suspiciously Specific Denial about Cap'n Cuttlefish writing his own entry.
  • World Building: The Inkling and Octarian society is very complex, with many details fleshed out in supplementary materials, trailers, and the game itself.
  • World of Funny Animals: The cast is made up of a variety of aquatic animals such as jellyfish, anemones, cephalopods, etc.. Although the most prominent characters are the Inklings who shift between squid and humanoid.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: OK, so maybe it's not "hair", strictly speaking, but the Inklings' heads are the same bright colors as the ink they're spraying.
  • Youkai: Huge statues of a Kitsune and a Tanuki sit atop two buildings opposite each other in Inkopolis Plaza.