Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Splatoon

Go To

"Go ahead... Make a MESS!"

Splatoon is a Third-Person Shooter created by Nintendo for their Wii U system. Revealed at E3 2014 and released in May of 2015, 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. Upon announcement, the game was notable for being the first new major IP developed by Nintendo that wasn't oriented strictly for the casual market since Pikmin fourteen years prior.

The game's main focus, and what it was originally conceived as, is online Competitive Multiplayer. Two teams of four Inklings are put on a map and armed with various kinds of ink weaponry. Although "splatting" the enemy can help gain an advantage, doing only that will not win the game. In Regular Battles, or Turf War, the point is fighting over control of the map by spraying colored ink all over it. The team that covers the most wins. Ranked Battles, on the other hand, focus on completing more specific objectives, such as taking control of specific areas of the map by inking them, riding a tower all the way to the enemy base, or carrying a powerful weapon to the enemy base.


The single player campaign, also called "Hero Mode", is the second focus of the game. In Hero Mode, a lone Inkling guided by the old Cap'n Cuttlefish must fight against the Octarians, an army of octopi from Beneath the Earth who have stolen the Inklings' energy source and plan to invade Inkopolis.

In addition, there's also a local two-player mode, the Battle Dojo, where one player watches the Gamepad while the second uses the television screen; the objective is to pop as many balloons as possible (and prevent the other from doing the same) before time runs out. The game is also compatible with Splatoon amiibo; they can be used to unlock additional challenges in the single-player mode, and completing them rewards the player with additional clothing accessories and minigames.

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. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. See the announcement trailer here, and the Hero Mode trailer here.


A sequel, Splatoon 2, was released for the Nintendo Switch on July 21, 2017. A second sequel, Splatoon 3, was announced for the Nintendo Switch on a 2022 release window. The series also has a manga that has been running since 2015.

Compare de Blob for similar premise and concept (ink-spraying creatures spreading ink). No relation to Hwang Dong-hyuk's Squid Game.

Inklings were the first new characters to be unveiled for the fifth installment of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. franchise, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, with the game taking most of its Splatoon elements from this first installment.

Splatoon provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Headgear ability Last-Ditch Effort provides a boost to ink efficiency, ink recovery, and respawn speed in the last 30 seconds of the match. It will also activate if the opponent is close to winning in a Ranked/League mode.
  • Aborted Arc: For the Western audience, the first attempt at a Splatfest. After lots of buildup including elements gradually being added to the plaza, Nintendo decided to postpone the event to a later date in order to fix technical issues discovered during the Japanese Splatfest. There was no in-game acknowledgment of the delay, only social media posts, so in game terms all the preparation suddenly disappeared only to restart from the beginning a few weeks later.
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: At first the level cap was just 20, which can be reached in about a week of solid play. It was eventually raised to 50 a couple of months after release, though. This level becomes an Absurdly High Level Cap, as nearly everything of note is unlocked by level 20, with everything past that being a Bragging Rights Reward. Furthermore, past level 20 the way you receive points is modified, meaning it takes much longer to gain new levels.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Somehow, Agent 1 manages to make herself impossible to understand on the other end of the radio by holding hers upside down. This is represented by having her dialogue box shown upside down.
  • Acme Products:
    • Downplayed in that multiple brands appear, but hats, clothing, and shoes are all made by fictional in-universe brandsnote  that affect which sub-ability you are more likely to getnote , although not all brands have such Luck Manipulation Mechanic.
    • Also downplayed with weapons which are made by multiple fictional in-universe brands. Weapons made by a particular brand tends to follow a certain theme,note  and variants of main weapons (that have alternate sub and special weapon) tend to have their brand name on them.note 
    • SquidForce in particular, is the official sponsor for battles, as evidenced by its logo appearing on the sides of the tower in Tower Control and the button for Ranked Battles.
  • Action Bomb:
    • One of the single-player enemies is a bomb that homes in on the player and explodes into enemy paint.
    • Both single and multiplayer have the Seeker. This bomb draws a line of ink as it homes in on enemies, then explodes.
  • After the End: This rivals The Great Sea and The Land of Ooo for the title of most colorful, lighthearted post-apocalyptic world. In short, the game is set on Earth long after humanity (and most mammals in general) died off. While the game itself vaguely puts the catalyst for that mass extinction on global warming, the official art book takes it Up to Eleven by elaborating that sea levels rose to the extent they did thanks to a nuclear warhead hitting Antarctica during the fifth World War. Cue mass extinction of almost every mammal on Earth, paving the way for various sea-life to evolve and become the new dominant species on the planet.
  • 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 a sea urchin (and street urchin) whose hair is a mass of spikes with only a sliver of his face showing through.
  • Aliens Steal Cable: According to Word of God, this is how the Splatfest themes are received. Humans' arguments were transmitted into space thousands of years ago, and reflected back to earth after the sea creatures took over. This explains why the Splatfest themes can include things that wouldn't exist anymore in the setting. So, in effect it's Earth stealing cable from itself.
  • All or Nothing: Played with in Ranked Battles. Unlike Turf Wars, where each player earns points for the area they inked plus a bonus for winning, in Ranked Battles, if a team completes the objective, the battle ends in a "Knockout", and only the winning team gets points, while the losing team gets nothing. However, if neither team completes the objective by the time limit, both teams will get some points based on how close they came to winning. Rank points, however, are always gained by the winning team and lost by the losing team, no matter how the match ends. The 2.0.0 update made Ranked Battles less of an all-or-nothing proposition for those level 20 and above, however, as level-up points are calculated differently at those stages — you get a point for each minute your team survives even if you lose by knockout, so unless you end up in an utter Curb-Stomp Battle it's likely you'll at least make some progress. Indeed, losing by decision (meaning you survived five minutes) is worth as many points as winning a regular battle, though it does take longer.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: While other countries used the original Splatoon theme song in their commercials, the North American version advertised the game using completely different theme music.
  • Americasia: Modern culture in this world is largely a mix of Japanese and American elements. The urban-industrial Graffiti Town setting could pass off as both, with Japanese influences being evident in stuff like some symbolism and the traditional Japanese clothing shown by some characters, and American culture showing in stuff like the Totally Radical atmosphere influenced by late '90s Nickelodeon and the "Native American" styled Camp Triggerfish.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: One level of Hero Mode has a carnival theme to it in some areas, complete with a slow music box.
  • And Man Grew Proud: One of the first Sunken Scrolls reveals that the game takes place thousands of years after humans were driven to extinction by the rising sea level, after which marine invertebrates evolved to live on land and became the Inklings, Octarians, and other creatures we see in the game. Judd comes from before this era, having been placed in a specially-designed pod that released him after 10,000 years.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Clearing the single player campaign nets the player replicas of the Hero Suit used by Agent 3 in Octo Valley and the armor used by the Octolings for use in multiplayer.
    • Every five levels past 20 (the original cap), Judd will award the player with a new piece of equipment.
    • Clearing amiibo challenges unlocks exclusive clothing and accessories for your Inkling.
  • Animal Is the New Man: The backstory of Inkling society is after humanity destroyed itself through more world wars and massive climate change, sea life evolved into the new dominant sentients of the planet.
  • Animal Jingoism: There's a fervent animosity between the squid-based Inklings and the octopus-like Octarians. A Sunken Scroll reveals this wasn't always the case. Their animosity was a result of a fight over increasingly limited territory.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If you lose a ranked match in which one of your teammates was disconnected, you'll only lose one ranking point instead of the usual ten. However, this only happens when the match starts with a missing team member. It won't count if a member suddenly disconnects during the match.
    • After reaching S rank, which can be quite a milestone to reach, Squad Battles defeats no longer lower rank score (granted, neither do victories increase it), and each defeat only deducts 4 points instead of the usual 10, give or take, at least when only S ranks are involved.
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: The game makes it hard to "rage quit", as the game doesn't let you exit during Turf Wars or Ranked Battle. More persistent players will just manually turn off the console and reset; however, this results in a penalty in Ranked, as your score goes down. This also occurs when a player receives a connection error, due to the system being unable to distinguish between those who accidentally connect out of a match and those who do it on purpose to get out of it.
  • Anti-Villain: As shown by the Sunken Scrolls, Octarians are not a gratuitous Evil Counterpart Race of the Inklings. The war between them was over a territorial dispute, one that forced Octarians to take to the underground after their defeat. The reason behind their invasion is that the underground domes they call home are starting to fall apart, and they're starting to desperately need the electricity and territory.
  • Apocalypse How: A Planetary Species Extinction. Humans disappeared from the face of the Earth, after which sea creatures took to the surface and ruled the world.
  • 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!"
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • Bulkier equipment doesn't really have any direct effect on the Inklings' survivability on its own, unless it happens to have a defense perk; and even then the effect is still fairly minor and can be replicated by anything less bulky. This is most represented with the huge squid armor unlocked by the squid amiibo, which is far bulkier than any other gear, but without any special effects because of it.
    • Averted in single player, where Agent 3 can equip up to 3 pieces of armor that serve as extra lives of sorts. It should be noted though that this "armor" is basically a thick winter jacket plus a bike helmet and up to two fishing rods attached to it, depending on how many armors have been collected.
  • Art Attacker: All the ink weaponry makes for some bizarrely artistic fights; even things like paint rollers and paintbrushes are weaponized.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Deliberately played to the hilt with most single-player Octarian enemies, who will actually stop in the middle of shooting at you to watch a bomb you threw over or past them sail by and try to spot where it will land. Also justified — they're based on octopodes, which are pretty smart, but not on the part of them that actually contains the brain.
    • On the more unintentional side of things, the Octolings have been shown to be pretty stupid. Once you get a certain distance away from them, their approach options will suddenly go down the drain and they'll get stuck in a loop simply shooting at the floor forever.
  • Art Shift: Many of the Sea Scrolls are drawn in a realistic art style, the most detailed of which are wartime photos of the Great Turf War that depict Cap'n Cuttlefish and Sheldon's grandfather in their prime.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Possible Callie/Marie dialogue for the Camp Triggerfish map is, "Being here makes me feel like a kid!"/"Really? I feel more like a squid." This is a reference to the game's infamous TV spot.
    • Since the game was released, there were quite a few Miiverse comments about how there should be a Pokémon Red and Blue Splatfest. Come the franchise's 20th anniversary, the Miiverse goers finally got their wish.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • During Splatfests, registering for a team nets you a matching shirt that happens to be a piece of 3-Star Gear, making for free and easy powerful equipment with 3 slots for newer players. So what's the problem? Three things: One, you lose it after the Splatfest, so you can only use it for about a week. Second, three star items have a ridiculously high amount of experience needed to unlock their skill (3000/9000/15000, 27000 total). Unless you do nothing but grind experience, you'll end up with an item that won't have secondary skills for a long time and you don't get to keep. Third, you're forced to wear it during Splatfest, which isn't a big problem for newer players, but those of higher levels with 3-star clothing of their own have to forgo them during the event, potentially losing some unique abilities like Ninja Squid and Cold-Blooded.
    • Hiding on inked walls can be a great way to ambush opponents; most people focus on inking the ground because that's where most people hide and walls don't count toward the total anyway. The problem is that while you're in a wall in Squid form, you constantly slide downward, meaning that you'll probably be too preoccupied with trying not to fall off to actually do any ambushing.
    • As far as the weapon itself is concerned, the Rainmaker is this. When fully charged, it fires a large tornado of ink that is wider and travels farther than an Inkzooka. Unfortunately, it's only effective when it's fully charged, which takes about 2 seconds, leaving the player vulnerable during that time. Unlike other weapons which have to be charged, the Rainmaker has no defensive options, as the Rainmaker player can't use his or her sub and special weapons (a teammate's Bubbler can't pass on to a player holding the Rainmaker). Slow and steady strategies won't work either, because after 60 seconds, the Rainmaker explodes. For these reasons, it is imperative that the player holding the Rainmaker have teammates follow him or her to provide support.
  • Background Music Override:
    • During a Splatfest, the Squid Sisters's song overrides most of the plaza's tracks, like the Inkopolis News theme; it even can be heard from the weapon testing area.
    • The final phase of the battle against DJ Octavio has the Squid Sisters override Octavio's beats with some of their own for a Theme Music Power-Up. While Octavio's theme has some Variable Mix to it, Callie and Marie's song plays uninterrupted until he's defeated. The same song also takes over as the battle theme during the second half of the Callie vs. Marie Splatfest.
  • Badass Adorable: The Inklings are colorful squid who shape-shift into young humanoid children, some of whom are girls with huge tentacle pigtails/sidetails. They are also very skilled with ink-based weaponry and are surprisingly powerful fighters.
  • Bamboo Technology: The Bamboozler 14 is a literal case, being a Charger fashioned out of a bamboo cane. According to its description, it's a reissue of a weapon used during the Great Turf War, and also the one that won it, according to Sunken Scroll 14.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • The Octolings' outfit in humanoid form shows quite a bit of navel. Inklings can mimic this look with the unlockable Octoling Battlegear set.
    • Although most players will never see it, the Inkling character model includes undershirts in case some of their equipment fails to load for some reason. The female Inkling's undershirt fits this trope.
  • BBC Quarry: In-universe, Piranha Pit fills a similar niche. One of Callie's dialogues mentions that sci-fi and fantasy movies are filmed there.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The protagonists of the story mode are the adorable Inklings, and the villains are the Gonkish Octarians. However, the Sunken Scrolls reveal the Octarians are not "evil" so much as they are other side of the Great Turf War, and the humanoid Octoling forces are just as cute as the Inklings.
  • 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.
    • The .52 Gal and the .96 Gal shooters, which essentially use the amount of ink they fire as equivalents to calibers on a gun. Both are slow-firing but pack a punch.
    • The Splatling guns are very large minigun-like weapons, with an ink tank almost as large as some of the smaller weapons.
    • The Inkzooka is a huge rocket launcher-like weapon that fires tall and quick ink tornados that travel in a straight line and splat opponents instantly.
    • The Rainmaker is an even more powerful Inkzooka, capable of firing bigger shots that travel farther, albeit at the cost of overall speed. It's so big that prior to version 2.7.0 it was the only weapon that slowed down players just by holding it; other weapons have joined it in that department since then.
  • BFS: The Inkbrush and Octobrush are longer than an Inkling is tall and about as wide, too.
  • 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. A Sunken Scroll shows Cap'n Cuttlefish and an Octarian soldier laughing together, both in humanoid form. This brings up some questions.
    • In Splatoon 2, it's later confirmed that Octolings can also be male and the stock Octarians can be depicted as female, so as a whole the Octarian race is made up between Octolings and Octarians.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Rainmaker weapon. How awesome is "unlimited mini-Inkzooka that can be charged to full blast, on an ink tank that never runs out"? Not as awesome as that sounds, since you glow brightly, marking your location to the enemy whether or not the Point Sensor is in play, you cannot use your own special whatsoever, you cannot super jump in any capacity with the weapon, meaning you will be hopelessly overrun if the enemy swarms you, you have to deliver this toy to the heart of the enemy base, and most importantly, even if the enemy isn't chasing you like vultures to a carcass, after a time limit runs out — which runs faster if you retreat back to your base — you will self-destruct!
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: All the DECO branded weapons have basically the same baseline performance as their "regular" counterparts, only they come prettied up with a nice coat of shiny rhinestones, as well as an alternate set of sub and special weapons.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: A Japanese-region Splatfest in September 2015 pit Boke vs Tsukkomi. Fans jokingly called it the Callie VS Marie Splatfest, as the two of them take on these roles, with Callie as the silly Boke and Marie as the serious Tsukkomi.
  • Bookends: The first time you start the game, you'll get the title screen against the backdrop of Inkopolis Tower in the day followed by an Inkopolis News report announcing the disappearance of the Great Zapfish. Right after defeating DJ Octavio in the single-player campaign, you get another title screen against the backdrop of Inkopolis Tower (complete with restored Great Zapfish) at night, followed by an Inkopolis News report about its supposedly sudden reappearance. From this point forward, the Great Zapfish will be visible on the normal title screen.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Shooter weapons in general. They don't have the power and novelty of the Rollers, nor do they have the range and power of the Chargers. However, their rapid fire rate makes them much more flexible at painting the environment than the othersnote , they do well on any kind of mapnote , they can do offense and defense equally well, and can adapt to surprises more easily than the others. This gets to the point where a team with no Shooters will have a very hard time trying to win.
    • Despite all the cool toys that are eventually unlocked, it's still common to see hardened veterans wielding the starter weapon, the Splattershot Jr., or its variant picked up early in single-player. It doesn't have anything fancy going for it: It just sprays incredible amounts of ink for incredible amounts of time before it runs empty, with decent range and damage to boot. It's no Game Breaker, but it's a consistent, solid choice for any situation and team. Furthermore, the regular Jr.'s loadout also includes the Splat Bomb (delayed grenades good for both eliminating targets and covering area) and the Bubbler (a defensive shield giving temporary invincibility which is capable of also being given to your teammates). The Custom variant is available as soon as you beat the first boss and reach a relatively low level. It has very good sub and special weapons in the Disruptor (a bomb that slows enemies down and reveals them by putting particle effects around them) and the Echolocator (reveals enemies for several seconds), making it good on its own and amazing as a support strategy.
  • Boss-Only Level: The bosses' levels. As soon as you arrive to one, you're only a few meters apart from the battlefield.
  • Boss Remix: The beginning of one of the Hero Mode themes, the one that plays on the first stage, gets a reprise during the final boss's theme.
  • Brand X:
    • The basic Splattershot weapon is clearly based on the original Super Soaker by NERF Brand, complete with a slightly rearranged color scheme. The Pro version is similarly a Super Soaker CPS 2000 with a larger tank integrated into the body. The description of the Pro version also matches the CPS series' infamous high power but high water consumption in a span of seconds.
    • The "Squiffer" rifles have a pressure tank made from a "generic brand" laundry detergent bottle and a "Swiffer" mop handle for the barrel.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Marie almost mentions draw distance (how far the game renders objects from the player) in response to Callie's remark about Moray Towers being so foggy that she can't see the ground.
    • After beating the fourth world in Hero Mode, the ensuing cutscene has Agents 1 and 2 openly referring to DJ Octavio as the Final Boss. Much later, his final words are "Cross-fade... to black..."
    • During the North American Pirates vs. Ninjas Splatfest announcement, Marie responds to Callie's pirate remark about "swabbing the deck and plundering the booty" by reminding her to "keep it E for Everyone."
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Downplayed with the games corresponding amiibo. You can get exclusive clothes from them... However, they're mid-tier level and only have two extra slots, so they're not game breaking in that aspect. The weapons you get from them are also reskins of starter weapons, which also means they're fairly balanced. However, you only get equipment from bosses. The normal Remixed Level challenges gives you a fair amount of money for beating them. If you sit down and beat them all in one go, it's possible to go from 0 money to 20,000. However, that's only after you've beat them once. If you play them again, you only get 100 for clearing them, making it so you can't farm off the easier ones to get a lot of money.
  • Brown Note: The Killer Wail special weapon is a huge speaker that creates a massive soundwave that splats any enemy Inkling in front of it. It doesn't paint territory on its own though. This is also one of the many weapons used by the final boss.
  • 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".
    • Cap'n Cuttlefish calls the invisible walls and floors in one of the single player stages "See-through technomajigs".
    • When the Squid Sisters introduce Piranha Pit, this exchange can happen:
      Callie: I know that big machine! It's the... y'know... the thing!
      Marie: You sure have a weird definition of "know".
  • Button Mashing: Want to use Brush weapons effectively? Then better get working on that trigger finger. Unlike other weapons, Brushes attack as quickly as the player can press the button. Since one gets the most of it in coverage ability and attack power by swinging it as fast as possible, mashing on that ZR button is a must.
  • Cap: In Hero Mode, players are allowed no more than three respawns at a time on any map. This does not mean, however, that the player is limited to a total of three lives.
  • Call-Back: Some of the Squid Sisters' commentary on levels reference previous Splatfests, such as the "Art vs. Science" Splatfest when talking about Museum D'Alfonsino.
  • Camera Abuse: When the single player bosses explode, they shower everything in ink, including the camera.
  • Camera Screw: Grates above you can obscure your view if you aim downward.
  • Capture the Flag: Rainmaker is an odd take on the formula. The eponymous Rainmaker sits on the center of the stage, working as a single "flag" that has to be carried to the enemy base. The Rainmaker gives its holder a slow but powerful Charged Attack akin to that of the Inkzooka; however, it slows the holder down severely, constantly marks their location to opponents, and self-destructs if they hold on to it for too long, doing it faster if they try to retreat.
  • Cargo Cult: When information about an upcoming Splatfest is announced in-game, it is represented as a message "from on-high" through the Squid Sisters, coming through an old fax machine with a few paper talismans on it and candles ceremonially placed around it. In the single-player campaign, a Sunken Scroll depicting the fax machine even has a vague metaphysical blurb on it. Furthermore, before they became Idol Singers in the final game, the Squid Sisters were going to be called "Shrine Maidens", and their role was to transmit divine messages from god to people.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Judd's scientist owner tried to warn the rest of humanity of the danger of rising sea levels, but no one responded to him.
    • The only person who believes Cap'n Cuttlefish about the Octarian threat is Agent 3. Or so it seems until the other Agents get involved.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After finishing the single player campaign, going back to fight the final boss again will have Callie and Marie casually chatting with each other and their grandfather during the fight instead of giving tips like usual.
  • 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.
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: Splatfests are, in short, the Inklings taking a simple debate like dogs vs. cats, rock vs. pop, or lemon tea vs. milk tea, and making an entire large scale celebration out of having people from both sides deciding who's better via nighttime Turf Wars, complete with an all-night party and religious undertones through the Cargo Cult fax machine.
  • Character Customization: The Inklings' gender, skin, and eye color can be customized, which then is combined with customization of 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. Up until level 20 it increases by total area painted during a Turf War, or percentage of the goal completed during a Ranked Battle, with bonuses for being on the winning team; and after that it starts to increase on a goal completion basis.note  Higher levels make the store clerks more willing to part with more exclusive equipment, at level 10 the player can access Ranked Battles, at level 20 the player can pay Spyke to upgrade and reset their gear, and every 5 levels after 20 the players recieves rewards from Judd.
  • Charged 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. All charged weapons are instant splats at max charge, with the sole exception being the Bamboozler 14.
    • Splatling guns have a charge time used to pressurize ink and wind up the weapon before firing, with longer charges giving longer bursts of fire. The reward for this charge time is superb range and fire rate.
    • In Rainmaker mode, the eponymous Rainmaker can be charged up to fire a slower, larger version of the Inkzooka's ink twisters. Trying to attack without charging simply fires a tiny little twister that barely travels forward.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In singleplayer, you're designated "Agent 3", so it's obvious that Agents 1 and 2 must be around somewhere if they aren't dead. Turns out they're a very poorly disguised Callie and Marie, who take over as Mission Control in Worlds Four and Five.
  • Cherry Tapping:
    • As far as main weapons go, the Inkbrush's "rolling" attack does a measly 20 damage when hitting an opponent, while Inklings have 100 health. Combine this with the Inkbrush user being pushed back after running into someone, and the chances of actually finishing off an opponent with that attack are close to none.
    • Chargers and Splatlings can be rapidly fired by mashing the trigger, but they'll do relatively little damage with extremely little range and coverage.
    • The Sprinkler does miniscule damage-per-hit, but a careless opponent can still get splatted by it.
    • When you shoot a platform propeller, the ink can rebound off onto enemies and splat them if they're low enough on health. And yes, the game has a specific message for getting propeller-splatted.
  • Civil Warcraft: Nothing serious, but during Splatfest a team can face off against members of their own team (such as Dog vs Dog) if the system couldn't find enough members of the opposing team. While these matches grant the usual Splatfest points for players, they do not affect the overall standing of the Splatfest teams.
  • Close-Range Combatant:
    • You play as this if you equip a Roller weapon. Its purpose is to roll over and instantly splat other Inklings, but the only ranged attack it has is very slow and fairly short-ranged, too.
    • The Inkbrush takes it even further, as it doesn't even get the initial ranged attack that the Rollers do, which for it only goes just past melee range. The first available loadout for it has the Sprinkler and the Inkstrike as ranged options, which aren't especially useful for direct combat; while the Inkbrush Nouveau completely forgoes any kind of ranged option with the Ink Mine and Bubbler. Thus, Inkbrush users tend to have to rely on ambush tactics even more than other players do.
    • The Luna Blaster's explosions have a wide blast radius and great power, but the shots travel only a short distance before detonating. What's more, rather than any sort of bomb, it has Ink Mines as its subweapon. The only tool a Luna user has to deal with distant foes is the Inkzooka, which needs to be charged before becoming available.
    • The Sploosh-o-Matic has poor accuracy and absolutely miniscule range, but excellent damage and fire rate. Like the Luna Blaster, it's geared explicitly and exclusively towards close-quarters combat.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: In the backstory, humans rendered themselves extinct via global warming and eventually the ancestors of the Inklings (squid), Octolings, and other sea creatures came on land and started their own civilization.
  • Collection Sidequest: Each single player stage has a Sunken Scroll. Each of them reveals details of the Inklings, Octarians, and the world of Splatoon in general.
  • Colorblind Mode: Enabling "Color-lock" in the options locks teams colors to bright orange versus dark blue, in an effort to always have sufficient contrast for colorblind players.
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • Each team of Inklings can have a variety of colors. There are many team color combinations for Turf War and Ranked Battles that are guaranteed to have significant Color Contrast to help gameplay. Sometimes Splatfests add extra colors to the fray, depending on the teams.
    • The Octarians primarily use fuchsia as their color.
  • Color Contrast: Given that covering territory is the name of the game, you really want the team colors to pop. There are combinations like orange/blue, pink/teal, green/purple, and yellow/pink among others. In rare circumstances there will be color combinations that are not as contrasting as usual during Splatfests, such as yellow/white for Milk Tea vs. Lemon Tea in Japan, and pink/purple for Autobots vs. Decepticons in the Americas.
  • Comeback Mechanic:
    • Since special weapons are charged by covering the ground in your team's color, a losing team can charge up their special weapons more easily since there's more ground for them to cover. This is especially true for Turf War, since the objective is to cover everything in ink.
    • Some gear abilities exist to give benefits to players or teams in bad situations: Haunt marks the location of any opponent that splats its user to all of their teammates, Tenacity slowly fills the special bar automatically if the enemy team has more active players, and the aptly named Comeback gives a short boost in stats to its user after respawning.
    • In Ranked Battles, if time runs out when the losing team is in control of the objective, the match goes into overtime. Overtime finishes once the losing team either loses control of the objective, or manages to pull ahead and overtake the opposing team's score. This encourages losing players to keep trying until the very end.
    • Splat Zones has a penalty mechanic that punishes teams that lose control of the zone(s) with a penalty timer, with bigger penalties being given the closer they were to running out the main timer. While this penalty doesn't affect the final score after the match ends, it does make it so the losing team has a bigger chance to turn a match around, even if the enemy was a few seconds away from victory; and it forces the enemy to fully commit to taking the zone(s) back and keeping them.
    • In the event of a Total Party Kill, you can regain ground very quickly if one of your teammates has placed Squid Beakons around the map to teleport to. Assuming the other team hasn't destroyed them yet, of course.
  • Company Cross References: 8-bit renderings of Bloopers, the squid enemies from the Super Mario Bros. games, can be found in several out-of-the-way locations; the Inklings' squid forms also strongly resemble Bloopers. This game also features 8-bit renderings of Octoroks, the octopus enemies from The Legend of Zelda, after which the Octolings' octopus forms are designed.
  • Competitive Balance: Weapons have a general balance of fire rate, accuracy, range, and power. Weapons with high fire rate will have poor damage, range, and accuracy but can coat more area faster. Weapons with high range, like chargers and Squelchers, have excellent accuracy and power but are less efficient at coating areas. Weapons with high power have low fire rate and often range, demonstrated by the Rollers and Gal weapons, but can cover larger areas with less shots. Furthermore, some weapons exist with branded or reskinned variants that have the exact same stats as the regular version but require a different play style due to having a different sub and special weapon.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: The game was born and revealed as a 4 vs 4 multiplayer shooter.
  • Conlang: 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, made especially difficult by having multiple scripts. Incidentally, if you happen to know a few languages your brain goes mad trying to read the text since they look like a cross between Latin, Greek, Russian, Armenian, Thai, Korean, and Japanese. Given the apparent location, it's probably ultimately descended from Japanese, but thousands of years of cross-species linguistic drift has made it difficult to tell with any accuracy.
  • Console Cameo:
    • The N-ZAP '85 shooter is modeled after the original gray NES Zapper, and the N-ZAP '89 after the orange one released later. Later, Sheldon's Picks Vol. 2 added the N-ZAP '83, a Zapper given the Famicom controller's colors.
    • The Wii U Gamepad and a Pro Controller can be seen hanging when you look through the Battle Dojo entrance.
    • The fossilized human skeleton in the 26th Sunken Scroll has a fossilized Wii U, Gamepad, and Pro Controller tied to a Wii Remote next to it.
  • Covered in Gunge: The whole point of the game is to cover everything in ink, both scenery and enemies.
  • Cover Version:
    • "Now Or Never" is usually a rock theme "performed" by the Squid Squad; however, in Splatfests a pop version courtesy of the Squid Sisters plays to go along with their battle song.
    • "Calamari Inkantation", the song performed by the Squid Sisters during the final boss battle, is an in-universe modernized cover of the customary chorus of Calamari County, a song deeply rooted in Inkling culture. This was first revealed via a Sunken Scroll, and later on the "original" track was released as part of the Splatune album, showing its heavy traditional Japanese influences.
  • Cranium Ride: Flooders can be used as mobile platforms. Enemies use them, as well.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The scrolling credits, along with several doodles that scroll along with them, are revealed by firing ink at the screen with burst bombs and the shooter.
  • Cross Counter: What happens when two Roller users charge each other head on. They basically splat each other.
  • Crosshair Aware: A spinning crosshair of sorts marks the area where an Inkstrike is gonna fall. For the sake of your well being, keep your distance.
  • Crutch Character: Or weapon. In any case, the Aerospray family tends to get labeled this by the competitive scene. In Turf Wars, its insane fire rate and spread makes it great for inking turf, but people who tend to take it into ranked play are usually in for a rude wake-up call, where it's short range and random spread shots make most people who play it glorified target practice for anyone who using more confrontational weapons. Combine this with subs that don't make up for the weapon's main weaknesses, and you get a weapon that often underperforms in Ranked Battles.
  • 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: Though uncommonly seen, as the developers have taken measures to prevent one team from easily implementing this against the other. 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 unless all four opposing players have first been splatted within a short time of each other.
  • Death from Above: The Inkstrike 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, splatting any enemy trapped in it. The Octostriker enemy in Hero Mode attacks by using this very attack against the player.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Inkbrush has one of the lowest damage-per-hit values with its "fling" attack; however, the default Inkbrush can attack as quickly as the player can press the button, meaning that despite needing multiple hits to splat an opponent, it can still be pulled off very quickly.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
  • Deflector Shields:
    • The Bubbler creates a bubble around its user that makes them temporarily invincible, making all damage sources push them away instead. These bubbles can spread to allies, which in the right situations can completely turn around a battle.
  • Deployable Cover: The Splash Wall sub weapon is this, stopping enemy attacks dead in their tracks, heavily damaging anyone foolish enough to walk or swim into them, and instantly splatting any poor unlucky fella that happens to be under it when activated. They stay on the field for a limited amount of time, but do dissipate faster with damage.
  • Desperation Attack: The Last-Ditch Effort equipment ability gives you several buffs when less than 30 seconds remain on the clock, or if you're in a Ranked mode and the enemy team is close to victory.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The gyroscopic controls takes a bit of getting used to, and some don't want to get used to it because of the bad rep motion controls got from the likes of the Wii's shovelware or Microsoft's Kinect. That said, the general consensus is that it gives the Wii U's Gamepad 1:1 precision on par with a mouse and keyboard in a shooter.
    • Charger-type weapons don't cover ground as efficiently as other types, and require steady aim to be used effectively. While novice chargers will probably find themselves splatted constantly, experts can be an invaluable support unit for their team, managing to shut down enemy advancement from a distance with powerful one-hit splats while also creating long and clean trails of ink to allow them and their team a quick route to move in.

      Even among chargers, shorter-ranged chargers such as the Squiffers and the Bamboozlers take some skill to use effectively and require the users getting closer to the action than most charger players would be comfortable with (making them more vulnerable to shooters, especially the Jet Squelcher series), but they all fully charge very quickly, making them ideal for ambushes and more viable on maps with lots of closed areas and very few vantage points, things that can often prove crippling to longer-ranged chargers such as the Splat Chargers and E-Liters. Despite having shorter range than the Splat Chargers, the Squiffers only take one second to charge. The Classic version is loaded with Point Sensors and the Bubbler for defensive options while the New version has Ink Mines for laying traps and the Inkzooka for taking out farther away foes.

      Meanwhile, the Bamboozlers seem to have very pitiful stats for chargers at first glance, as even their fully-charged shots lack the one-hit splatting ability that the other chargers have. However, not only do they currently have the fastest charge-time of all chargers (even faster than the Squiffers), their uncharged shots have just as much range as their charged shots (slightly longer than the Squiffers). While they are incapable of one-hit splats, a fully-charged shot followed by an uncharged shot in succession is just enough to splat opponents quickly. Add on some attack buffs and it's possible a charged shot will do just 99.9% damage to an enemy player (and mitigate any defense buffs they may have). The Mk. I has Splash Walls for immediate defense against close-range attackers (sub savers can mitigate the Splash Wall's ink consumption), while the Mk. II has Disruptors for softening up enemies and then picking them off.
    • Many players use the Dynamo Roller once, then deem it utterly useless, as its rolling is sluggish and handles poorly, and its wind-up is glacier slow. However, its initial ink-hurling attack goes absurdly far, even outranging many Shooter weapons, and can One-Hit KO over a massive area. A Dynamo Roller user with good timing, aim, and the ability to make good use of terrain can cover giant swathes of turf while being very difficult to approach. The 2.2.0 update removed some of the Awesome and upped the Difficult by requiring it to hit people with the center of its ink fling in order to One-Hit Kill them.
    • The L-3 Nozzlenose has a unique feature among Shooters in that holding the trigger down does not produce a constant stream of fire; each press only produces a three shot burst, meaning you have to press the trigger repeatedly to keep firing. However, the Nozzlenose is incredibly ink-efficient and fairly accurate, allowing you to do a lot between refills, helped by how its secondary weapon is the relatively cheap Disruptor or the also relatively cheap Burst Bomb on the L-3 Nozzlenose D.
    • While the Inkbrush works similarly to a Roller, using it like one is useless, as its "rolling" produces a thin line nearly useless for covering turf, it relies on Death of a Thousand Cuts as opposed to the One Hit KOs that Rollers are used to, and it has a very limited range. However, its high movement speed and "fling" attack, which is as quick as the player can tap the button, means that a skilled user can thoroughly cover mass amounts of turf quickly, and its "rolling" attack moves nearly as fast as Squid form, allowing Inkbrush users to excel at moving through turf not covered in their own team's ink quickly. Skilled Inkbrush users can use to this trait to compensate for the lack of range as well, both to escape bad situations and to rapidly close in on both ranged attackers and unaware opponents. The Octobrush plays the same despite trading speed for power and a bit more range.

      Basic Inkbrush users are not gifted with powerful or spammable subweapons or specials. However, Sprinklers are excellent for helping to maintain Splat Zones and securing Turf, when placed correctly they are very difficult to remove without splatting their owner or having a decent ranged weapon, and can very rarely finish off careless or weakened opponents. Inkstrikes are great for forcing snipers to reposition and for denying turf.

      The Inkbrush Noveau completely lacks any kind of ranged ability whatsover. However, Ink Mines can be very wickedly used to deny areas, set up ambushes, and discourage pursuit, and the Bubbler special is great for offense, defense, and team support.
    • The Heavy Splatling doesn't have the run and gun factor of the shooters, or the sheer kill power of the chargers. That said, it has the range of a charger and the coverage of a shooter, which can handily compensate for the lack of immediate firepower.
    • The Hydra Splatling has a slow charge time and slows you down greatly like a sniper-type Charger while charging up, in addition to guzzling ink like nobody's business (emptying a tank in three full-charged bursts). However, it has the longest burst duration of the Splatlings and an excellent fire rate (allowing you to splat multiple opponents in a single full charge if you're good at sweeping them with the extended burst), and an effective range just shy of the Scoped chargers that even outclasses the Jet Squelcher.
    • The Sploosh-o-Matic: Its range is terribly short, meaning you either have to be amazing at dodging or good at sneaking up on opponents, but when you do it's a thing of beauty since it can splat someone very quickly. It's especially useful in Tower and Rainmaker modes, where the Killer Wail is more viable and its Squid Beakons can help your team regain footing on the map quickly in the event of a TPK.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Final Boss shows a very surprising spike after paint-rolling the previous bosses like nothing.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance:
    • Having multiple copies of the same ability isn't very efficient, because the benefits get smaller with each successive duplicate. Exactly how less efficient depends on the stacked ability in question.
    • The Charger and Roller weapons have useful abilities, but teams won't function very well if there's too many of them. Having too many of the same weapon means multiple people share the same weaknesses, and if no other weapons are around to cover those weaknesses, neither weapon will be able to perform as well as they would on a more balanced team.
  • Domino Mask: The Inklings have black outlines around their eyes, giving them the appearance of wearing masks.
  • Downloadable Content: Occassionally new content for the game is released via free updates. This includes multiplayer stages, weapons, gear, and even Battle Modes.
  • Dreamworks Face: Several promotional materials show the orange female Inkling striking the classic smirk + eyebrows combo, including her amiibo.
  • Dub Name Change: Several names were changed when translated from Japanese.
    • Highcolor City - Inkopolis
    • Aori - Callie
    • Hotaru - Marie
    • Bukichi- Sheldon
    • Rob - Crusty Sean
    • Jajji-kun - Judd
    • Daunii/Downey - Spyke
    • Anemo - Annie
    • Kumano - Moe
    • Commander Atarime - Cap'n Cuttlefish
    • DJ Takowasa - DJ Octavio
    • ABXY - The Chirpy Chips. Their music was renamed as well:
      • "Quick Start" - "Split and Splat"
      • "Friend List" - "Shellfie"
  • Dumbass DJ: While DJ Octavio doesn't really show signs of being a straight-up dumbass, he still blurts out the same kind of cheesy lines that are expected from this kind of character, at least in the American localization.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Several maps were seen in promotional material long before they were officially added to the map rotation.
    • Kelp Dome and Bluefin Depot were used as stages in Hero Mode before their multiplayer debut.
  • Early Game Hell: The clothing and equipment you can get is directly related to your level. While the devs did a good job of making early weapons balanced enough to remain viable and efective even in higher level play, you're limited to clothes that only have one-to-two extra abilities at the start, and you don't start getting ones with full sets of abilities until you get to level ten or so. As such, online play can be a bit difficult, especially if you go up against a team that has clothes equipped with the max amount of abilities. It is possible, however, to get Spyke to help order some three-star gear from the Black Market to start you off once you've gained a few levels. Remember to save up for what he brings you.
  • Earth All Along: Splatoon's world turns out to be Earth after the extinction of humans and most surface species.
  • Easter Egg:
    • While in the plaza, when standing next to Callie and Marie for a moment, if the player camera is centered on them, they'll smile and wave at you before going back to their conversation. No zooming necessary but it gives a clearer look.
    • While in the weapon testing range, tossing a Splat Bomb through the basketball hoop will make your Inkling cheer as if splatting an enemy/opponent.
    • At the final checkpoint of the level "Inkrail Skyscape", there's an inkline that goes under a platform. Instead of heading to the next area through the Ink rail, stay under the platform and you'll hear a strange tune. The tower in Tower Control will occasionally play this tune as well.
    • The numbers on the password screen for squad and private lobbies play different notes while highlighting them. These numbers and their associated notes are placed in such a way that makes it possible to play the main part of the Squid Sisters theme, "Calamari Inkantation".
    • Try hanging around the arena before fighting a boss, or after beating it. You'll hear some rather disturbing noises.
    • The back of the amiibo box in Inkopolis Plaza has the same look as the real thing, but written in the Inkling language. The only way to see this in-game is through a glitch.
    • The Great Zapfish shows up in the waters surrounding Piranha Pit in the last 50-40 seconds of a match.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Single Player campaign takes place in large underground domes entered through Kettles made by the Octarians to simulate the surface world. The reason that the Octolings are invading in the first place are twofold. One is that they are running out of power and blackout periods are necessary, and two the domes are failing and will eventually crumble.
  • Elite Mook:
    • The Twintacle Octotroopers, Octarian 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.
    • Octolings are already elite troops for the Octarian army, but among them there are those with silver tentacle hair with kelp in it, who are tougher than the regular Octolings.
  • Elite Tweak:
    • Getting the right perks on your gear can be time-consuming and tedious due to the extra perks being chosen at random, but it's still entirely possible to get a killer set of abilities that goes great with your weapon of choice. One example: stat-based abilities stack, like Damage Up and Run Speed Up, so getting three of both across your gear with a Shooter weapon type will make you hit hard and fast.
    • Nintendo tried really hard to avert this as much as possible, with having an RNG system for ability rolls. Of course, to make sure that players wouldn't break the game, each piece of clothing has a main and secondary stat set, with main withstanding of one and the secondary withstanding of one, two or three, depending on the gear's rank. And to make sure that you won't out-do other players by getting a piece of clothing with 4 Damage Up? The secondary stats do less than the main stat.
  • Escort Mission: The Rainmaker mode essentially is this combined with Capture the Flag. The player with the Rainmaker has a very slow charge attack meaning that if they try to head to the goal alone, there's a very good chance that they'll get splatted by the other team, which means that if you want to win, you'll have to go ahead of the Rainmaker to protect them.
  • Evil Is Cool: Invoked by Marie during the Transformers-themed American Splatfest, where she supported Team Decepticons simply because they're cool.
  • 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 females at least believed until recently are capable to take humanoid form. However, Inklings and Octarians used to have friendly relations before the war. Octarians turn out to be not so much "evil" as just "desperate".
  • Evil Former Friend: Sunken Scroll 16 depicts a male Octoling and the younger Cap'n Cuttlefish being friendly with each other. However, when one takes note of the Samurai headpiece of the Octoling as well as the Wasabi plant in his arm, you can see this is none other than DJ Octavio himself. This is even lampshaded when the Squid Sisters joke that their grandfather got captured again because he was lonely. This trope is, however, subverted in that Octavio's more or less not evil per se, just the opposite side of a war that nobody wanted to happen.
  • Evil Is Hammy: While the European and Japanese versions of the game have him as a more standard villain, the North American version of the final boss, DJ Octavio, is the most hammy character in the game, with loads of shouting in ALL CAPS while throwing music puns for all their worth. Then again, what else would you expect from a final boss that fights in a Humongous Mecha/turn table hybrid that blasts some bizarre kind of dubstep/techno mix?
    "Time to... D-D-D-D-DROP THE SEA BASS!!"
    "What's this? Where mah beats!?"
  • Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!: The Hero Mode levels are titled this way.
  • Exploding Barrels: The single-player campaign features pufferfish balloons that burst and spread ink everywhere if you shoot them.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Ink guns, ink bazookas, ink grenades, oversized paint rollers... you might see a pattern here. The weapons are also either colorful and toy-like, or cobbled together from random household objects.
  • Feed It a Bomb: This is how you need to beat the Ravenous Octomaw. Shoot out its teeth blocking the way to the hole in its mouth, then chuck a bomb in to stun it and expose its weak spot.
  • Fictional Age of Majority: The age of 14 is when Inklings are considered fully developed and allowed to participate in Turf War battles. It is also around this time that they can fully control their ability to shift between their human and squid forms at will.
  • Fictional Holiday:
    • Splatfests are Inkopolis's special holidays. They occur every now and then, and during those times normal online gameplay is put on hold in favor of Splatfest Battles, which are battles that pit teams of two thematically opposed sides against each other for the chance to win Super Sea Snails. Additionally, they take place at night with special truck-top concerts by the Squid Sisters, with plenty of Inklings in attendance.
    • Squidmas is brought up a few times, such as when replaying the final boss, and during the European North vs. South Pole and American Naughty vs. Nice Splatfests.
    • Squidoween is also referenced in the announcement dialogue for the worldwide Fancy vs. Costume Party Splatfest.
  • 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 splatting.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Octarians, as the underground domes they've called home after the war are rapidly falling apart, and running out of energy.
  • Final-Exam Boss: A lot of the skills learned and gadgets used by the player have to be used in the final boss fight to have any chance of defeating him.
  • 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-sea creature character in the game.
  • Floating Continent: The levels in Hero Mode take place on platforms floating in the air within the Octarian homes.
  • Flooded Future World: The backstory indicates that the game is set millennia after the extinction of humanity (and most mammals in general) due to global warming rising the sea levels, paving the way for various sea-life to evolve and become the new dominant species on the planet. According to the first game's official art book, another contributing factor was the nuking of Antarctica during World War V, melting most of the continent.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A rather blatant example; in Hero Mode, shortly after Agents 1 and 2 become Mission Control, one of them accidentally refers to the other as "Mari- I mean... Agent 2...". At the very end of Hero Mode, it's revealed that they are, in fact, the Squid Sisters (Callie and Marie).
    • One of the Sunken Scrolls holds a music sheet that's described as "the customary chorus of Calamari County", and that "it may as well be carved into the very DNA of all Inklings". Appropiately, said song shows up as a Theme Music Power-Up during the last phase of the final boss, sung by the Squid Sisters themselves.
    • One of the Squid Sisters' blurbs for Camp Triggerfish has Marie jokingly mention that Judd might have been reffing since the dawn of time. As a Sunken Scroll reveals, Judd is a Fish out of Temporal Water has been around for 2 thousand years; or since the beginning as far as Inkling civilization is concerned.
    • The Squid Sisters got into an especially heated argument in the results of the North American Early Birds vs. Night Owls Splatfest, declaring that "Next Splatfest we play for keeps!" Cue the next (and last) Splatfest where the Squid Sisters were pitted directly against each other... and the results of that Splatfest wound up directly affecting the plot of the sequel.
  • 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. Your shots will still be blocked by teammates though, which is especially bad for Chargers since they attack with single shots that use a lot of ink, and a frequent issue for Splatling users since they hold their weapons far lower to the ground that other weapon types.
  • 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.
  • Funny Octopus:
    • The Inklings, cartoony squids that can change into humanoid kids with vaguely squidish features.
    • The Octarians are shown as a more disturbing version, the lower ranking soldiers taking the form of single tentacles with eyes, mouth and legs. The Higher up ones possessing more tentacles.
  • Gatling Good: Splatling guns are large ink miniguns that have to be wound up before raining colorful destruction on the splattlefield.
  • Genre Throwback: The colorful aesthetics and dialogue, unusual soundtrack, and overall feel of the game have a distinctive 90's aura to them; in particular 90's Nickelodeon with a hint of early Sega Dreamcast games. The game's American commercials in particular used a cheesy soundtrack that would feel right at home with the classic kids commercials of that decade.
  • Gendered Outfit: Female inklings wear shorter shorts than males. Other than that, almost all of the equipable clothing averts this, being identical between genders save for some minor form tweaking done for t-shirts and long shirts. Only a few outfits show remarkable differences between male and female variations:
    • The female Octoling Armor bares the midriff, though not nearly as much as with the Octolings themselves.
    • The female School Uniform has a color-matching skirt, and the School Shoes that go with it have black socks for females.
    • The SQUID GIRL Tunic is clearly a dress on the female inklings, but is a tunic not unlike a basketball jersey on the males. The matching SQUID GIRL Hat is much larger on male inklings, covering the inkling's hair completely and fitting over their ears.
  • Godiva Hair: In two of the Sunken Scrolls. The Inkling equivalents of the March of Progress and Pioneer Plaque both include a diagram of a female Inkling, with their hair-tentacles in each case doing this to keep everything E-rated.
  • 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. There are some that cover the eyes, but won't necessarily protect you. Made even sillier with the addition of Night-Vision Goggles which, despite being worn on the Inkling's face, make no changes to their vision whatsoever.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Of course, they can also serve the purpose of protecting you from ink (if they have a Defense effect), but just as likely will make you swim faster, conserve ink, or hasten respawn.
  • Going Through the Motions: The Squid Sisters have a set of several emotions used in the news breaks, most notably the "Stay fresh!" pose which occasionally sneaks its way into Splatfest announcements.
  • Golden Snitch: Ranked Battles always keeps track on how much each team has progressed in completing the set objective, with the team that made the most progress before time runs out being the victor. However, if one team successfully completes the objective, the match ends immediately and scores the victor team a Knockout victory, giving them a huge victory bonus and the losing team nothing, regardless of how much progress the other team made.note 
  • The Goomba: Octotroopers, the basic one-tentacled Octarian troops. They move slow, fire slow, and are generally very easy to take care of.
  • Graffiti Town: The setting of many arenas is largely urban or industrial, while nonetheless still being colorful even before the Inklings wreak havoc all over. The game even makes some very interesting use of graffiti by using messages posted to Miiverse as randomized graffiti that can show up in the game world in Inkopolis and the single and multiplayer levels.
  • Grand Finale: The final Splatfest is the one most, if not all, Splatoon players have been clamoring for, Callie vs. Marie, a worldwide event with unified results across all three regions and player-selected stages.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: What all of Hero Mode turns out to be. Only the player, Cap'n Cuttlefish, and the Squid Sisters will ever know the truth.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Great Turf War between Inklings and Octarians that took place 100 years before the game's events, and that Cap'n Cuttlefish was a part of. Several details of it are revealed via the Sunken Scrolls.
  • Green Aesop: The backstory could be seen as a nod to the climate change debate, as humanity's fate of dying out due to rising sea levels is basically what those warning about it theorize will eventually happen if not enough is done in response to it.
  • Grenade Spam: Normally averted due to them taking a huge chunk out of your Ink Gauge, however the "Bomb Rush" special grants unlimited ammounts of sub weapons like Splat Bombs and Burst Bombs for a limited time. As the game puts it: "Bombs away!"
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: As some Sunken Scrolls reveal, the animosity between Octarians and Inklings is over a territorial dispute, with the Octarians invading because the underground domes they have lived in after the Great Turf War are decaying. Neither side is as much "good" or "evil" as they are opposites in a war.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The Damage Up ability has some quirks that the game never mentions. It can't increase a weapon's power if doing so will reduce the number of hits needed to splat someone at full health, and it can speed up a Charger's charge time on top of the damage boost.
    • While one of Judd's tips says that multiple copies of the same ability are subject to Diminishing Returns for Balance, what isn't mentioned is sub-abilities aren't affected by this unless there are at least three of them, since sub-abilities are 1/3 as effective as a regular ability.
  • 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 their equipable weapons, or anything else really.
  • Hartman Hips:
    • 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, though their outfits exaggerate it.
  • #HashtagForLaughs: The blog "Live from Squid Research Lab" sometimes adds some funny hashtags to the usual ones such as #insert octodad joke here and #He was a skater squid.
  • The Hedonist: The Inklings as a race care mostly about fun, parties, and looking fresh. It gets to the point that they were losing the first battles of the Great Turf War because they couldn't wake up early enough in the morning to defend themselves, and that only Cap'n Cuttlefish and his agents are the only ones doing something about the Octarians in the present time.
  • Heroic Mime: Lampshaded. During the start of the single player campaign, Captain Cuttlefish asks the player if he or she can help him rescue the Great Zapfish, he says he'll take the player's silence as a yes.
  • Hidden Badass: Near the end of the Final Boss battle, it's revealed that Agent 3's predecessors, 1 and 2, are the Squid Sisters Callie and Marie.
  • Hipster: The Inkling's fashion sense makes them look like '90s inspired hipsters, what with them possibly equipping beanies and big glasses and the like; plus their almost complete refusal to wear anything but shorts regardless of their top, be it long shirt, winter jacket, or anything. If by some reason you're still not convinced, here's a quote from the Final Boss himself:
    "Slimy little hipster!"
  • Hold the Line: In Ranked Battles, if the round goes into its last minute or two and neither team is seemingly capable of scoring a knockout, an effective strategy for the winning team is to make less of an effort to push the objective and switch to preventing the enemy from overtaking their score until time runs out. Inversely, a team that is losing and has no chance to win can switch to putting all their might into preventing the enemy from scoring a knockout before time runs out.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Going with the World of Pun this game is, squid/sea life counterparts of phrases show up every now and then.
    "Hold on to your tentacles!"
    "You gotta be squiddin' me!"
  • Hub Level:
    • Inkopolis, a city filled with Inklings, serves as the "menu" where all areas and modes can be accessed.
    • Octo Valley is the Hero Mode hub. It's divided in 5 large areas, with kettles spread all over to access the single player stages.
  • Humanity's Wake: The game is set millenia after the dissapearance of humanity, with all signs pointing to the Inklings and other races of the world developing their civilization on top of what humanity left behind. Despite this, they seem to be largely ignorant of what humanity was, with the best guess they can make about fosilized human remains being that the creature's small head made them likely primitive, with little intelligence.
  • Human Popsicle: Or feline, rather. Judd was put in cryogenic stasis for 10,000 years by his scientist owner before the extinction of humanity, waking up about 2,000 years before the game's events.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: One of the Sunken Scrolls holds the Inklings' description of a human fossil they've come across. They mention a "strange internal skeleton", and suspect that our small heads made us "likely primitive, with little intelligence".
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: It's never explained how the Inklings are able to store their weapons, some of which are larger than they are, when they change into squid form. Then there's the sub and special weapons the Inklings can throw out of nowhere.
  • Idol Singer: Callie and Marie, The Squid Sisters. They're popular with the young Inklings, some of their singles appearing as tracks in the game. They are also the announcers of the Inkopolis News sections and the Splatfest events.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: An ambiguous case, in that it's not 100% clear that "splatting" is killing, but with the body being destroyed and a little ghost seen flying away from the scene, only to respawn at the spawn point seconds laternote , this trope appears to be in full effect, allowing the Inklings to have a sport that appears to involve lethal combat without any of the usual implications that would normally surround a Blood Sport.
  • 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.
    • With a large arangement of gun-like ranged options, Sloshers stand out by simply being ink buckets used to hurl ink all over the place.
  • Incoming Ham: The final boss sure makes his presence known with his intro line. The European localization has him using a hammy but more standard villain line, while the American cranks up the ham dial.
    European: I will take back what's MINE!
    American: GYAHAHA! I'ma remix your face!
  • In Name Only: The Squid Sisters are not actually sisters. They're cousins.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Official crossover content between this game and fellow squid-centered manga Squid Girl was announced shortly before release, including stuff like a crossover illustrated by Ika Musume's creator, and a free outfit based on Squid Girl herself for the game. While both works involve squid kids, the intercontinuity comes from both being incompatible between one another story-wise since Splatoon takes place thousands of years after the end of humanity.
  • Internet Jerk: Defied. According to Word of God, avoiding online toxicity is why online voice chat is not available.
  • Invincible Minor Minion:
    • Squeegees, little fish-shaped drones that clean up ink, cannot be hurt and can't be stunned, though they won't directly harm you.
    • Flooders, giant rolling machines that spray a constant wall of ink below them, will harm you, and will move faster if they notice you. They also can't be harmed or stunned at all.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The first three weapons that a player can unlock by leveling up (the Splattershot, the Splat Roller, and the Splat Charger) are all generally middle of the road in stats as far as the weapon type they represent go, allowing players to decide the playstyle they prefer as the later weapons they unlock become more specialized.
  • Kent Brockman News: Callie and Marie as hosts of Inkopolis News, while helpful in introducing the playable levels and updates at the start of each game, usually default to talking about fashion, gossiping about other characters, and generally going on small tangents.
  • King Mook: Octostomp is a giant powered-up version of the Octostamps, although the Octostamps don't show up until after the boss. Octowhirl is not explicitly based on the Octoballs, but it acts like one and is defeated like one (submerging it in ink and shooting its exposed upper half).
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Turning into a Kraken is one Limit Break ability, you make your own ink to swim in and can splat opponents.
  • Kryptonite-Proof Suit: The Ink Resistance ability, which is only available as the main ability of certain shoes, lowers the damage Inklings receive while standing in enemy ink, and decreases the movement penalty while moving through enemy ink.
  • 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.
    • If a Flooder notices you, it will focus a laser on you to let you know that you're being pursued.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The announcement for the 10th NA Splatfest, Past vs. Future has Callie mention wanting to meet an "odd 'human' thing" from the past. The revelation that the game takes place after humanity dies out is only mentioned through the Sunken Scrolls in the single player campaign. This is worse because this is the first Splatfest after the 2015 Christmas newbie boom.
    • The NA announcement for the final Callie vs. Marie Splatfest gives the final boss's identity away when Marie says that she'd rather give DJ Octavio a sponge bath than join Team Callie.
  • Layered Metropolis: The surface world is a bustling metropolis dominated by Inklings, while the subterranean Octarian domes are comparatively dystopian, with the Octarians having giant monitors in their domes that simulate the sky.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Gaining levels unlocks more equipment for you to purchase, and at level 20 you can pay Spyke to add to/reroll the abilities of said equipment. After 20, you get a new piece of clothing from Judd every 5 levels. The levels don't do anything else otherwise.
  • 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. This said however, the world's backstory is somewhat dark.
  • 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 Inkstrike.
  • Localized Name in a Non-Localized Setting: Splatoon and its sequels localize the characters Punny Names while keeping the aesthetic. In this case, it works because the series is in an Americasia setting.
  • Long-Range Fighter:
    • Charger weapon users. The long charging time prevents them from going up close, but its range and high damage at a full charge makes up for that. Taken even further with specific chargers like the E-Liter 3K, which sacrifices mobility, charge time, and ink efficiency for even greater range, and the chargers equipped with scopes, allowing for easier aiming and a slight increase in range at the expense of being automatically forced into tunnel vision after reaching a certain level of charge.
    • The Dynamo Roller's forte. Despite rollers normally being close range, the Dynamo Roller attacks very slowly, to the point that one getting caught in melee rarely comes out on top. However, their ink flinging attack has an impressively long range and wide spread, allowing it to excel at keeping opponents at arms length.
    • Among Shooter weapons, the Jet Squelcher line has comparable range to Chargers (other than the E-Liter 3K). While it has less damage, slower fire rate and worse turf coverage compared to most lower range shooters, Jet Squelchers have the advantage in combat as long as the user stays out of reach of any rivals.
    • Splatlings sacrifice the ability to fire immediately by having superb range combined with quick fire rate. However, this means that a Splatling user caught by surprise at close range is at a severe disadvantage.
  • Lost in Translation: As noted in Cargo Cult, Inklings society seems to worship a fax machine. Why? Because due to Alternate Character Reading, the Japanese word for "god" can also mean "paper".
  • MacGuffin: The Great Zapfish has gone missing from Inkopolis. In Hero Mode it's Agent 3's job to go find it.
  • MacGyvering: While certain weapons look like factory-made water guns or pastiches of actual guns, some of them look cobbled up from various household and office items.
    • Main Weapons:
      • Splat Rollers and variants are oversized paint rollers.
      • The Carbon Roller's frame is made from part of a polycarbon bicycle frame, with a plastic water bottle for an ink reservoir, which is attached to the frame by an actual water bottle mount.
      • The Dynamo Roller is made from oversized door-hinge panel parts for the frame and handle, with an oversized typewriter drum instead of a conventional roller head.
      • Sloshers are simply buckets. The Tri-Slosher looks like a bucket with a triple partition dividing the interior.
      • The Sloshing Machine is a miniature front-loaded washing machine, with the lid removed and a handle attached.
      • Inkbrushes and Octobrushes are basically a union between mops and giant paintbrushes, with the Inkbrush having a narrow brush tip and the Octobrush having a broad, flatheaded brush tip. The Inkbrush even has a huge paint tube feeding ink directly to the bristles!
      • The L-3 and H-3 Nozzlenose is basically a hose, its spool, and a spray nozzle.
      • Splash-o-Matics are basically fine-tipped magic markers with pressure gauges attached. Sploosh-o-Matics simply attach a funnel to the end of the former. Strangely enough, only the English-language localisations name these two weapons without referring to their origins as writing utensils. In Japan, these weapons are called the "Sharp Marker" and "Bold Marker" respectively.
      • Heavy Splatling Guns are heavily modified water coolers, including the water container.
      • Mini Splatlings look like smaller versions of the Heavy Splatling with a toy-like "Vintage Supersoaker" motif similar to the Splattershot and the basic Splat Roller/Splat Charger.
      • The Hydra Splatling looks like a Splatling with the receiver housing made from a modified section of fire hydrant with a ring-shaped crank from the hosereel valves, an ink reservoir made from a hot water tank, and what appears to be a diesel-powered electrical motor driving the pump. It has barrels made from the nozzles of firehoses, and a short section of said firehose connects the tank to the receiver.
      • The Squelchers appear to be power drills or power washers modified to shoot ink.
      • The .52 and .96 Gal blasters are made with the bodies of a Grenade Launcher with the revolving cylinders replaced with the water tank from an office water cooler.
      • The Hero Splattershot's ink tank is basically a paintball hopper. The same applies for the Hero Charger and Hero Roller.
      • The Splattershot Jr. is a cheap plastic water pistol.
      • Squiffers are basically a detergent bottle, a mop handle, and a windshield wiper stuck together.
      • E-Liter 3Ks are elongated fuel pump nozzles attached to tanks that resemble miniature fuel tank trucks.
      • Aerosprays are airbrushes that have been modified to use squid ink instead of paint.
      • The Bamboozler is a traditional bamboo water gun with iron sights stuck on top.
    • Sub Weapons:
      • Suction Bombs are spray cans attached to what seem like plunger heads.
      • Splat Bombs are simply plastic bags of ink surrounded by a pressure sensitive frame.
      • Burst Bombs are water balloons, just with ink.
    • Special Weapons:
      • The Killer Wail is a megaphone with motorbike mufflers attached to it.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The final boss is armed with a bunch of homing octomissiles. He can fire up to 4 at a time at Agent 3's poor butt.
  • Magic Pants: Only the Inklings's humanoid form wears clothes and holds a gun; they dissapear from sight when they turn into a squid. What's more vexing is that they leave behind these clothes after being splatted, yet respawn with a fresh set back at their base.
  • 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' pigtails are really their tentacles, they are quite big. In particular, Callie has some incredibly long tentacles, to the degree that if they were untied they would reach the floor and drag behind her.
  • Metagame: Even before the game was technically released hints of an evolving metagame appeared. During the first rounds of the Global Testfire demo, many players gravitated towards the Splat Roller for its great coverage and instant splat ability, many coming to consider it overpowered at first; in the following rounds however people became more familiar with the game, and developed countermeasures against the roller. This carried on after release, with the huge variety of weapons and the fact that their effectiveness varies depending on the mode and the map being played making players constantly re-evaluate weapons. This was especially prominent in the weeks after release, where a constant flow of new weapons and maps caused players to adjust constantly.
  • 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.
  • Mickey Mousing: During the last phase of the final boss fight, DJ Octavio will pose to the beat of the Squid Sisters' song shortly before the chorus hits and right before it ends.
  • Mighty Glacier: The E-Liter 3K, the Dynamo Roller, and the Hydra Splatling are the strongest weapons of their respective families, boasting the greatest damage and attack range of each of their types. However, this power comes at the cost of slow attacks that require significant time to wind up, with the adition of a swim speed penalty to their users after the release version 2.7.0.
  • Mini-Boss: Octostriker is fought in one stage per world in Octo Valley mode. In each of its levels, it will periodically attack the player with a cyclone of ink, making the level more difficult. Only when the player meets the Octostriker in person, the battle will ensue. Also an example of Recurring Boss.
  • 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: A Rhythm Game to the tune of the game's soundtrack.
  • Mini-Game Credits: The end credits have you shoot ink and burst bombs to reveal them. Initially, the game never told you this, leading many people to think the game crashed.
  • Mirror Boss: Octolings serve as this in Hero Mode, using the same spray and hide tactics the Inklings can use.
  • Mission Control: The elderly Inkling and former war hero Cap'n Cuttlefish serves as this in Hero Mode. Agents 1 & 2 take his place after he's captured.
  • Modesty Shorts:
    • Inklings always keep the same shorts on regardless of outfit, making them work like this for outfits with skirts like the female variations of the school uniform and the Squid Girl tunic.
    • Like the younger Inklings, Marie wears a pair of black shorts under her dress and over her leggings.
  • Money for Nothing: Averted. Even if players buy all of the available weapons and equipment in the game, optimizing a build will likely take multiple trips to Spyke, whose services can burn a big hole in your wallet. Adding or rerolling ability slots to gear costs a hefty 30,000 coins without a Super Sea Snail to trade, and ordering gear from Spyke can cost up to three times the usual asking price, plus extra for the number of slots it has and what its abilities are.
  • 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.(However, Male Inklings have 11, if you count their... you know, as an extra tentacle.)
  • Mutual Kill: Thanks to the games Rocket-Tag Gameplay and fast-paced battles, it is very common online for two opposing players to experience this trope, especially with with gunners and rollers.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • The promotional release-date manga released in Japan has a scene where two Inklings transform back from squids, with the male of the pair showing up naked with a censorship squid over his junk. This earns him a smack from the girl in the next panel.
    • One of the Sunken Scrolls depicts a classic Octarian painting showing two of their basic Octotroopers naked with a leaf where their junk is supposed to be. It's even more silly considering they don't have visible private parts.
  • Nerf:
    • The 1.3.0 update nerfed the Kraken by increasing the knockback it receives from enemy attacks, Ninja Squid by making swim speed slower, Stealth Jump by making it take longer to super jump, and Ink Resistance by reducing its effects.
    • The 2.0.0 update increased the Inkzooka's point requirement from 180 to 220, the Echolocator's from 180 to 200, and made the Inkstrike easier to hear before it lands.
    • The 2.2.0 update nerfed a lot of weapons, which can be found here. One of the most significant nerfs was the Rollers' ranged attacks only being able to One-Hit Kill enemies if they hit them with the center of their ink spread.
    • The 2.7.0 update introduced new rules on how much of the Special gauge for each weapon was lost when respawning. Several weapons were nerfed with bigger Special penalties as a result, some more so than others. Furthermore, several of the more powerful weapons such as the Dynamo Rollers and E-Liters were hit with nerfs to their wielders' base swim speed.
  • Never Say "Die": No, in Splatoon's colorful, PG world, you are splatted. "Splatted" is the term used in the game text when eliminating or being eliminated by a player, and is used by the characters when referring to taking out enemies, and it is always used as a stand-in for "die" or "kill".
  • 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. Their hats are based on squid or octopus sushi, with Callie's based on a slice from the mantle and Marie's as a ring of tentacle.
    • 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.
    • The Final Boss has what probably is the nicest hat in the game, wearing a crown-like golden headpiece in the shape of an octopus. One scroll even shows him using it while in humanoid form before the war started.
  • Nice Shoes: The various Squid Kids have an array of colorful sneakers, boots, and other varieties of footwear; courtesy of Shrimp Kicks. The proprietor of said store, Crusty Sean, wears a different set of his favourite shoes on each of his four pairs of legs.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": A variation with the ink rounds of a lot of weapons.
    • Longer-range Shooters tend to shoot blobs of ink almost completely straight until their max range (which is why a Splattershot Pro, .96 Gal or Squelcher will hit as long as the enemy is in range and the crosshair is right on them) before the projectile rapidly falls off.
    • Subverted with bomb-type Sub Weapons. Once thrown, they tend to follow a realistic trajectory... for a while. Then they rapidly lose horizontal momentum similar to Shooter ink shots.
    • Chargers fire a stream of ink straight out of the gun. Said stream inexplicably stops and falls downwards once it reaches maximum distance.
    • Averted with Roller and Brush flicking attacks and the ink hurl of the Sloshers, which do have a plausible arc.
  • No Name Given: None of the members of the in-game bands other than the Squid Sisters were officially named, or even shown at all beyond their appearances on their album art. The official Tumblr has gave aliases to the band Squid Squad based on their instrumental roles, while the other two, Chirpy Chips/ABXY and Hightide Era, had no names given at all. This was rectified eventually after the release of Splatoon 2, and now all the aforementioned characters have names.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The teams, or "splatoons" if you will, only have four inklings. They're really more of a splire team.
    • As one Sunken Scroll reveals, the Squid Sisters are actually cousins.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: What being splatted amounts to. Inklings can easily restore themselves after Giving Up the Ghost, and so can Octarians. Even DJ Octavio himself ends up just fine after a quite dramatic inksplosion.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: Turf Wars and all other events are entirely non-lethal, as being splatted is barely a slap in the wrist for Inklings. This is also true for what goes down in the single player campaign, and it's to be assumed it was also the case during the Great Turf War.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries:
    • No clear judgement can be made on the Inklings properly shown in-game, but a few Sunken Scrolls do depict adult female Inklings with developed mammaries in their humanoid form, with Godiva Hair and conveniently torn areas of the scroll keeping everything E-rated of course.
    • Slightly more obvious with the Octolings, as they are fashioned to look slightly older. The difference in size is enough that characters hacked to play as Octolings will have the peaks of their chests clipping through their clothes.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: In US commercials, the game's title is pronounced as "Sp-LA-Toon", though many other sources pronounce it as "Sp-LUH-Toon".
  • One-Hit KO:
    • A fully charged and direct blast with all chargers (except the Bamboozler 14) will splat players immediately. In a similar fashion, the Blaster's explosive rounds will finish off opponents in one hit if they're hit directly by it.
    • Roller-type weapons will make short work of any Inkling ran over with them. Of course, this is only at melee range. The Carbon Roller lacks the weight to do this, however.
    • Some offensive special weapons will finish off opponents in pretty much the instant they hit; those being the Inkzooka, the Kraken, and the Killer Wail. While it's technically possible to survive that last one after being hit, it requires an almost frame-perfect escape from the edge of the blast. It's possible to survive at the edge of an Inkstrike, but if you're close to ground zero once it falls, say goodnight.
    • In Hero Mode, getting squished by Octostomp or an Octostamp, or chomped by Octomaw, will knock you straight back to the checkpoint without question. DJ Octavio also has the Killer Wail.
  • One-Hit Polykill:
    • Pillars of Ink fired from the Inkzooka and the Rainmaker will keep on trucking after hitting an enemy, making it entirely possible to eliminate an entire enemy team with one careful (or lucky) shot.
    • Using a charger weapon, it's possible to splat two opponents in one shot if one is hit directly and the other happens to be very close behind. Of course, this is easier said than done.
  • One-Man Army: A single Inkling armed only with a "hero suit" takes on the whole Octarian army.
  • 1-Up: In the event that a player in Hero Mode gets splatted in a level, each checkpoint reached grants an extra respawn.
  • One-Word Title: Just Splatoon.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Returning to the final boss level after finishing the campaign has Cap'n Cuttlefish be captured again after DJ Octavio escapes from his snow globe while the Cap'n was out eating crabby cakes. Agents 1 & 2 are stumped.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast:
    • Color Contrast is a big element in Splatoon, and as so these two very contrasting colors are the most featured in the game, from promotional materials, to box art, to the colors of the most featured Inklings (orange girl and blue boy).
    • Enabling color lock mode locks in orange and blue, as it's the ink color pairing that provides the most contrast for most colorblind people.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile:
    • The ink shots that most Octarian soldiers fire are slow enough to outrun.
    • While not too slow, shots from the Rainmaker are still slow enough that they can be escaped at a distance fairly easily, provided you see it coming.
    • The Octosnipers firing pattern is laughably easy to dodge.
  • Painting the Medium: Agent 1 trying to communicate with her radio upside down, which somehow manages to make her unintelligible on the other end, is represented by having her dialogue box shown upside down. The same thing happens to DJ Octavio when he gets knocked back into his giant robot, slamming into it upside-down.
  • Parody of Evolution: Sunken Scroll #10 talks of how the ancient squids moved on land after the extinction of humanity and evolved into the humanoid Inklings, complete with a squid version of "March of Progress".
  • Pirates vs. Ninjas: The Halloween 2015 American Splatfest was themed after this long-standing internet debate. The event's introduction called out the sheer silliness of this "rivalry".
    Callie: It's time to settle a rivalry as old as time itself!
    Marie: Yeah! Wait... What?
  • Play Every Day: The clothing shops change their stock daily, and Spyke can special order only one item per day.
  • Plot Coupons: The Zapfish in Hero Mode must all be collected to progress.
  • 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.
  • Popularity Power: Popularity is one of the factors judged in Splatfests. If there's a large gap between the membership of the teams, the smaller team needs to step up their game and net themselves a good amount more victories over the bigger team. The 2.0.0 update reduced the power of popularity by making the victory percentages be multiplied by 4 instead of 2, and the 2.2.0 update reduced it even further by making it 6 instead of 4.
  • Power Glows: Inklings' "hair" glows with their own color when they can use their special weapon.
  • Product Placement:
    • In Japan:
      • The second and eighth Splatfests featured a promotion from instant noodles brand Maruchan, with the two sides being different types of noodles, soba and udon.
      • The third Splatfest's sponsor was beverage manufacturer Kirin, and the teams were lemon tea vs. milk tea.
      • The sixth Splatfest was sponsored by a Japanese sushi chain, Muten Kurazushi, with the teams being Squid and Octopus.
      • The twelfth Splatfest was based on Dragon Quest, celebrating that series' 30th anniversary. The teams were "go all out" (represented by a Red Slime) and "focus on healing" (represented by a Heal Slime).
      • The thirteenth Splatfest's sponsor was (the Japanese branch of) 7-Eleven, and the two choices were tuna-mayonnaise onigirinote  vs. fermented red salmon onigiri.
      • The fifteenth Splatfest was sponsored by Meiji Dairies, who made the two types of chocolate candies doing battle in the Splatfest: Mushroom Mountain vs. Bamboo Shoot Village.
    • In the U.S., the fourth Splatfest featured Transformers from Hasbro (more specifically the concurrently-running American animated series Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015)), with the teams being Autobots vs. Decepticons.
    • To commemorate the series' 20th anniversary, the second 2016 Splatfest was Pokémon-themed; US and EU got Red vs Blue, whereas JPN got Red vs Green. This is notable for being the first Splatfest with the same theme worldwide.
    • The April 2016 Splatfest for US and EU featured a battle between SpongeBob and Patrick.
    • The May 2016 worldwide Splatfest promoted Nintendo's mobile app, Miitomo.
    • To an extent, the SQUID GIRL and Famitsu clothing lines in all versions of the game.
    • There's two pieces of clothing and a Splat Roller with a CoroCoronote  logo on it.
  • Projectile Pocketing: In the single player mode, power eggs can be collected by shooting at them. This comes in handy for the eggs that are stuck on walls, celilings, or thin rails and poles.
  • 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. Taken Up to Eleven in the Transformers Splatfest, where even when playing for the Decepticons team, a player was still among the "good guys" in the results screen.
  • 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 sea urchin Spyke.
    • Some character pairs get punny Theme Naming. Annie and Moe together make "anemone", and Callie and Marie "calamari".
    • 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.
    • In Booya Base, Jelly Fresh is a play on "jellyfish" and "fresh", and Ammo Knights is named after an extinct marine cephalopod species.
    • Judd judges your matches.
    • The final boss has two puns in one: DJ Octavio references both the musical octave, and the fact that he's an octopus.
  • 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.
  • Rank Inflation: At release there where 9 ranks for Ranked Battles, from C- to A+. Version 2.0.0 added S and S+ on top of those, with the catch that once reaching S rank the player can no longer increase or lose rank via Squad Battles, and instead has to rely on regular Ranked Battles for it.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • One Sunken Scroll shows a music sheet for a song dubbed "the customary chorus of Calamari County", which "may as well be carved into the very DNA of all Inklings". This theme is called "Calamari Inkantation", and it shows up a number of times in various forms; namely, Inkopolis (as the train station's jingle), the credits (as part of the medley), and the final boss's Theme Music Power-Up, which was also used for the second half of the final Callie vs. Marie Splatfest.
    • Just as "Calamari Inkantation" is linked to the Inklings, the Octarians have a 5 note jingle that shows up as the intro of one of the single player themes (the one that plays on the first stage), the level clear fanfare, and remixed as part of the final boss's theme.
  • Regenerating Health: Staying a couple of seconds away from fire will "clean-up" the player and regenerate their health. Swimming on their own ink significantly speeds this process up.
  • Remixed Level:
    • The Octostriker and Octoling-focused maps in Hero Mode take place on altered versions of multiplayer maps. The list  They take place at night and sunset, respectively, except for "Unidentified Flying Object", which is an Octostriker map that takes place at sunset.
    • The Battle Dojo version of Urchin Underpass, much like the Hero Mode version, is based on the original version of the map, making it one of these retroactively after the update.
  • Retraux: The arcade and lobby minigames are all 8-bit style in sound and looks, complete with retro-looking covers. The only exception is the soundtrack for Squid Beatz, since it uses the in-game tracks.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Inklings in both squid and human form are pretty adorable. Their competitive, Totally Radical natures and the upbeat rock-flavored soundtrack keep things from getting too sugary sweet, though.
  • Right Out of My Clothes: Hitting opponents with weapons will make them disappear while leaving their various accessories like headphones behind.
  • Rise to the Challenge: In the Squid Jump minigame, you have to outjump a quickly-rising flood of lethal purple ink.
  • Rocket-Tag Gameplay: Because of the high weapon damage, it only takes a few hits to splat 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 or Mutual Splat scenarios in regular firefights with relative ease.
  • Rubber Hose Limbs: Despite most races around being boneless, the Jellyfish are the only ones who can move their arms around wildly. This is inverted for the other species, who have clearly defined and formed extremities despite the lack of bones.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Players carry three weapons at once - a main weapon, sub weapon, and special weapon. They can equip three pieces of gear - a hat, shirt, and shoes - which can each have up to four stat-boosting abilities on them - one main, and three secondary.
    • Almost all bosses follow the classic Nintendo pattern: Three similar phases that become progresively harder before defeat.
  • Running Gag: Callie's inability to ride a bike, mentioned every so often in the Squid Sisters' banter.
  • Sampling: Several instances of auto-sampling occur. The Squid Sisters took "The Chorus of Calamari County", the song they recorded as children, and interpolated it into their Signature Song, "Calamari Inkantation". A shorter sample of it is featured in "Maritime Memory", which also samples "City of Color". "Fresh Start" samples "Tidal Rush", itself a mash-up of "Bomb Rush Blush", Callie's only solo hit, and "Tide Goes Out", Marie's counterpart.
  • Scatting: Since the Inkling Language is not really a well-defined Conlang the way something like Quenya is, the "lyrics" of all the songs sung in Inkling probably qualify as this, at least when looked at from an out-of-universe perspective.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The Squid amiibo challenges. They feature a number of "limited ink" challengesnote that are often hair-pullingly difficult, mixed randomly with the timed missions, which are some of the easiest challengesnote .
  • 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 a horseshoe crab.
    • In-Universe, the bands featured in the game are formed from creatures like fish, sea cucumbers, and lobsters alongside the more common Inklings.
  • Selective Localisation: The game features differences in dialogue between the North American release and European English release. The PAL version actually has some mild swearing in it due to words like "hell" not being seen as particularly strong swears in Europe (while in North America "hell" might result in the age rating getting bumped to E10+), but at the same time the PAL release is less pun filled than the NTSC version, which loves using puns for almost everything.
  • Self-Deprecation: On a company-wide scale. The official Tumblr post about the N-ZAP '89 takes a shot at the reason why its inspiration came to be.note 
    "Ah yes, the N-ZAP '89. This is quite simply an N-ZAP '85 that was redesigned for… well, definitely not legal reasons. No siree. Nothing to see here. Lawyers definitely did not have anything to do with this."
  • 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 an Inkling of either gender, thanks to the sports underclothes worn by all Inklings.
  • Sequel Hook: Cap'n' Cuttlefish hints at something to come when you talk to him after beating Hero Mode:
    Cap'n' Cuttlefish: There be a storm a-brewin'... I feel it in my cuttles!
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • More of a scripted example, but playing the multiplayer first, getting new gear (clothes mainly) and going to Octo Valley, will play the single player intro cutscene with your starting gear, rather than your current gear. Which sort of makes sense, since single-player is supposed to get people used to the game.
    • You can skip "World 4" of the singleplayer with a well-placed jump. You can clear all stages of "World 5" (in spite of the "zapfish remaining" count not moving) and eventually access the final boss. And once you do, the story proceeds as if you cleared all the worlds normally. Current Splatoon speedruns are expected to use this trick for the fastest times.
  • Sequential Boss: The Final Boss of the single player campaign has 5 stages, each of them adding a new weapon to his arsenal and stepping up the platforming challenge.
  • 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.
  • Serious Business:
    • Ink battles are a big part of Inkling society, records showing they have existed since as early as the beginning of their civilization thousands of years ago, at least. Inklings come from all over to take part on these events, and Callie and Marie even mention they have entire classes in school solely dedicated to them.
    • Splatfest is this for many players. There is a good reason why people call it "Saltfest". Players will often dismiss their own personal preferences in favor of picking the side more likely to win, sore losers will complain about the results, sore winners will engage in Unsportsmanlike Gloating for days afterwards, and some have even called for permanent bans for the losing side.
  • Shooting Superman: Downplayed. While Krakens and Bubbler beneficiaries are immune to damage from fire, both suffer knockback (the Kraken after 1.3.0, the Bubbler since the beginning) when shot at. It is possible to push one out-of-bounds with a weapon that has the range and fire rate to support it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shows Damage: Damaged Inklings, as well as Octarians, will be covered in enemy ink until they are splatted or Regenerating Health kicks in.
  • Smoldering Shoes: A splatted Inkling will explode, leaving behind only their clothes (and weapon).
  • Sniper Duel: In addition to two or more snipers on opposite teams facing each other in online matches, each of the Inkling Girl amiibo challenges require you to play Hero Mode stages use the Hero Charger, a sniping weapon. Naturally, any stage that features Octosnipers as an enemy are included.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic:
    • The music jumps up a pitch when reaching the Final Checkpoint in a single player mission.
    • When one minute remains on the timer in a Turf War match, the song changes from the usual random soundtrack to the track "Now Or Never", a faster-paced song that lasts about a minute, finishing right when time's up. It can be interpreted also as a Near Victory (or Defeat) Fanfare.
  • Sound Test: The Squid Beatz minigame is an odd example: you can toggle between the actual game and a regular sound test with a single button.
  • Speaking Simlish:
    • The "squid language" is a bunch of gibberish, though some of the things characters say sound like garbled English and Japanese vocalizations, such as with Callie and Marie's "Staaay Fresh!"
    • Most of the game's soundtrack consists of songs sung in the gibberish squid language, particularly the online battle themes. While Hero Mode generally uses instrumental tracks, a vocal song is used to great effect during the final boss.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Successor: Splatfest to both the Wii's Everybody Votes Channel and Conquest in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Everybody can vote and fight for popularity, although there was no fighting in Everybody Votes Channel
  • 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.
    • There are pieces of equipment that can boost the players' movement speed. Walking speed and squid speed are considered separate stat boosts, although even with max walking speed boosts it's still not quite as fast as standard squid movement.
    • The Inkbrush allows the user to move very quickly while it's deployed, moving slightly slower than a swimming squid. This is to make up for its narrow area of effect, since it only draws a charger-width line. Most Rollers have a minor boost to speed, but not as much as the brush.
  • 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 one shot.
    • Roller-type paint weapons play this trope less straight as they're rolled along the ground and swung like a hammer, but can be seen as this game's equivalent to shotguns or flamethrowers: powerful, but with limited range. The Brush variations of this type are "rolled" faster and when swung, operate more like swords or other melee weapons, with fast swing time and even less range.
    • Splatling-type weapons are gatling guns that function like a mix between Chargers and Shooters. They have a windup time like the former, but at max charge can shoot rapidly like a Shooter, with range that can rival that of some Chargers.
    • Slosher-type weapons are akin to shotguns, but with a more generous range (about half that of chargers) and since the paint from them is thrown in an arc, it can go over walls.
    • For the sub-weapon options, most of them actually avert this, having unconventional effects. There are exceptions to this however in the form of the Splat Bomb, which is basically just the ink version of a standard hand grenade-Caltrop hybrid; the Suction Bomb, which is the ink version of a sticky bomb; and the Ink Mine, which is the ink version of a proximity mine.
  • Standard Snippet: The single-player track "Cephaloparade" samples "A-Hunting We Will Go" (the trumpet fanfare first heard at the 26 second mark).
  • 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.
  • Stealthy Cephalopod: Both the Inklings and Octolings have the ability to hide in their ink to keep hidden from enemies. The Ninja Squid skill that can be on clothing takes this Up to Eleven as no trail will show when the wearer is hidden.
  • Sticky Bomb: Suction Bombs are bombs resembling spray-paint cans that can stick to any surface using a suction cup under it and explode after a set time. A few weapon sets give a Grenade Spam version of these as a special weapon.
  • 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!"
  • Studio Chatter: At the beginning of Shy-Ho-Shy's demo version of the Squid Sisters' "City of Color", you can hear Shy-Ho-Shy clearing her throat.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Inklings are splatted 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.
  • Super Mode: The Kraken super weapon is essentially a temporary superpowered version of the Inkling's squid form. Invincible, it creates its own trail of ink to swim on, and it's capable of finishing off opponents in a single hit.
  • Surprise Creepy: The world of Splatoon turns out to be distantly post-apocalyptic, set long after the rising sea levels ended the human race.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • The description for the N-ZAP '89 says "Ah yes, the N-ZAP '89. This is quite simply an N-ZAP '85 that was redesigned for… well, definitely not legal reasons. No siree. Nothing to see here. Lawyers definitely did not have anything to do with this."
    • Splatoon's official Tumblr page has a suspicious denial that Cap'n Cuttlefish edited his own page on the site.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • Some of Callie and Marie's commentaries on the maps poke fun at classic shooter player's reactions over stuff like supposedly overpowered weapons and "my team is always bad" syndrome.
      [Port Mackerel]
      Callie: Going up against Blasters in this place can be scary.
      Marie: They can splat you around corners! It's totally OP!

      [Walleye Warehouse]
      Callie: My team is always terrible on this stage!
      Marie: Yeah, "your team" is terrible.
    • One of the Sunken Scrolls depicts a fossilized human playing a Wii U. Said fossilized human is described as "likely primitive, with little intelligence." Granted, that's more of an assumption by them over our small heads, but it's still funny.
  • Take Your Time: At the beginning of the game, the Great Zapfish that provides power to the city is captured. However, no matter how long you put off rescuing it, the city will never actually lose power. Lampshaded by Marie, who is in no big panic.
  • Temporary Online Content: You unlock songs for the rhythm game minigame by simply hearing them, but there are three songs that only play during Splatfests. So if you got the game or the amiibo that unlocks the rhythm game after Splatfests were done running, the songs were impossible to unlock. The sequel has even more Splatfest-exclusive songs and its rhythm game is built-in rather than tied to an amiibo, but it was ultimately averted this time via an update that unlocked Splatfest-exclusive songs for everyone.
  • Tennis Boss: Each phase of the final boss is finished by reflecting a humongous missile back and forth until it explodes in someone's face, be it the player or the boss. It should be noted that this boss doesn't have the courtesy to hold on to his other weaponry during this tennis match, so better keep an eye out for everything else plus the giant missile.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The introduction to the American Pirates vs. Ninjas Splatfest had the following exchange between the Squid Sisters.
    Callie: It's time to swab the deck and plunder the booty!
    Marie: Whoa there, Callie. Let's keep it E for Everyone.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: For the final form of the final boss fight, the music is replaced with one of the Squid Sisters' hit singles, "Calamari Inkantation", which happens to be a Cover Version of a song that's described as the theme of the Inklings as a whole. This theme also replaces "Ink Me Up" as the Splatfest battle theme for the second half of the Callie vs. Marie Splatfest.
    "Radio override activated!"
  • Title Drop: "Splatoon" is the term for the most basic form of Inkling military units, and was used to refer to the combat teams who took part in the Great Turf War a century ago (and the title gets dropped most obviously in Sunken Scroll 14, which shows Cuttlefish's old splatoon). Cap'n Cuttlefish was part of the Squidbeak Splatoon, and recruits the player/Agent 3 as a member of the New Squidbeak Splatoon in single player. By extention, the teams in the Turf War sport are also refered as "splatoons".
  • 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. Of course, if we take the game's backstory into consideration, there is a chance that Inkopolis is Tokyo.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Super Sea Snails, again, after the final Splatfest. It's the only free(-ish) way to reroll your stats, and the only way period if you're under level 20—but why ever use them if you're never going to get any more?
  • Totally Radical:
    • Going with the '90s Genre Throwback, late '90s and early 2000s slang is everywhere in this game.
    • The North American announcement for the Snowman Vs. Sandcastle Splatfest has Callie overusing mid-2010s slangnote  (and Marie lampshading it):
      Callie: Team Snowbae is so fleek I literally can't even! It's cray. Like... crayfish cray.
      Marie: ...I was gonna go snowman too, but after that...
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The music in singleplayer levels (not counting boss fights) jumps up a pitch when entering the final checkpoint.
  • 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.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: As the Sunken Scrolls depict, Sheldon looks almost identical to his grandfather.
  • Unstable Equilibrium:
    • Winning allows players to gain perks on their clothes faster via the 300p victory bonus, slightly easing gameplay in further matches. This becomes a non-issue once gear is maxed out, however.
    • The game as a whole lends itself to this due to being territory based as well - a winning team will have more area to work with (and thus use to heal and outmaneuver opponents) and will be able to keep the pressure on with super jumps without losing momentum from individual losses, whereas a losing team will spend much of their time defending and reclaiming the same territory before they can push forward. However, the losing team will also be able to charge up their Specials faster due to having more turf to cover, potentially allowing for comebacks.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Sort of. You can't salvage Octoshots (from Octolings) in Hero Mode as you have your own Hero Shot anyway, but you can obtain the Octoshot Replica (which behaves exactly like the Tentatek Splattershot) for use in multiplayer after reaching level 40.
  • Unusual User Interface: The final boss makes use of a quite bizarre one. DJ Octavio controls his Humongous Mecha with turntables that are scratched with wasabi roots.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Echolocators and Point Sensors can be deadly support tools for revealing enemy locations for almost 10 seconds at a time... unless they have the Cold-Blooded ability, which halves their effect on the opponent. On the flipside, the Cold-Blooded ability is useless if the enemy team doesn't have any means of revealing the player's location.
    • The Bomb Range Up ability affects how far you can toss bombs, Point Sensors, and Disruptors. The Seeker, Ink Mines, and Squid Beakon are not throwable however, Sprinklers don't benefit at all, and Splash Walls are not intended to travel very far to begin with.
    • The Damage Up ability can't increase attack power if doing so would reduce the number of hits needed to splat someone at full health. While weapons with high power get a sizable boost, which might allow them to splat damaged enemies more quickly, weapons with low power barely benefit at all.
  • 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.
    • In the tutorial zone, a downbeat remix of the main theme plays. As the player progresses further into the area and gets closer to Inkopolis, more instruments are gradually added to the song.
    • Booyah Base's theme changes background beats depending on which of the 4 stores the player's in.
    • In Octo Valley, the background music gradually evolves and adds layers of instruments the further towards the end you get.
    • In Octoling Assault and UFO stages, the music builds up when battling against enemies.
    • The final boss's theme drops out some instruments at the beginning of the fight and whenever it launches a missile.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • While ridiculously minor, you can harass the seagulls on Saltspray Rig by trying to shoot at them.
    • There are players in public Turf Wars who barely throw out any ink, if any, and instead just "feed" the opponents by walking into enemy fire, dropping into water, or jumping out of bounds, effectively making them dead weight in the Turf War — this is as debilitating as it sounds, since every match has four inklings per team at most.
  • 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.
  • Visual Pun: Spyke the sea urchin is... a Street Urchin.
  • 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. Performing a super jump also creates an icon visible to all players, unless you have the Stealth Jump ability. This can mean warping to the back of the enemy's base for easy inking... or jumping into the wrong end of a firefight.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Killer Wail pretty much amounts to this in battle: A huge stream of pure destruction that will obliterate any hapless hostile Inkling in its way.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Krakens are powerful monsters of a special weapon that can easily deal with any unprepared opponent... unless they're standing over a grate, that is. Like the regular squid form, Krakens simply fall through grates. Best case scenario they just fall to a lower area. Worst case scenario their desperate chase makes them fall straight into the water.
  • Weapon Across the Shoulder: Inklings with roller-type weapons strike this pose in the victory screen.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The Inklings and the Octarians used to live in harmony before territory started to become scarce.
  • Wham Line: Several in the sunken scrolls throughout Octo Valley:
    • Scroll #10, the first to reveal that the previous surface life went extinct long ago.
    • Scroll #22 shows the Inkling society has launched their own Voyager Golden Record into space.
    • Scrolls #25 and #27 tell the origin of Judd, the last living remnant of the past age.
    • Scroll #26 confirms the Splatoon world is "our" Earth via a 12,000-year old human fossil (with a Wii U).
  • 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. It's actually managing to be a critical and commercial darling despite this.
  • Wiki Vandal: Parodied. The Splatoon Tumblr page has a Suspiciously Specific Denial about Cap'n Cuttlefish writing his own entry.
  • A Winner Is You: The Game Pad minigames, being what they are, don't really end with anything more than a "Congratulations!" message and looping back to the start. You don't even get to keep your score.
  • Worldbuilding: The Inkling and Octarian society is quite complex, with many details about the world 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; with the most prominent characters being the shapeshifting Inklings. One notable detail is that there's a grand total of one true mammal on the cast (Judd the cat); everyone else in the game is, at best, a vertebrate fish, and most are nonvertebrates. This is a little unusual compared to most examples of the trope, especially since Splatoon doesn't take place underwater (although most of the cast/creature types can look more or less like mammalian humans).
  • World of Pun: Puns are absolutely everywhere in this world. Sea life punsExplanation , squid puns; if it can be made a pun, chances are high it'll be made one. Even Judd the Cat gets in on the fun with cat puns of his own.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Surprisingly uncommon, considering the whole 90's vibe the game's going for. Regardless, this shows up with the minigame Squid Beatz.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Callie works this into a pun in the results of the American "Art vs. Science" Splatfest.
    Callie: Thou ART defeated! Ha!
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: An irritatingly common and preventable way to die is to go into squid form on top of a grating, forgetting that 1. gratings can't be inked and 2. you'll pass through the grating, causing you to most likely fall into water or a Bottomless Pit.
  • Youkai: Huge statues of a kitsune and a tanuki sit atop two buildings opposite each other in Inkopolis Plaza.
  • You Mean "Xmas": "Squidmas" is brought up a few times, being mentioned by the Squid Sisters when re-fighting DJ Octavio, being the main theme of the North American Splatfest "Naughty vs. Nice", and as an aside when the European Splatfest "North Pole vs. South Pole" was introduced:
    Callie: [...]Don't you want to go visit Father Squidmas? I'm voting for the North Pole!
    Marie: You know Father Squidmas is just Gramps, right?
    Callie: Hmph, you can believe what you want. It's your fault if you get a lump of coral for Squidmas!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Splatoon 1


Splatoon - Heavy Splatling

The Heavy Splatling is a six-barreled Gatling gun that can be charged up to unleash a rapid-fire barrage of ink on your foes.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / GatlingGood

Media sources: