Nintendo may not have the largest presence at this year’s PAX East, but that hasn’t stopped them from drawing large crowds of people vying for a shot at playing Splatoon. The game had a full queue almost immediately once the doors opened to the general public, but I was able to get a couple games in before lines became unmanageable. While the amount of things to see and do is limited in the demo, it already feels ready for its May release date.
The demo consisted of a basic game of 4 on 4 wet paint action. Mercifully, there was a short tutorial to pick up and try out the controls before the actual rounds start. Splatoon doesn’t feel like it will be a particularly hard game to pick up and play, but there is certainly a lot to keep track of once a game begins. First and foremost, the point of the game is to cover the ground with your respective team’s colored goo. As one of the Nintendo reps demoing the game routinely had to point out to players, painting the walls does very little – it does not impact your team’s score at all, and is mainly only used for getting to higher locations.
One of the more unique aspects of Splatoon is the ability to turn into a squid, which can swim through your team’s paint, or slowly on land if you feel like wasting everyone’s time. If you have any inclination to be good at the game, this wrinkle in gameplay is most useful for backing away when you are about to be killed and explode the opposing teams paint all over your current position.
Being that this was a quick in-and-out experience, there wasn’t the option to turn off the gyroscopic controls, which is kind of a letdown. They are clearly going to take some getting used to, and when using them at first it doesn’t feel natural. Even with the general purpose of the game not necessitating a large amount of accuracy, moving the right joystick as opposed to tilting the entire controller fills more natural. Luckily, when the game actually launches, there will be that option.
Nintendo is also showing off some 3DS games – both recently released, and soon to be released. The main headliner in the 3DS department is Codename: S.T.E.A.M, which releases in just a week. Also playing on the New 3DS XL systems brought by Nintendo was Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Majora’s Mask 3D, and Xenoblade Chronicles 3D.
While not an official Nintendo booth, the upcoming Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition and its developer, GungHo Entertainment, has its own large booth, complete with dancing Mario and Luigi.