Splatoon isn't only the first new franchise from Nintendo in a long while, it's also really, really fun. It might not be perfect, but it's a blast to play, especially with friends beside you or online, and it's a "must-have" title for Nintendo Wii U owners with a penchant for combat. The controls take a bit of getting used to, especially on the Wii U GamePad, but before you know it you'll be running around creatively designed levels -- with a lot of verticality -- as you and your teammates tackle enemy Inklings using all sorts of paint-spraying weapons, such as machine guns, bombs, turrets, and more. You'll need to pop balloons when they show up, find new places to hide or to use as a vantage point to peg off enemies, and ensure you're covering as much of the world in your dedicated color -- all while the other guys are doing the same.
If you can pardon the pun, you should get your feet wet by playing the single-player game against an evil octopus army, but the real fun begins when you go head to head with someone beside you, via split screen, or against online friends in the up to four-on-four battle areas. Playing over the Internet also is rewarding, as you'll unlock new environments, weapons, and gear for your Inklings. It's here you'll really unleash your abilities such as painting walls to climb them for a better view of the action, swimming with serious speed to another side of the level (provided it's covered in your paint color), or popping out of the ink to surprise unsuspecting enemies. Unfortunately, the multiplayer matches lack maps and modes -- something that's supposed to come in a future download -- plus there's no option to chat (and thus strategize) with others in online play. Also, the gyroscope option isn't very intuitive (good thing you can change it in the settings). But overall, Splatoon no doubt will be a hit among kids and kids at heart looking for a fun, family friendly, and messy third-person shooter.