Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Splatoon Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Multiplayer-based shooter sprays paint, fun on battlefield.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 34 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Harmless paint-blasting fun, without any positive or negative messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gamers control colorful characters called Inklings, who can change between humanoid, squid forms. You're tasked with painting a level a particular color, popping balloons, taking out enemies.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, but gyroscopic controls for looking around (on by default) take getting used to. Easier to turn them off.


Players shoot paint out of gun-like weapons, toss bombs full of paint, and more. Not realistic at all, but combat might concern some parents.


Will have DLC (downloadable content), but Nintendo says added content will be free. Supports amiibo characters, purchased separately.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Splatoon is a third-person shooter, with a strong focus on multiplayer, but it's very colorful and cartoon-like. Players can use paint guns and bombs to take down enemies, who disappear and respawn back into the game. Parents also should know their kids might ask about buying action figure-like amiibo characters to use in the game, but they're not mandatory for gameplay. The gyroscopic controls of the gamepad can potentially frustrate players, but they can be turned off. Players can challenge others online, but there's no online communication available.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPennDisneyCEO June 7, 2015

Splatoon Review - All the fresh details

To begin, the game itself is great, and not bad at all in terms of graftifcs or sounds, or in purpose is the ink that runs the game and the main characters bein... Continue reading
Adult Written bynilmer. June 5, 2015

Splatoon is awesome

I think Splatoon is a very good game for the Wii U. It is a shooter, but you shoot paint, so it is really not violent at all. There aren't really any messa... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 21, 2017

Good but Imperfect, my old review below is a garbage rant because I suck at the game.

The first half hour of playing this game I saw like "WOW THIS IS SO FUN!!!". The next half hour I was like "Okay, this is getting boring". A... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 23, 2016

The best game to ever exist in the world

Behind what looks like an uninteresting kids game lies a gripping, intense shooter. Parents don't get you COD? This is 100x better. Imagine innovation and... Continue reading

What's it about?

SPLATOON is a third-person action game for the Nintendo Wii U that lets you use paint as a weapon in solo or team-based matches. You get to choose what kind of Inkling you want to be, along with which weapon to wield. You're tasked with painting a level your particular color, as well as popping balloons, targeting enemy Inklings, painting walls (which lets you climb them), and choosing the right time and place to change from humanoid to squid form, which temporarily makes you vulnerable as you submerge yourself in ink to suck up more ammunition. You can take on the game's artificial intelligence (A.I.) in a solo campaign, playing against someone beside you on the same TV, or fighting online against other humans in up to four-on-four battles. Though not mandatory, the game also supports Nintendo's amiibo characters -- physical action-figure-like toys -- which add new gear, challenges, and abilities to your character (Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl and Inkling Squid) -- when placed on the Wii U GamePad.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Splatoon. Even though the violence isn't realistic, and you shoot paint instead of bullets and bombs, should the game be rated "Teen" instead of "Everyone 10+"? Will kids who play this game develop a taste for shooters and soon crave more adult-like entertainment?

  • If you could turn into anything you wanted, what would it be? Why? Would you need something to trigger this ability, like the Inklings do with paint?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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