A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Harmless paint-blasting fun, without any positive or negative messages.
Positive Role Models
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Will have DLC (downloadable content), but Nintendo says added content will be free. Supports amiibo characters, purchased separately.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.