Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Cooperative play fosters a sense of camaraderie, while group versus modes encourage both teamwork and friendly competition.
Positive Role Models
The player's customizable avatar doesn't speak, but through their actions players get a sense they just want to have some fun, look good, and maybe help out their friends a little. They're good sports when they lose, not too arrogant when they win.
Characters/avatars are humanoid rather than human. There's a mix of genders and skin tones, though a non-player character named Sheldon plays into East Asian stereotypes with buck teeth and oversized, thick glasses.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Ease of Play
Third-person shooter controls are traditional and intuitive, and in-game tutorials walk players through the basics of each mode. Success online demands a fair bit of practice but also depends on the skill of human teammates and competitors.
Violence & Scariness
Third-person shooter using guns, bows, swords, and other traditional weapons, but the ammunition is paint, not bullets or bombs. That means there's no death, gore, or blood. When foes are defeated, they momentarily "splat," popping into colorful paint before quickly respawning.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
This is the third entry in a popular game franchise that has resulted in spinoff paraphernalia, including toys, clothes, and manga. Additional digital content will become available to purchase over the course of the game's life cycle.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Splatoon 3 is a third-person shooter for Switch. Players take on the role of Inklings or Octolings -- squid-like humanoids -- who inhabit a post-human world, battling each other with paint guns for fun. Fighting in teams, players try to cover as much of the arena with their color of paint as possible before time runs out. They can also "splat" other players by covering them with paint, making them pop and then quickly respawn. There's no death, blood, or gore in the game. Players are encouraged to cooperate and work as a team to succeed, and experience a bit of friendly competition taking on rival squads. You can create your own avatar, selecting from skin tones, clothing, and masculine, feminine, or neutral physical features, but parents should note that one of the non-player characters -- Sheldon -- is depicted as an East Asian stereotype due to his buck teeth and oversized, thick eyewear. Know, as well, that Nintendo has announced that it will be promoting digital content purchases over the game's life cycle.
Is It Any Good?
Casual players may see this sequel as simply more of the same, but keen fans will immediately notice that it's loaded with fun additions and improvements that augment and enhance the now familiar core experience. For example, Splatoon 3 plops players in a lobby arena where they can try out weapons and strategies as other players are added to the game -- a great alternative to just sitting and staring at a wall of player names. It also lets you skip those annoying news reports that pop up when you start the game, and adds a customizable locker for kids to deck out with stickers and gear, just like in school. Add in plenty of fun new weapons -- such as the Splatana Wiper, which is essentially a paint-flinging sword in the shape of a windshield wiper -- and Smallfry, a fishy little helper who can be tossed to activate devices and damage enemies in the story mode, and there's no shortage of fun new tactics to learn.
One of the coolest -- and completely original -- additions, though, is the deck-building mini-game Tableturf Battle. Players can collect more than 100 cards, each of which acts as a colored tile to be placed in a Turf War arena. Your goal, as in Turf War, is to cover more of the arena's space with your color than your opponent does with theirs, strategically placing cards to both maximize points and unlock special abilities that can permit some great late-game comebacks when properly exploited. Some players might have hoped that Nintendo would mix things up a little more in terms of mechanics and play modes (like a split-screen mode for playing with friends on a couch rather than forcing each player to have their own Switch and copy of the game), but there's still plenty of new stuff here to explore and master, with weeks and months worth of leveling, all-new Splatfest community competitions, and loads of unlockables. Splatoon 3 may be more iterative than revolutionary, but it's still fun enough that most complaints are just sour grapes.
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.