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Thursday, May 26, 2022

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Splatoon features Nintendo's best use of amiibo yet


Day one DLC is a tricky thing. If it’s too good, people will howl that it should have been in the stand alone game at launch. If it sucks, then you can bet your sweet bippy that dogs will hunt. All of that goes triple for anything amiibo related. Those little plastic things make a lot of people very emotional. Maybe it’s something in the paint.

Still, I don’t think anyone is going to be pissed off about the amiibo-exclusive content in Splatoon. It offers just the right balance of new fun and superfluous fluff. Scanning in the inkling boy amiibo opens up 15 stages from the game’s standard campaign mode, but instead of being armed with a gun, you’re given a slightly modified version of the roller weapon from multiplayer. All of these stages appear exactly as they do in the regular campaign, but being armed with an item that has very little range but does big melee damage demands you to tackle them in a new way.

For every three stages you complete, you open up a boss fight. Again, the fights themselves are not new, but facing them with the roller will force you to devise new strategies. Beating a boss unlocks a weapon, piece of clothing, or a mini-game. The mini-game is probably the most interesting (and fun) of those five unlockables, as it delivers all new game design concepts. The weapons and clothes are cool for bragging rights, but they are more-or-less variations on stuff you can get in the main game. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they are as useless as a gold Mario amiibo, but I’m also pretty confident that people won’t feel like they’re being deprived if they decide to skip them.

So good job Nintendo. I went into Splatoon with cautious optimism, and so far, my expectations have been exceeded in nearly every way, amiibo or otherwise.

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