Splatoon preview: Going 4 v 4 in Nintendo's mad new multiplayer skirmish
You can trust Nintendo to pull some mad cap games out of the bag during E3 each more, perhaps more so than its major rivals. However, once we saw Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One we thought Insomniac and Microsoft had stolen the thunder on the bonkers front.
That was, of course, before we saw and played Splatoon, the new intellectual property headed by Japanese gaming genius Shigeru Miyamoto. And like all of his games, it mixes that hint of oddity with utterly addictive gameplay.
Splatoon feels like Nintendo's answer to Call of Duty. While the company has relaxed its laws on violent multiplayer games in more recent times, especially for its Wii U console, they are not likely to come from the Japanese giant itself. Instead, it has always focused on games that sit comfortably with parents as much as they do with gamers of all ages.
Splatoon is an archetypal Nintendo game therefore. It offers four versus four multiplayer skirmish action, albeit in third-person rather first, yet layers on coat and coat of cutesy paint. Literally, in fact.
The idea of the game, and specifically the three skirmishes we played in during our E3 try out, is that you are thrust into a battleground armed not with an M4A1 carbine assault rifle but a paint sprayer and limited supply of paint in your team's colour. You must then spray paint around the floor of the level as much as humanly possible, with the rival team doing the same.
The team that manages to cover the most ground by a set time limit wins the round and that's it - sounds simple, huh?
What adds to the action is that you can respray ground in the other team's colour and that you can turn into a squid. Yep, there's Miyamoto's influence right there.
When as a squid, you can swim in your own team's paint/ink and move more quickly. Also, while you are swimming, the other team can't hurt you and you restock your own paint reserves. It takes a little to get used to switching from one form factor to the other, but once sussed it becomes and incredible enticing experience.
You might not be blowing chucks out of your opponents, but catching them with a paint bomb is equally satisfying. And apart from the fact that you must hold the Wii U GamePad up to look around and aim, it feels familiar enough to other first-person shooters to happily satisfy fans of the genre.
We can't wait to find out about the other game modes when the game nears its release date. Sadly, that will be a while as it is not expected to hit the market until the "first half of 2015".