There’s another free Splatoon play session coming for those anxious to check out Nintendo’s upcoming arena battle game ahead of release.
Nintendo of America, confirmed another online session for Splatoon in a message this week on its public Twitter account. According to the message, this latest Splatoon beta of sorts will begin on May 23rd. The company is encouraging users to download a digital copy of the game from the Nintendo Wii U eShop ahead of the event since the session itself will only last an hour, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time.
Game developers creating an online multiplayer experience typically like to let users get some time with their titles before they officially launch. This allows users to provide feedback over any lingering issues. It’s also a good chance for the developers itself to shore up any connectivity issues. What’s unique here is that this is another free Splatoon testing opportunity. Lately video game developers have forced users to pre-order their titles before they can participate in any early beta festivities. For example, pre-ordering Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is the only way to participate in Activision’s planned Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) May 15, 2015
In Splatoon you’re a squid. Armed with a few different weapons, it’s your team’s job to cover as much surface area as you can find with your colored ink. Ink blasters and even giant rollers help you do the task while staying true to your play style. Covering vertical surfaces, like walls, is just as important as covering each level’s horizontal surfaces. Transforming back into a squid allows your character to pick up more ink and move to another area they’ve already covered in ink quickly. Splatoon is as much about teamwork and strategy as any mainstream first-person shooter game, which is its true brilliance. Nintendo seems to have finally made an arena shooter that anyone can feel comfortable playing, even if they aren’t comfortable with guns and violence.
The final version of Splatoon will cost $60 on store shelves and in the Nintendo eShop when it launches on May 29th. Best Buy will offer an exclusive Wii U Splatoon bundle for $299 at many of its stores and its website.
Splatoon could be a catalyst, the spark that the Wii U needs for shoppers in the United States and abroad to actually notice the console. Despite launching only a year before the Xbox One and the PS4, the Wii U technically qualifies as Nintendo’s answer to the Xbox 360 and PS3. It’s far more powerful than the original Wii was, but it’s internals aren’t in the same league as what the now current generation consoles offer.
To offset that disadvantage Nintendo was counting on two things: the WiiPad controller and a decent selection of games that users can’t get anywhere else. The WiiPad is a giant controller with a touchscreen embedded in the center. Gamers can use the WiiPad itself to play games if their television is being used by someone else. The WiiPad also acts as an easy way to browse things in games like character inventory. Splatoon uses the WiiPad as a quick way for users to see areas of the map they haven’t covered with their team’s colored ink. Depending on who you ask, the WiiPad hasn’t exactly lived up to its promise.
As for unique games players can’t get anywhere else, Nintendo seems to have delivered on that promise. Mario Kart 8 and a new edition Super Smash Bros helped to revive Wii U sales last year. There’s high hopes that Splatoon will do the same this year.