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E3 preview: 'Splatoon' might be Nintendo's best new IP in a generation

Nintendo's Splatoon manages to capture that first-sight magic of classic Nintendo IPs
Nintendo's Splatoon manages to capture that first-sight magic of classic Nintendo IPs

Splatoon for the Nintendo Wii U


Donkey Kong. Super Mario Bros. The Legend of Zelda. Metroid. Super Mario Kart. Super Smash Bros.

If Nintendo has managed to do one thing right over the decades it is their uncanny resume for creating some of the most iconic characters and game concepts in video game history. One would be hard pressed to find a gamer of any generation that couldn't point out at least one or two of Nintendo's original creations as having left a lasting impact in their lives.

While follow-ups to previously successful franchises dominated most of the E3 2014 Nintendo booth headlines, Splatoon might be a game that defines the current Nintendo generation.

The game manages to capture the charm and personality felt with the first outings of now-classic original Nintendo IPs. You are an Inkling, a half-human and half-squid on a mission to capture as much map area as possible using a variety of messy ink weapons. By this concept alone, Splatoon manages to bring back the classic element of bygone titles such as Q*bert, Qix and Make Trax that are based in capturing screen area as the main objective of the game.

Two teams of four battle for paint splatter supremacy across the map, aiming to cover as much of the ground area of the map in their team's ink color as possible. When ink supplies run low there is no trip to Office Depot required. Simply turn into squid form and dip down into the ink to refill your weapon. The player can also move around more quickly in squid form by moving through their ink color, a feature that is vital when required to quickly flee enemies or to give back-up to your teammates, especially after a respawn.

Splattering the walls is also possible but does nothing to help your team win. However, wall splatters can be used to hide from enemy players that may be coming to your location. Don't lay in wait for too long, however, as there is a time limit on the match-ups and this time shouldn't be wasted by laying in ambush while your enemies are busy covering ground area with their ink weapons.

If you do see an enemy nearby, splatter them with your ink weapons and force them to the original spawn point, but watch for their teammates nearby.

Splatoon manages to keep to the golden rule of retro video games without having to tap into a retro style to do so. The game can be picked up and played with minimal tutorial time yet requires a number of games to truly begin to master the strategy and timing. It manages to avoid being overwhelming or too hardcore yet still manages to avoid seeming too casual as well, which should appeal to video game fans of all generations and levels. By doing this, the game manages to recapture the same feel and magic that made their original titles from the Nintendo and Super Nintendo generations so timeless.

Currently, Splatoon is slated for a release in the first quarter of 2015 and stands as one of several titles Nintendo showed off at E3 2014 that should be of a tremendous help to increasing sales of the Wii U console.