A splat in the right direction

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Image: Nintendo Life

Splatoon 3 came out back in September and we’ve been having a great time with it ever since. While the list of tweaks and additions in this threequel was long, and the mechanics have never been smoother, there were some out there (us included, to an extent) who felt that the series’ third entry was good, but essentially more of the same goodness that we saw in Splatoon 2.

With the announcement of the game’s first major update and the beginning of Chill Season 2022, all eyes and tentacles have been on the Splatlands to find out whether Nintendo could keep the game swimming forwards or whether this ink would be drying up.

Chill Season is now upon us, and the result can’t really be said to be either one of the aforementioned scenarios. The additions are fun and plentiful (seriously, there are a lot of changes here — just check out the patch notes) but do they add anything really fresh?

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Peak squid performance

We’ve been trying out all of this new content and below we assess what it brings to the table.

New Game Modes – Big Run and X Battles

Beginning with the meatiest additions to the game, Chill Season 2022 has brought with it two new game modes, both of which promise to build on the standardised rules that we had before.

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Image: Nintendo

Kicking it all off is Big Run, a variation on the classic Salmon Run mode, which has you splatting pesky Salmonids of varying sizes all while trying to collect Power Eggs in your little string basket.

We have all had fun with Salmon Run over the past three months, and Big Run looks to continue this. There is an extra element of risk this time around — the Salmonids descend on our home turf rather than us flying out to a remote island — and the mode will be played as more of a Splatfest-style event instead of the continuous games that we have seen up until this point, guaranteed to bring a bonus sense of racing against the clock.

While we will have to wait until 10th December before the first Big Run event kicks off, the addition promises to add some more variety to the game and encourage us to come back for specific events.

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Image: Nintendo Life

The other mode joining Splatoon 3 is X Battles. If you are thinking that you might remember a similarly-named event in Splatoon 2, you would be right. X Battles are now in Splatoon 3 and add a sense of competition for the best of the best.

This is effectively an Anarchy Battle layout with the added twist of only those who are S+0 Rank and above can enter — the eel-ite splatters, if you will. Despite his best efforts, this writer is nowhere near the kingly rank of those who are able to enter this game mode. We appreciate the fact that carrying X Battles over to Splatoon 3 keeps the competition fierce even with the highest skills (a definite thumbs up in our book), though our own abilities put us a tidy way away from getting to ink with the big squids for the moment.

New Stages – Brinewater Springs, Flounder Heights and Marooner’s Bay

Next up are the brand new stages which have entered Turf War, Anarchy Battles and Salmon Run with the introduction of the season.

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Image: Nintendo

Firstly we have Brinewater Springs, a brand new course full of varying levels and sneaky back passages. After taking this stage for a spin in a number of different capacities (Turf War, Rainmaker and Splat Zones), we must say it currently stacks up as one of the game’s best.

The different levels allow for extremely varying styles of play from all weapon classes (a well-aimed Charger is dynamite on this one) and we are having fun getting to grips with the best routes to take and secret zones to splat. It feels like being back at launch again playing in Scorch Gorge for the first time again, and that is a big bonus.

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Image: Nintendo

The same can honestly be applied to the update’s second new stage: Flounder Heights. This is another returning one after first appearing in Splatoon, which might not measure up to the highs of Brinewater Springs but is a nice blast from the past nonetheless. There are plenty of inkable walls in this one to propel you into the throes of battle above and, again, a good level (pun intended) of raised ground to make weapon choice all the more important. Keep watching the skies.

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Image: Nintendo

Salmon Run has also been treated to a new stage as a part of the update in the shape of Splatoon 2’s Marooner’s Bay. This returning course is one of the trickier locations for a Salmonid invasion with certain zones being submerged in water and a reliance on lifts to take you from one area to another. Bringing back a zone from the previous Splatoon game on Switch doesn’t bring back quite the same level of nostalgia as Flounder Heights does; however, with only three locations to its name prior to the update, Marooner’s Bay is a welcome addition to the game mode nonetheless.

New Weapons

Next, onto the weapons. Chill Season 2022 has managed to shake up our favourites in no time with three entirely new main weapons and ten variations on previously-released ones with an all-new Sub and Special combo.

Beginning with the newcomers, the update adds the Splattershot Nova, Big Swig Roller, and Snipewriter 5H – three new mains which we have been learning to get to grips with. Finding a new favourite weapon takes a bit of time and while these three haven’t quite broken into our main rotation just yet, they add a good level of variation to play and we are having fun getting our heads around their intricacies.

This is especially the case for the Snipewriter 5H which loses a little of the Charger’s usual big-hitting abilities but adds in the chance to take up to five shots on a single charge, which makes it great for the slightly more active opponent out there. Seriously, in a Turf War this thing is scary.

Then there are the ten new combos for some of the game’s existing weapons. We have added each of these changes to the table below but, again, we are pleased that there is now a further level of variation to the game that we simply didn’t have before.

Take, for example, the new Slosher Deco. This variant on the classic Slosher swaps out the usual Splat Bomb and Triple Inkstrike extras for the Angle Shooter and Zipcaster for an even more up-close-and-personal style of play.

Weapon Name Sub Special
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Image: Nintendo Life

Splattershot Nova Point Sensor Killer Wail 5.1
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Big Swig Roller Splash Wall Ink Vac
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Snipewriter 5H Sprinkler Tacticooler
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Image: Nintendo Life

Tentatek Splattershot Splat Bomb Triple Inkstrike
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Image: Nintendo Life

Aerospray RG Sprinkler Booyah Bomb
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Forge Splattershot Pro Suction Bomb Booyah Bomb
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Custom Splattershot Jr Torpedo Wave Breaker
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Carbon Roller Deco Burst Bomb Trizooka
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Slosher Deco Angle Shooter Zipcaster
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Zink Mini Splatling Toxic Mist Big Bubbler
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Dapple Dualies Nouveau Torpedo Reefslider
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Luna Blaster Neo Fizzy Bomb Ultra Stamp
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Inkbrush Nouveau Ink Mine Ultra Stamp

New Items

The above additions are all well and good, but one of Splatoon’s main attractions for us has always been how stylishly pleasing it is. Chill Season 2022 continues this with a brand new catalogue (containing new gear, titles, Splashtags, decorations, stickers, and emotes) and around 50 new items added to the stores in Splatsville. There have also been 13 new Tableturf Battle Cards added as a part of the update, expanding the puzzle side of the game even further.

Do we wish that there could have been a few more items added as a part of the new collection? Probably. But the additions that we have received are fun nonetheless and continue to build on the game’s keen eye for looking good as you splat your way across the stages.

Other Improvements

Aside from the usual bug fixes and tweaks, there have been a number of quality-of-life improvements with the addition of Chill Season 2022 that we felt deserved a moment in the spotlight.

Leading on from our thoughts on the new items, the update brings with it the ability to view the season’s catalogue in full right from the start. By simply opening the main menu with ‘X’, navigating to the Status tab and selecting Catalogue, there is now the option to ‘See More’, showing what will be unlocked with each Catalogue Level.

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Image: Nintendo Life

This is a small change, it is true, but the addition serves to let us know what we are aiming for with each upgrade right from the beginning. If, for example, you were after new Banners, going up a Catalogue Level used to be a process where the prize would seem random. Now you can have an idea of how far you need to go to unlock the next Banner, providing yet another reason to come back for more.

Another small change that is worth flagging is the new ability to save and replay job scenarios from Salmon Run. By heading to the Grizzco Terminal in the practice area, and looking at ‘Recent Jobs’, you can save particular runs (weapons, appearing Salmonids etc.) to play in a private room at a later time, a nice addition for those who have completed a mission in the past and wished that their friends could have taken it on with them.

There are a huge number of other changes which have come to the game with the new update including the ability to reset your Season Rank, temporarily change your name, take photos when in Recon Mode and — the biggest change of all — fold your clothes before putting them in your locker. While these might seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of the update, they each help to make the game that little bit more user-friendly and add some fun additions in terms of customisation.

So, Where Does Splatoon 3 Stand After its Update?

Chill Season 2022 might not represent the great leap forward that some were calling for when the game was initially released, but for the sheer amount of new content that it has added in one go, it is certainly keeping the game moving with a whole bunch of tweaks and welcome additions.

The new stages and weapons create the experimental feeling of the game’s launch once again, with new abilities to get to grips with and optimum routes to discover. Combine this with the new game modes and events and you can see that there is now even more reason to keep grinding away at the game in preparation for the next big thing.

Splatoon 3 is still Splatoon 3 after this update — as you’d expect — but for a free add-on which gives us all more to do than ever before (and more reason to come back to the game as we slide into the Holiday season) newcomers and experienced players alike will undoubtedly find it a fun new challenge to sink their teeth into. A splat in the right direction, indeed.

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Image: Nintendo Life


What do you make of Splatoon 3 with all of the changes under Chill Season 2022? Swim down to the comments and let us know!

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