Splatoon 3 is out now for Nintendo Switch. With months of Directs and trailers galore in the lead up to its September launch, you would think that we would be in the perfect place to dive straight into the game’s online play, racking up win after win, right? Well, you’d be wrong.
Although we absolutely love the latest entry in the Splatoon saga (we dubbed it ‘the pinnacle of the series, and the pinnacle of shooters on Switch’ in our 9/10 review), some of us here at Nintendo Life still need a hand with getting to grips with the game’s mechanics.
In this guide we will be doing just that, covering all of the tips and hints required to make you a splat superstar, whether you’re a Splatoon veteran or new to the series.
Splatoon 3 Guide – Tips and Hints
If, like us, you headed into the game’s first Splatfest and quickly found that you are somewhat out of your depth in the world of ink, squids, and splats, then have no fear. In the guide below we’ve laid down all of the tips and tricks that you need to become a splat-champion.
We have broken up our information across three pages into General Tips and Advice for the game, followed by more specific tips for Anarchy Battles and Salmon Run modes on pages two and three respectively.
Without further ado, let’s get this party splatted!
General Tips and Advice
Get acquainted with Single Player Mode
If you are completely new to the world of Splatoon, then Splatoon 3’s Single Player Mode is the place to start. Apart from being a really fun time with an interesting story and engaging missions, the Single Player Mode will bring you up to speed with all of the basics of the game from how to use different weapons to the need for ink preservation.
This is also the perfect opportunity to try out a boatload of weapons and find out what works for you. Everyone has a different play style in Splatoon 3, and finding your ideal weapon early on is going to come in extremely handy in the long run.
Motion controls are your friend
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of Splatoon 3 when first entering the game is the reliance on motion controls. You have two options with aiming your weapon in the game: motion controls and the more standardised right-analogue stick.
Using the motion controls will take some getting used to, but it endlessly improves your accuracy and aim speed, making it a must for all new players. You can adjust the sensitivity to different weapons, so this is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. Take your time to learn motion controls and see what sensitivity works for you.
Ink your base
Now this may seem obvious, but it is a wonder how many people forget: Remember to ink your base.
Laying down ink in your opponent’s zone is all well and good, but your hard work will come to nothing if your team hasn’t laid down the groundwork to cover home turf before moving out.
Interestingly, the next tip might just help with this…
Use Bombs and Sprinklers after spawning
We understand the desire to move forward and get to your enemy’s base, so you should make use of your secondary weapons to help cover your backs and ink your base in the process.
Fizzy Bombs, Sprinklers, and the like are an ideal approach for this method. Place them down directly after respawning so that you can regain your ink as you swim back into battle.
Where inked ground doesn’t matter as much in Anarchy Battles, use the same approach to fill up your Special Meter.
Familiarise yourself with stages in Recon Mode
Be it Splat Zones, Tower Control, Clam Blitz, or Rainmaker (for which there will be more tips later), if you want to get to grips with Splatoon 3’s different stages and game modes, then look no further than Recon Mode.
This mode lets you run around the game by yourself, providing the perfect opportunity to learn the ins and outs of individual maps, see what happens in each game mode and maybe even start to map different routes and positions you can take when you enter online play.
For those who have played Splatoon before, Recon Mode is great for working out the new additions to the game such as the checkpoint system in Rainmaker.
Use your map
Going from the throws of battle to respawning can be a little discombobulating, so be sure to use your map whenever you spawn to get an understanding of where the enemy is pushing and what your best method of attack will be.
Not only will this help you get into the action that bit quicker, but it is also a great way to work out how the game is going for your team. Trust us, it’s good to be on top of these things.
Squid Surge and Squid Roll
A top tip for newcomers and experienced splatters alike is to work out how to use the game’s new moves, Squid Surge and Squid Roll, to your advantage.
The Squid Surge can appear a little difficult at first, but once you work out when is the optimum time to use it to scale a wall, it really is as simple as holding down ‘B’. Timing this right will let you move faster and jump higher so it is well worth coming to terms with.
The Squid Roll also has some fun advantages to transform your play. With just a flick of the analog stick, you can now change swimming direction with ease (also granting yourself some nice invincibility while in the air). Be sure to learn how to hit this move off walls. While it may not be the quickest manoeuvre, it makes you like like a proper slick squid and is always handy to bulk out your moveset.
Refill, Recharge, Retreat
It’s very easy to get caught up in the forward momentum of battle and feel like it is always GO GO GO, but this is very much not the case.
It is often a good idea to take the time to fill up your ink, charge your special by splatting quieter areas or take a step back from battle and only get involved when you see fit.
A teammate taking their time is often more helpful than one who is all the way back at the respawn point, so don’t be afraid to refill, recharge, and retreat.
Find a teammate to help in 1v1s
Working in tandem with the last tip, if you are still working out the mechanics of the game (and we understand, it can be a lot) then take comfort in moving as a team and attacking in unison.
The same applies to moments in which you respawn and know that a teammate will be right behind you. It is often a good idea to hang back and wait before moving in as a collective. After all, as the famous phrase goes, two squids are better than one.
Choosing your weapon
The glow of a shiny new weapon can be tempting when first entering a new game, but the impact of your secondary weapons and specials should not be overlooked.
In the case of specials, these are really going to make a large impact on your abilities in play. You might use the Tacticooler to speed up and instant-revive your teammates, the Reef Slider to speed into enemy territory before exploding to ink up the surrounding area, the Ink Vac to suck up enemy ink and fire it back at them. There are many options to be played with which are going to change your game just as much as your main weapon type.
The same can be said for your sub-weapons. Be it a Fizzy, Burst or Suction Bomb, a Torpedo or Ink Mine, there is an arsenal full of secondaries to consider in your weapon selection which — while they may not turn the tide quite as quickly as your specials — can be used correctly to ensure your team victory.
Try before your buy
On the topic of choosing weapons, should you find yourself unsure of whether you want to spend your hard-earned Sheldon Licenses on a new piece of kit, you can take it out for a test drive before you make the big decision.
While in the weapons shop, simply press ‘Y’ to open up the weapons range where you can try out specials and secondaries and even see your prospective purchase’s range and damage using the small targets that will appear around you.
Yes, it’s a great way to find out if the weapon is right for you, but it can also be a fun way to get your head around how different weapons work if you are thinking of switching up your game.
Super Jump with caution
While it may look wicked cool, Super Jumping can be a dangerous business.
From what we have found, performing a well-timed Super Jump is so dependent on your understanding of the map — are there enemies nearby? will it be safe? — that performing the manoeuvre more often than not results in death.
There are certain clothes that can help you out in this process (more on that later) such as granting you the Stealth Jump ability, though this can still be a tough move to perfect.
The same precautions apply if you see a teammate Super Jumping towards you. They are going to be landing in a very vulnerable position with all of the enemies’ eyes on them, so you should do everything that you can to ensure that they are kept safe on arrival.
Benefits of food and Murch
If you are heading into Turf War Battles then you should definitely get acquainted with Murch – found sitting outside the Lobby.
This little dude has undergone a serious glow-up since Splatoon 2, and is an important part of any player’s game when it comes to personalising their gear. You see, Murch can change the abilities preordained to certain items so that you can get the bonuses that you want to tailor each add-on to your needs.
These buffs can also come in the form of food which, while not as permanent as the perks of items, can still help accentuate your abilities in battle. Simply head over to the cantina in the training area before entering a match to browse the selection of edible add-ons and find what will benefit you to level up or give your team a boost battle.
Dress for battle
Staying on the importance of gear, a key part of Splatoon 3 will be how well you dress for battle. While, of course, it is important to look fly on the battlefield, keeping an eye on your gear’s abilities is far more important – you don’t want to be using the respawn point as a catwalk.
For beginners, we recommend looking into ‘Ink Saver (Main)’, ‘Ink Resistance Up’, ‘Special Charge Up’, and any swim speed bonuses you can get your hands on to help you get out of a tight squeeze in battle.
If you just can’t take your eyes off of an item of clothing but feel let down by its abilities, why not refer to the last tip and head on over to Murch? While abilities are the name of the game here, it can’t hurt to look good while you’re killing it.
For both buffs and gear, it’s important to spread these added abilities out. It is true, you can stack them, but it impacts the power of these abilities in the process.
What is key to bear in mind is that the bigger abilities found in clothing items will help you out the most, while the three sub-slots are not going to leave as big of an impact despite being useful nonetheless.
Pick where you ink
One of the most important tips in this list is as follows: pick where you ink. It is far better for you to ink over enemy ink than it is for you to go about inking un-inked territory.
While you are going to gain points for the latter of these approaches, inking enemy turf is going to add points to your total, while removing points from your opponents. It’s a win win!
Play with friends for match development
Now, we know that this tip will not be a possibility for everyone, but if you have the chance to play with friends then we highly recommend it.
Instead of hopping in a team with random players, playing with friends grants you the chance to hop on a call to discuss tactics and get a lay of the land. And hey, the game is a lot more enjoyable in the process.
It’s even a good idea to find someone a little better than you to take on something of a mentor role while you play. What’s that phrase again? Give a man some ink and he’ll splat for a day, but teach a man to ink and he’ll ensure your victory in battle? Something like that…
Use Splatoon 2 to your advantage
For those of you with the chance to hop on Splatoon 2 before the third instalment, did you know this can provide perks for your new game?
If you have passed the tutorial on the prior release then you can transfer your save data and be given Golden Sheldon Licenses as a result. These will give you the change to get new weapons before they even unlock in the game – a great perk for anyone after a specific weapon but worried about the grind it will take to get there.
If your enemy is lucky enough to take back one of their zones that your team had so masterfully captured, then they will be subject to a time penalty in the process.
While they are working through this timer, you are given the perfect opportunity to get your specials up, make sure you are ink-ready and come together as a team before rushing in to capture the zone once more. There is no point in haphazardly entering without first taking the time to plan and work the game to your advantage.
Riding the tower
It is a pretty well-known fact that the Tower moves quicker when more players are on it. While this can be something of a double-edged sword (you are sitting ducks to Blasters, Suction Bombs and the like) it is a great way to make a last-minute dash to a checkpoint and keep the game moving.
Make sure the opposing team is away and move the Tower with caution.
Take in the tunes
While we are up here, a top tip is to take the time to soak in the Tower’s tune as you ride. What do you mean this isn’t a proper tip? Never pass up the opportunity to vibe out!
The shoe-exclusive ability Ink Shredder is invaluable in this game mode. It significantly reduces the amount of time that it takes to pop the Rainmaker’s shield which is great for catching some opponents by surprise with a splat, but also good if you are trying to get the Rainmaker in for some quick points.
Weapon recoil speeds up walking
Walking along paths that cannot be inked is a frustrating waste of time when you have become used to the perks of swimming, especially with the Rainmaker in tow.
Try turning around and shooting in the opposite direction. The recoil from your weapon will send you backwards at a faster speed than walking, helping you to cover more ground at a quicker speed. Now, this can be a risky move — exposing your back with the valuable Rainmaker on it is usually not advised — but in a pinch, every second you spend walking will really count.
Patience is key
Be patient when you are in possession of the Super Clam. It is a good idea to wait until your teammates have grabbed a few clams too so that when you use the Super Clam to open the basket, they can follow and score more points in the process.
Sharing is caring
There is no need to keep too many clams to yourself. You can see how many clams each of your teammates have and with a quick tap of the A button, you can transfer to spread them around the map and get you all closer to making a Super Clam.
Sneak before making the Super Clam
On the topic of making that Super Clam, gaining the final clam is going to alert the opposing team to your position and make you the target of an oncoming attack.
Therefore, why not try to sneak as close to the basket as you can before grabbing the final clam and getting your points? You can either grab the last clam yourself, or hit your team up with a swift ‘This way!’ to get them to pass a clam over.
Height of the tide
You will be able to work out the height of the tide for each round by paying attention to the individual animations that play before you begin.
When to use your specials
Specials are a great way to turn the tide (pun intended) in this game mode, so you want to be careful in how you use them.
We recommend saving your specials until round two or three to make sure you can last in the game for as long as possible. You will be granted an extra special if you are surprised by a guest appearance from the King Salmonid, but these are few and far between so should not be at the forefront of your mind when planning your special schedule.
Eggs and Splash Damage
When utilising the newly-introduced egg-throwing mechanic, you create a small amount of splash on impact which can damage the small Salmonids around you. It may not produce the biggest impact, but it is a strong tip to bear in mind.
‘This way!’ helps guide your team
A handy tip for all game modes, but especially the case in Salmon Run, is the use of the ‘This way!’ alert. This can not only be useful in alerting your team to the arrival of a Boss Salmonid, but it can also flag the appearance of Golden Eggs — all of which is bound to make your experience of the mode that much easier.
Remember your please and Booyahs
The first rule of Salmon Run is to always be polite. Please be sure to give your teammate a ‘Booyah’ when you are revived, and Squid-bagging as a team upon victory would leave even the biggest etiquette expert with no further advice.