Alright, so you just started Splatoon 2 . You’ve finished the introductory tutorial and maybe picked at some of the story mode by now. You’re still wrestling with the motion controls, but that’s alright — you get the point. You want to jump into online play, but you may be anxious about being outpaced. After all, matches against real people are often quick and unforgiving.
Alternatively, you’re the type of player who’s been grinding in the standard Turf War mode, working up the nerve to join the more demanding ranked modes.
No matter what type of beginner you are, learning the fundamentals of any fast-paced shooter can be challenging. Here are some tips you can take to level 10 and beyond.
This happens all the time: You see an unsuspecting Inkling that you can draw a bead on. You hop out of squid form and take fire, only to realize that your ink is falling just at your target’s feet. Your cover is blown and you’re punished with a quick splat.
This mildly embarrassing faux pas can be remedied by testing your weapons in the practice range. The effective ranges for each weapon correspond cleanly to the lines on the ground. Spend 15 minutes or so running drills with your favorite weapons to develop a sense for how close or far you need be from your mark before pouncing. This’ll save you from wasting time running back to the battle.
Knowing where you are relative to your threats is a simple concept, but often overlooked. In any given Splatoon 2 match you’ll be blindsided by ink (usually from off screen), whether from a ranged weapon or silent ambush. Needing to come up with an escape route on the fly causes panic, usually resulting in a trip back to spawn.
Cover your bases and drop some ink away from your current route, behind cover, or on walls in case you need to retreat. If you’re using a weapon with a Suction Bomb, place one down at the start of your encounter for some extra insurance. Your opponent will either retreat, freeing you up to swim in the space you just created, or become a stain on the floor.
This’ll take some getting used to. Spending more time in Squid form gives you more opportunities to hide in plain sight and use walls and ledges to your advantage. In addition to the speed boost, the only reason you have to be in Inkling form is to attack your opponents.
You don’t keep your player’s special move when you lose a life. Your special gauge is reduced upon respawn, meaning you have to grind away without a clutch move until it comes back. This can be a big timesink in a three-minute match.
The only option is to burn it if got it. When you have your special, focus on positioning, maintaining the high ground as best you can and — at your discretion — let it rip. Splatoon 2 is a game won and lost on specials, so building and executing them quickly goes a long way.
At the start of the match, speed is key. That involves the team rushing to the center to challenge the middle of the field, where games are won or lost. On this opening rush, you may see players staying back and inking the base. In theory, it’s a considerate gesture. In practice, that means there’s one less player holding back the opposing team’s push. Start inking from the center and work your way back. Don’t get tied up over loose splotches of ink; you can still swim smoothly through them. After each time you’re splatted, you’ll have a chance to ink a little more territory around the base, which adds up.
Once you put your color down, it’s down. The points for covering that piece of turf have been collected and you’re free to swim through it. This sounds painfully obvious, but being aware of where your ink is going is vital to managing ammo. If you find yourself running out of ink too frequently, take a breath and observe where your shots are going. Chances are you could be more frugal with your ink.
If you’re grinding to level 10 to unlock the ranked modes, then you’re working primarily with the Splattershot Jr., which has decent overall coverage and a mediocre range. Hold out for levels four and six to unlock the Tentatek Splattershot and Aerospray MG respectively. Their consistent ink spreads quick fire rates are excellent for beginners to grow with. Once you get the hang of those weapons and follow the tips above, it’s easy to end each Turf War match with over a thousand points.
Chris Kindred is a freelance writer and editorial illustrator. His words can be seen on Twitter at @itskindred, and his pictures at chriskindred.com.