Tuesday 23 January 2018

Splatoon gets a fresh coat of paint

Splatoon 2 (Switch) ★★★★ Age: 7+

Splatoon 2
Splatoon 2
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Nintendo artfully subverted the shooter genre with the original Splatoon in 2015. By ignoring the intimidating conventions of the likes of Call of Duty, the Japanese funsters conjured a delicious confection of riotous colour and frenetic action with paint guns substituting for real weapons.

This sequel shifts from the unloved Wii U console over to the much more promising Switch. Yet, as with Mario Kart 8, Nintendo took the easy option and turned out a lightly remastered version that could be more accurately labelled Splatoon 1.5.

A handful of new maps, guns and modes can't hide the reality that this is fundamentally the same Splatoon glammed up in glossy britches. Nintendo also persists with its peculiar policy of rotating maps in and out of service, meaning only two multiplayer levels are available at any one time.

Don't get us started on Nintendo's botched voice chat service - an awkward faff involving a smartphone app - and the baffling absence of the original's split-screen play.

But the more time spent with Splatoon 2, though, the easier it is to love it. A revamped single-player mode acts as a grand tutorial. There's hidden complexity in its gameplay mechanics - shooting opponents is far less important than marking territory with great globs of paint. And the gorgeous day-glo visuals are almost outclassed by the sugar rush of the soundtrack.

Zelda, Breath of the Wild: The Master Trials

(Switch/Wii U) ★★★★ Age: 7+

Minor add-ons wouldn't normally warrant attention in this column but the marvellous Breath of The Wild deserves an exception.

The Master Trials is only part one of a two-pack of downloadable content for the greatest Zelda ever. It can't be bought separately, which is no wonder because the meat of this €20 expansion pass lies in the second instalment due out in winter.

Essentially, you're trusting Nintendo to deliver an engrossing new story-based episode in a few months because The Master Trials is mostly a modest collection of minor bonuses with its chief attraction being a major new dungeon called The Trial of the Sword. This challenge demands you survive 45 stages, starting out with no weapons, armour or healing items, and with just three save points. It's punishing but rewarding.

Still, it's hard to shake the feeling The Master Trials serves as just an amuse bouche for the main dish.

Micro Machines World Series

(PS4/XO) ★★★ Age: 3+

A budget reboot of a long-forgotten series, MMWS recreates the feeling of racing toy cars around your home, down to the household objects littering the track.

But without a meaningful single-player mode and burdened with excessive corporate branding, the handling proves too squirrelly for gamers to enjoy more than a few multiplayer races without howling in anger.

Indo Review

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