Splatoon was released exclusively for the Wii U on May 29th and I’ve spent much of my time since then playing it. The game is totally addicting because of the nature of its gameplay: you fire paint instead of bullets and that paint changes the whole landscape of the battle. For example, covering the middle area of a level not only adds to your total turf, but precludes the enemy from flying through in squid form. Painting walls and ramps gives only your team quick access to sniper towers. It weaves together beautifully.
General strategies hold true in all the turf war battles, but your Inkling’s weapon choice makes all the difference when it comes to your specific approach. When equipped with one of the paint rollers, your job is to lay down paint as fast as you can. If you are armed with an assault weapon, laying down paint is not your primary goal. Instead, you should take down the other team’s paint rollers and try to splat as many other Inklings as you can to effectively disable them for 10 precious seconds at a time — all while laying down whatever paint you can. Finally, if you have a sniper-type weapon, your job is to find good camping spots and contain the enemy from above while avoiding any battles at all!
To this point, my favorite weapon is the Krak-On Splat Roller (purchasable when you hit level 7) for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not a real accurate shot with the guns so I’m more effective with the paint rollers. Second, the special for this weapon is the Kraken and I have some great strategies for it!
Let’s break down the four phases of your approach with this weapon to win matches consistently. (So long as your teammates are the least bit competent!)
1. Start By Painting YOUR Team’s Home Area
The biggest rookie mistake I see by paint rollers is ignoring their home zone. In a turf war, the amount of area covered in your own paint is what decides victory, so you should take care to cover every single inch of the area closest to you. This is where the enemy will reach the least and, thus, most of your paint will hold for the entire battle. Instead, many players go right for the gusto and head for the mid-line and into enemy territory. This is a terrible strategy because the deeper into enemy territory you paint, the more likely it will simply be painted over as the enemy heads into the fray. That and paint rollers are not effective offensive forces!
No, the best strategy as the turf war begins is to cover your entire home area as much as possible before ever even thinking of going on the attack. Stay out of harm’s way and focus on nothing but laying paint. The more area you cover, the better. As a bonus, when you’ve covered a majority of the home area, you will be able to unleash your Kraken! (Your special meter will fill up when you paint any territory that doesn’t have your paint already.)
Doing anything else is a mistake. So cover your home area as much as possible and get the Kraken ready to go. Once you’ve done that, you can move on the next phase.
2. Attack Only When Advantageous
As a paint roller, you must avoid any head-to-head battles. Inklings with assault weapons will wipe you out easily with a little backward strafing, and other paint rollers will likely drag you into a double frag where you off each other leaving you with no advantage. Instead, you need to pick and choose your battles.
So, once your home area is covered and you have your Kraken ready to go, you should start pushing forward and painting as much as you can in the middle area while avoiding confrontation. Inevitably, you’ll be assaulted and unable to escape. At this point, you can take either of the following actions:
- Seek to attack an enemy from the side or rear. Players have little peripheral vision and this is where paint rollers should take advantage. When facing an Inkling head on, it’s easy for them to shoot you down while you race towards them unable to attack from any distance. But from the side or rear, you merely have to touch them to splat them. Find a way around if you can rather than take them on directly.
- Bait the enemy and then release the Kraken. This is my favorite from a comedic point of view. Any Inkling with a gun sees paint rollers as easy targets that must be destroyed. When they see you, they will start firing and run right at you. This is when you release the Kraken and hit the X button to attack! Watch their little beady eyes open up wide as the easy target becomes the invincible Kraken coming to devour them!
Shuck and jive, shuck and jive. Again, you should never take an enemy on face-to-face. Be willing to become a squid and hide or even retreat ground if necessary. Never be ashamed to run. An armed enemy is looking to splat you, but if you run they’ll most likely let you go. Chasing a paint roller around a corner is never ideal because if they turn around they’re doomed.
Shuck and jive.
3. Be Willing to Return Home
So far, about half of the Splatoon players even recognize that they can warp by tapping a teammate on the touchscreen. As time goes by they’ll become more aware, but many players still never employ it. Of those, I’ve seen hardly any that warp backwards! This is an incredibly handy strategy as it’s a great way to finish off an enemy invasion by retreating ground and staying alive. While a kamikaze invasion can still have some benefit, your death creates a lot of enemy paint and takes a lot of time off the clock.
Warping shouldn’t only be a strategy taken when you re-spawn. Be willing to do it at any time. If you’re under attack, try to scramble away and — at worst — tap your web pad blind if you need to!
Retreating to the middle ground is ideal, but if your own base has been infiltrated and has enemy paint around then retreating back to the spawn point is OK, too. It’s not great, but still better and more efficient than death. Keep an eye on your map for retreat points. Stay alive. Get into enemy territory and then get out.
4. Invade Your Enemy’s Base With the Kraken
This is the killer strategy (literally!) and one you should always look to employ. Fact is the more enemy territory you can paint the better. Why? It keeps the enemy busy and, from my experience, most players ignore the nooks and crannies in their own zone by the halfway point of the battle. Everything becomes more about war in the middle and revenge on the last person who splatted you.
As a paint roller, if you can get deep into their zone and lay paint, you can turn the tide. The best way to do that is to release the Kraken and get a solid 5 seconds of unstoppable progress in! You see, when you’re the Kraken you’re invincible. You can use this for attacking, but you can also use it as a free ticket to your enemy’s zone! As a bonus, anyone who tries to stop you can be killed with a press of the X button!
The best way to do this is to find a path into enemy territory and the first moment you are in danger release the Kraken and continue forward — but not a second before! Until an enemy stops you just keep laying paint while you go. If you’re running low on paint you can use the Kraken, too, as you’ll be refreshed when you become an Inkling again, but I still prefer to become a squid and just lay in wait instead. Once you reach deep into enemy territory, lay paint as much as you can. In some levels, you can sneak up on the rafters and get natural protection from the blocks. In addition, you may find a camper or two with their back to you for some easy kills!
This is what a perfect 3-minute turf war can be with the Krak-On Splat Roller:
- Use the first minute to cover your entire home zone.
- With the Kraken ready, approach the middle ground and paint as much as possible until you are in danger. Then become the Kraken and go for kills.
- With an Inkling or two out of the way, continue painting and try to build up the Kraken meter again before your enemies return.
- When it fills again, dart for the enemy zone as far as you can get and become the Kraken when danger arises once more.
- Paint the enemy zone and retreat when necessary and possible.
Skill and intuition are still required, but I’ve presented you with a strategy here. Now put it to work and witness the power of the Kraken!