Wednesday, October 18 2017 08:30

Splatoon 2: Throwing Ink from Nintendo Switch into Real Life...

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The Rock Daughters™ are Nintendo Kid Reviewers. Product provided for review by Nintendo of America.

When I first played Splatoon 2 at a Nintendo Switch launch event earlier this year, I immediately pegged it as a game that my girls were gonna love. I jumped-in to a test run of local multiplayer against a full field of players, the interesting aspect being that I was the one player in the mix who hadn't played the original Splatoon. On the surface, I thought it was a simple paintball game - a shooter in which kids could splatter their digital world and have a fine time doing it. Thing is, it's actually so much more, with a world of "Inkling" shapeshifters who move between humanoid and squid forms, swimming in ink to refill their weapons as they navigate a well-thought world with real missions. After receiving a copy of the game for review from our friends at Nintendo this summer, I've had a chance to play it myself, but I've also had the opportunity to see just how much the kids like it - but also how the digital world of Inkopolis has come to life in the real world via new toys from JAKKS Pacific.

Admittedly, the girls are relatively novice gamers who have been learning the ropes thanks to their New 3DS XL (which they've had for a year) and our Nintendo Switch. Since they're new players, it's interesting for me to see what type of games they gravitate toward, along with how they grasp the mechanics of the gameplay and all of the different Game Modes available.

With Splatoon, the hands-on play while using the Switch in portable mode makes use of some elements that will be familiar to those who've played games on a tablet. Moving the actual device through tilting will change the view, though a quick button-press will reset the camera should you veer off course. This game is all about a Turf War, and that means gearing-up with custom weapons and clothing that will help players cover their territory in their ink. Being little fashionistas at times, the shops of Inkopolis Square are fun to explore as the kids learn to outfit their online counterparts.

Rapid Blaster Pro

Part of the Splatoon 2 appeal is the multiplayer aspect, though that's not something we've taken full advantage of here at Rock Father HQ. Single player rules with the girls, but there's the Nintendo Switch Online app, which allows players to invite friends to join Private Battles, League Battles, Splatfest Battles, and Salmon Run, and then chat with them while playing.

Frequent updates keep the game fresh through limited-time Splatfests (they just did a Vampires vs. Werewolves edition for Halloween), and families collecting the amiibo figures can tap characters in and out like the new Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl and Squid. And if you've got the original Splatoon amiibo figures? Those work, too! There's also new weapons and gear added regularly.

Splatoon Splattershot Review (JAKKS Pacific)

The Real-World Jump with World of Nintendo Splatoon Splattershot Blasters...

At Sweet Suite 2017 in New York City this summer (I also write for The Toy Insider, presenter of the event), my friends at JAKKS Pacific were showing off their new Splatoon Splattershot Blasters and accessories. Having already been killing it with their excellent World of Nintendo line of action figures and collectibles, the Splattershot line takes things to a new level, putting the "ink" into the hands of kids for some safe paintball-inspired action. It's important to note that these are for outdoor use only, and while the gel-ish "ink" washes right off, you'll want to do that quickly to avoid any potential staining (very similar to the current "slime" craze). These blasters come with Goggles, and ink refills are available at most major retailers. Even my wife, who's not usually a "blaster" fan, loves these!

The Rock Daughters and their Splatoon Splattershot Blasters

Overall, Splatoon 2 gets high marks from our resident Nintendo Kid Reviewers, who would gladly play forever if it wasn't for their "mean" parents that limit screen time (all good things in moderation!). 

Splatoon 2 and Splatoon Splattershot toys are available through my affiliates at GameStop and Amazon, along with most major retailers and wherever games are sold. 

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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