Despite complaints about the lack of content that was actually in the game, Splatoon has been dishing out more and more free DLC as the weeks go on. As of this time, we’re not even two months out from when the game was initially released, and we’ve already gotten new maps, new weapons, and now, two new gameplay modes.
First up is a new Ranked Battle mode titled Tower Control. In it, you, or one of your team, has to go to a special tower in the middle of the stage. You splat it with your ink, and then ride on it towards a goal on your opponents side of the field. Now in concept, it sounds simple, but as Splatoon does so well, it takes simplicity and turns it up to 11 in the funnest way possible. You have to continue to ride the tower in order for it to proceed, and because the tower is low to the ground, you quickly become a target for your foes; even moreso as you venture into their territory to reach the goal.
When you get splatted on the tower, it’ll stop for a few moments to allow someone to either continue your quest or send it in the opposite direction. If no one claims it after a while, it’ll return on its own to the center of the arena. If you and your teammates work together and get to the goal, you’ll end the round with a knockout victor. This goes the same for your opponents who make it to their goal. If no one reaches the goal, then the winner is determined by who got tower closest to the goal before time ran out.
The thing I really liked about Tower Control was that every game felt different, especially when you go to different levels, as each one will have a different placed goal, along with a different path the tower follows to get there. After a few rounds on a stage, you’ll know where to go to get the best vantage point to either get to the tower, or knock your opponent off of it to claim it for yourself.
What this means is that a game can go really quickly or really slowly. I honestly had matches that lasted less than a minute because of some well placed teamwork and defense. In contrast, I’ve had matches where we were scrambling to try and make up ground before the clock went out. In one case, our opponents got splatted on the tower just before reaching our base. So we had a minute to defend the tower and get it into their goal to win. We ran out of time just feet away from it, which was heartbreaking.
The only bad things I can say about Tower Control are a known problem and an unexpected one. The known problem is that there are only two stages per couple hours, which again, can actually help the gameplay, not unlike Turf Wars. However, when you’re eager to check out the other stages and see how they stack up in Tower Control, it gets disappointing that you can’t do more. Then, as I would find out, the Ranked Battle modes can’t be selected. They rotate like the stages. I wish they could let us choose Splat Zones or Tower Control; that way we’re playing with those who want to play those modes. Unfortunately, we can’t, which is annoying because outside of my initial playthrough (which was substantial), I haven’t gotten back to it since.
All that aside, Tower Control is a fun new mode for Splatoon. If you get a chance to play it? You’ll enjoy it.
Then, there’s Splatfest, which is a special event that’ll happen every so often in Splatoon. Unlike other modes, there’s a theme to every Splatfest. More specifically, there will be a “topic for debate”, and you’ll pick a side based on which side you fall on. Then, you’ll team up with like minded people/Inklings and duke it out to gain glory, prestige, and points for your team. The first one for the US happened last weekend on July 4th, and featured a classic Cats vs. Dogs theme, complete with team t-shirts.
Unlike other modes, Splatfest was something much grander in scale. By that, I mean that Inkopolis was totally overhauled visually. The Squid Sisters were performing a concert instead of just being on the screen announcing stuff, it was night time in the city, there were fireworks going on, Inklings were dancing all around, etc. It was great to see because I wasn’t expecting that. It really gave the feeling that this was a truly special event and not just another day in the city. But the surprises didn’t end there. Once you went to battle, there were a few more. First up, there were three stages to battle on instead of two. Hopefully, this will be a recurring trend going forward. In addition, the mode was Turf Wars, so that really helped make it more fun.
The stages were modified slightly as well; specifically, Inkopolis itself. The stage fights took place at night, and the Squid Sisters were lending their voices to the stage music via modified versions of the original tracks. It was a nice touch, as it made the game feel different, and yet the same.
You may be wondering, “How does one win a Splatfest?” Well, after you choose a side, and start battling, your goal as an individual Inkling is to build up your rank, which you do by special experience points through battles. You can get points for winning battles, or by getting enough ink points by splatting turf. So even if you don’t win, as long as you were helpful to your team, you can still get experience.
Once you gain enough points, you grow in rank. The higher your rank, the more your team is helped. In the end, the side with the most ranked up people wins. It may sound easy, but not so fast! Though you get points for battles, the more your rank up, the harder it is to get your next rank. Splatfest is truly an endurance test to see just how loyal you are to your team. I honestly played longer than I ever have on Splatoon before because I wanted to get several ranks. And that took time.
When I got done with my Splatfest run, I was pretty highly ranked, and I knew I had to stop. However, it was a lot of fun getting to that point, and I felt a great accomplishment; especially when it was revealed that my team won.
Between Tower Control and Splatfest, Splatoon has gotten even better. Sure, Splatfests won’t happen every week, but when they do, they’re a blast. And Tower Control is an incredibly fun new mode. If you haven’t gotten Splatoon yet cause of “content concerns”, you should put them aside and give the game a look.