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Parents' Guide to Splatoon (PEGI 7+)

Here's our guide to Splatoon on the Wii U. This time written and presented by journalist Jordan Erica Webber.

1. Genre

Splatoon is a shooting game, viewed from over the shoulder of each hero, in which players control Inklings, creatures that can switch between human and squid forms. In their human forms, the Inklings can shoot coloured ink onto the level. In their squid forms, the Inklings can travel through ink of their own team’s colour. The goal is to have covered more of the world in your own colour of ink than your opponent.

Splatoon supports three amiibo - Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy, and Inkling Squid - each of which comes with a set of missions, equipment, and a bonus mini-game. Although simple to begin with, the game evolves: players can choose from different types of weapons, and add on special attacks and equipment.

While there is a single-player campaign and a local one-on-one multiplayer mode, the focus of the game is its online multiplayer, in which two teams of up to four players compete. Additional multiplayer modes are being added over time.

Squad-based multiplayer shooting games are popular, but usually more mature in theme, like Call of Duty or Battlefield. The colourful ink makes Splatoon seem more similar to De Blob.

2. Story

The single-player campaign has players making their way through levels that feature some platforming and puzzle-solving, as well as battling enemies called Octarians.

3. Developer

Splatoon was developed by Nintendo.

4. Format

Splatoon is only available for the Wii U.

5. Duration and Difficulty

Because of the focus on multiplayer, Splatoon is highly replayable.

Despite the use of a shooting mechanic, Splatoon should be easy enough for even very young players to play.

6. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Splatoon as only appropriate for those aged 7 and older for violence and online play.

PEGI expanded on the rating by saying it was due to the “colourful child friendly setting and non-realistic looking violence”, “not specifically due to the type of weapons”. The reason the game was rated PEGI 7 and not PEGI 3 was because of “disturbing elements such as the frenetic violence and some of the boss type characters”, though nothing that “would warrant a PEGI fear descriptor at the 7 level”. Though the violence is towards human-like characters, it’s “of a different nature than the violence aimed at humans we see in the PEGI 12 category”.

7. Themes

While Splatoon does focus on online multiplayer, there’s no voice chat, so even young players should be able to play online safely without parents having to worry about what they might hear.

8. Why people play

Splatoon takes a mechanic usually reserved for mature-themed games, shooting, and makes a game that’s appropriate and fun for even very young players. Along with the shooting the real focus is covering the floor and walls with the most ink. The current winner is clear because their ink colour dominates. While Splatoon is competitive, it’s also colourful and charming, providing the kind of family fun Nintendo is known for.

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Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.