Splatoon is a new video game released for the Wii U. This game consists of a multiplayer and a single player option. In the multiplayer, teams of four compete to paint the game area with different colors of ink. The goal is to cover as much area as you can before time runs out. If you have more area covered than your opponent, your team wins. You can play with friends or the game will match you up with people. In the single player you battle your way through levels, battling bosses to earn a rare type of catfish called the zap fish. Ultimately, you need to save the great zapfish who powers the entire city of inkopolis.
Although this game is a “shooting game” it is relatively benign. The game is rated E for everyone and this holds true in the game action. There is really nothing in this game that would cause concern for parents. My nine-year old picked it up very easily, learned the back story and got into the game very quickly. There are different shops to buy different guns and accessories which helps to keep the game fresh and engaging. The single player is challenging but did not seem to be too difficult, at least for a nine-year old. Since the game is marketed to young players it seems like they have hit the sweet spot for difficulty.
There does not appear to be an in-game chat option in Splatoon as there is in other games like Plants vs Zombies. The in-game chat can be a problem area for younger gamers as older gamers sometimes enjoy the game and do not filter their language in games with younger players. In Splatoon, there is no worry about inappropriate language or other interactions with other gamers.
I’ve even found the game to be entertaining to watch. It has funky music and is very colorful with somewhat androgynous characters. My son picked a character that to me looked like a girl but he was certain that was not long hair but rather drops of ink drooping down. I have found his interactions with the game to be quite imaginative.
As a parent I would recommend Splatoon to other parents as a fun game for their younger children that is fairly easy to learn and offers many hours of fun with little need to worry about the game content or the online interactions.