Splatoon: Beginner’s Guide, Tips and Tricks

Check this guide out for everything you need to do to get started in Splatoon for the Wii u.

Splatoon is a unique shooter and some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. This is a game where you shoot ink, switch between a kid and a squid, and use interesting weapons like the Paint Roller. Seems a little ridiculous, but there is a lot of depth to this game.

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There is a lot in this game and a lot to get used to, even if you have played many shooters. I’ll help you get started in this very colorful shooter and you’ll splat people in no time.

This guide will go over the basics of Splatoon including:

  • Gameplay Basics – Controls and how the game works.
  • Game Modes – The different game modes and how to play them.
  • Gear – Each piece of gear and the abilities they give.
  • Inkopolis – The main hub of the game and what you can do there.

Gameplay Basics

In Splatoon, you play as an Inkling, a squid who is also a kid. You have ink weapons to fight in turf wars and more. Use your weapon to shoot ink, then change from kid form to squid form while in your own ink.

Squid form allows you to move faster and jump farther, but only when swimming in the same color ink. You can only attack while in kid form.

  • ZR shoots your main weapon, R shoots your sub weapon
  • ZL switches between kid and squid form
  • X jumps
  • Push down on the Right Control Stick to use your super once it is ready

While in enemy ink you gradually take damage until you pop and have to respawn, so cover up enemy ink with your own.

When you respawn, you can select a teammate to super jump to them. This allows you to get back into the action quicker, or help out someone in need.

Game Modes

There a few different game modes, with more on the way. The main game mode and focus of the game is Turf War.

Turf War

splatoon turf war

In this mode, 2 teams of 4 players fight for control over the stage. Players must cover as much as the stage with their ink as they can in 3 minutes. The team that covers more of the stage, wins.

This mode is also how you level up and get coins to buy new gear. There are two maps to play in Turf war and they change throughout the day. This is the regular battle section but there are also ranked battles.

Splat Zone

This game mode requires players to control a certain area of the map with their ink. This is in ranked battle. Check my Ranked Battle guide for full details.

Battle Dojo

This is an offline 1v1 mode. One player uses the Wii U game pad and another player uses a controller. 

  • The player on the game pad plays exclusively on that and the player with the controller has the TV to themself.
Octo Valley

This is the single player story mode. In this mode you play different levels to collect Zapfish. 

  • The gear you use here is exclusive to Octo Valley.
  • You cannot level up your online Inkling during this mode.

There are special scrolls to collect during the stages that give background on the world of Splatoon.


The biggest part of the game is the gear you can get. Gear consists of 4 equips:

  • Weapon – Your main weapon, along with a set sub-weapon and special
  • Headgear
  • Clothing
  • Shoes

Headgear, clothing and shoes all work the same way. They give you 2 abilities.  There are many abilities in the game, and since you view all of them on your game pad anytime you’re not in a game, I’ll only give a few examples.

Splatoon gear abilities

  • Damage Up – Increases damage of your main, sub, and special weapons.
  • Defense Up – Reduces damage from attacks.
  • Ink Saver – Decreases the amount of ink consumed by the specified weapon.
  • Swim Speed Up – Increases movement speed while swimming in squid form.

There are many more, so check which ones work best for you. When you buy new gear, it only has 1 ability on it. The second ability is hidden and gets unlocked once you level it up by playing online

Weapons are an all-in-one package. You buy a main weapon and it comes with a specific sub-weapon and special ability, you cannot change this.

There are different versions of the same weapon that give different sub-weapons and specials, though. Weapons come in 3 categories:

Main Weapons
  • Shooters – General guns that simply shoot ink when you push the button.
    • There is a long-ranged weapon and grenade launcher in this category.
  • Chargers – These weapons can be charged up to shoot a long line of ink, great for traveling quickly and taking out opponents from far away.
  • Rollers – These unique weapons allow you to travel around the map rolling ink over everything. It is a short-ranged weapon, but will instantly splat any enemy that hits it.
  • Bombs – These are weapons you throw to do damage.
    • They have different effects depending on the type.
  • Splash Wall – Put up a wall of ink that splats any enemy that goes through it
  • Point Sensor – This goes off when an enemy is near to show everyone their location.
  • Squid Beacon – Place this to allow teammates to jump to the beacon’s location.
  • Ink Mine – This hides in ink and splats anyone that gets near it.
Special Weapons
  • Inkzooka – Shoots a large amount of ink in front of you for a short period of time.
  • Inkstrike – Calls in an ink airstrike at the selected location.
  • Bubbler – Puts a protective bubble around you that absorbs damage.
    • Going near teammates puts the bubble on them as well.
  • Bomb Rush – Allows you to throw multiple bombs without using ink for a short period of time.
  • Killer Wail – Places a machine on the ground that shoots a sonic blast, which instantly splats any enemy in the area.
  • Kraken – Change into a large squid that can attack for a short time.


Splatoon inkopolis

This is the main hub of the game. You can access everything from the city.

  • Tap any of the shops, the lobby, octo valley, or battle dojo to go there instantly.
  • You can play the mini-game, squid jump by walking to the area on the map. It is the black squid icon.

Spike is also available in the city. Once a day, you can order gear and he’ll get it for you.

  • To do this, walk up to one of the inklings in the city, and press A. Then, press X to order gear. 
  • You can select anything but weapons.
  • It will take a day for him to get it to you and the abilities on them aren’t guaranteed. 
  • This is a way to get different variations of abilities because you can only buy a piece of gear from the shop, once.

There are 3 amiibos for Splatoon, Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl, and Squid. They each give you challenges to complete.

  • The challenges involve completing Octo Valley missions with a specific weapon.
  • You must complete the mission normally before unlocking the challenge version.
  • Completing the challenges unlocks exclusive gear to use online.

That wraps up my Beginner’s Guide to Splatoon. Let me know if you have any questions and check back for more guides and tips for Splatoon.

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After gaming for 25 years, Synzer leveraged his vast knowledge of RPGs and MMOs into a job as a games journalist, covering the games he loves. Five years later, he's still writing about Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, and Knights of the Old Republic. Synzer has a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing. You can see him in action on his YouTube channel (https://bit.ly/2F97BrR) and Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/synzergaming).