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Splatoon 3 beginner’s guide: 6 tips and tricks to get started

Get your splattershots ready because Splatoon 3 has arrived and is the next big multiplayer offering for the Nintendo Switch. This stylish and colorful shooter is one of Nintendo’s newest franchises and is quite different from their usual style of game. As opposed to most of their offerings, Splatoon 3 is primarily an online multiplayer third-person shooter. Of course, they swap out guns and grenades for ink shooters and balloons. Still, for as approachable as this game is, there’s a lot to learn to be the best squid on the block.

Splatoon 3 builds off of everything established in the first two games. There’s certainly no need to play the others before this one, though coming in fresh will put you at an initial disadvantage. Thankfully, we’ve gone ahead and put together the best tips and tricks you need to know to start splatting the competition in no time. Here’s a full beginner’s guide for getting started in Splatoon 3.

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Play the campaign

Three inklings model new fashion in Splatoon 3.

You will probably be tempted to jump right into a multiplayer match right away when booting up Splatoon 3, but even if you’ve been playing the series from the start, we highly recommend starting out playing at least a few campaign stages first. While there is a story to Splatoon 3, this mode is effectively just a tutorial for how the game works. You’ll learn all the movement options, plus get to try out all the weapons and abilities, new and old, in a much more safe and controlled environment.

Plus, the campaign soundtrack and boss battles are just way too fun to ignore.

Try out all the modes

A giant salmonid roaring.

Once you’ve gotten a grip on how life as a squid works, it’s time to jump into the meat of Splatoon 3. The multiplayer suite has two main modes — Turf War and Salmon Run — with a third, Anarchy Battle, unlocked a little later on. Turf War is the Splatoon series’ staple and the most popular mode, where two teams face off trying to ink the most amount of ground possible. Salmon Run, first introduced as a limited-time event mode in Splatoon 2, is a permanent fixture now. This is a co-op PvE experience best described as a horde mode. Finally, Anarchy Battle is for the most hardcore players. This ranked mode has four different game modes within it: Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz. Each of these is objective-focused rather than simply based on ink coverage.

Give each mode a try and see which is the most fun for you. They all have different strengths and weaknesses, so while you may not take to one, another may completely capture your attention. Find what suits you best, but at least give them all a try to get a feel for everything the game has to offer.

Learn stages in Recon Mode and weapons in the Test Range

An inkling sitting on a bench.

Whatever mode you do land on as your favorite, learning the layouts of all the maps is key to victory. It will not only help you get around more efficiently but also pick out routes to flank the enemy team, anticipate ambushes, and recognize the choke points. While you can do a trial by fire and learn the hard way by just going in blind to matches to learn the maps, Splatoon 3 offers a much less risky way to learn maps called Recon Mode. By using this mode, you can drop yourself into any of the game’s maps by yourself to explore and learn the intricacies without fear of getting splatted.

Likewise, there are plenty of new weapons and sub-weapons to get to grips with. The Test Range lets you try them all out against dummies that show you just how much damage each does and lets you understand each weapon’s range, rate of fire, and more. This will be especially important with Splatoon 3‘s new weapons that have some very unique properties. It’s also a great way to get yourself warmed up before a real match.

Ink only counts on the floor

A turf war battle.

In Turf War, where the goal is to cover the most ground in your team’s color ink as possible, that keyword of “ground” is quite literal. You can, and often should, ink walls to help you navigate up the environment for a height advantage, but don’t bother coating walls thinking it’s going to add to your score. Only horizontal ground that can be inked will impact the game.

An old but always useful tip since the first game is to remember to ink your team’s starting base. There’s a nice chunk of blank floor right where you start, and most teams rush away before covering it to fight off the other team, leaving all those points on the table. Take a second to cover it in your ink before going off and fighting for the middle ground since, in most cases, you’ll never have to worry about it once you’ve inked it once.

Use your ultimates

An inkling rides a crab tank in Splatoon 3.

Ultimate abilities in Splatoon 3 will build up over the course of a match and, once filled, let you unleash a single devastating attack usually good for a splat or two. Because the meter won’t hold any extra charge once it’s full, aim to use it as soon as it’s filled up to start building it back up again. It doesn’t take so long to charge that a less-than-perfect use of it will feel like a waste, and it also comes with the bonus of completely refilling your ink tank when activated.

Play as a team

Whether you’re playing Salmon Run or not, Splatoon 3 is all about teamwork. There’s no mode in the game where you’re not working together with others (outside single-player, of course), so you should always be trying to coordinate with your fellow inklings and octolings. Chatting is the best way to communicate, obviously, but even if that isn’t an option for you, Splatoon 3 offers some handy quick-chat options you can use to keep your team informed with important info.

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