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Splatoon 3 ups the ante with new levels, battle modes and even a card game

Splatoon 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Ahead of its launch next month, Nintendo has shown off even more details about Splatoon 3 in a brand-new Direct showcasing the game’s battle stages, maneuvers, weapons and more.

Although the original Splatoon launched on the Wii U, the game quickly became a fan favorite despite the console’s limitations. With the launch of the Switch and the release of Splatoon 2 in 2017, Nintendo built upon the success of the first game with the addition of new maps, weapons, abilities and Salmon Run. 

Now Nintendo appears to be following a similar formula for Splatoon 3 by including all of Splatoon 2’s weapons, as well as its most popular stages. However, there’s more than enough new content and modes to keep returning players satisfied while the new single player campaign looks to be the perfect introduction for those who have yet to give the company’s ambitious multiplayer shooter a try.

Also, if you haven’t picked up a Switch yet or are looking to upgrade, Nintendo is also releasing a Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 Edition.

Stages and weapons 

Hagglefish Market stage from Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 3 players will be able to battle it out across a total of 12 stages when the game launches on September 9. 

While Hammerhead Bridge, Museum d’Alfonsino, Mahi Mahi Resort, Inkblot Art Academy, Sturgeon Shipyard, Makomart and Wahoo World will return from the first game, there are also a number of stages specific to Splatoon 3’s new setting, the Splatlands. These include Scorch Gorge, Eeltail Alley, Hagglefish Market, Undertow Spillway and Mincemeat Metalworks. 

Across the game’s 12 stages, you’ll be able to use all of the main weapon types from previous Splatoon games from the start. However, you may want to try out some of the new weapons, which include a bow-like Tri-Stringer that can fire in three directions simultaneously and a Splatana Wiper that sends blades of ink flying using the centrifugal force generated by swinging it.

Tacticooler weapon from Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

At the same time, there are also new special weapons to play with. These include a Tacticooler fridge that provides stat-boosting beverages for your whole team, a Wave Breaker that unleashes sonic waves around the area where it’s placed, and the Reefslider, which is a shark-shaped float that charges forward and launches an ink explosion onto your opponents.

The return of Splatfests

Tricolor Turf War in Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Fans of Splatoon 2 will be happy to hear that Splatfests are also making a return. These online events allowed players to vote for their favorite choice in an announced theme and battle it out to see which one was the winner over the course of a weekend.

This time around, instead of two teams, there will be three and the first one on August 27 ahead of Splatoon 3’s release will see rock, paper and scissors compete on the battlefield to see which one is the winner.

In Splatoon 3, Splatfests will consist of two halves where the first half will see three teams compete in 4-v-4 Turf War battles and the second half will include the game’s new Tricolor Turf War battles.

Customizations galore

Character customization in Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Character customization has always been a big part of Splatoon, and there will be plenty of new clothes and shoes to keep you looking fresh in Splatoon 3.

However, Nintendo is also adding an in-game catalog this time around that will let players exchange points earned from battle for a variety of new items including seasonal gear and ability chunks. The company plans to regularly update this catalog to keep Splatoon fans returning to the game long after its launch.

Customizing a locker in Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Players will also be able to customize their very own locker where they can store gear and other items they’ve acquired along with in-game pictures. However, they’ll also be able to check out the lockers of all the people they’ve recently played with.

Tableturf Battle

Tableturf Battle in Splatoon 3

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Towards the end of the latest Splatoon 3 Direct, Nintendo showed off a new card game that players will be able to access in Splatsville’s vacant lot.

Tableturf Battle is a 1-v-1 competitive card game that’s actually a spinoff of Turf War. Players will be able to ink different shapes using cards, charge up power and then unleash it with a special comeback attack. In all, there will be over 150 different cards to collect and play Tableturf Battle with.

Two years of post-launch updates

Splatoon 3 will likely be able to keep players busy for quite some time, as Nintendo revealed at the end of the Direct that it plans on offering post-launch updates for the game for a full two years.

These updates will include a free in-game season catalog distributed every three months, additional weapons and Splatoon 3’s new X Battle and League Battle modes. While X Battle is unlocked after obtaining an extremely high rank in Anarchy League, League Battle will let players compete every two hours in teams based on their Anarchy Battle results.

Nintendo isn’t done with updates though, as large-scale paid DLC is also planned for Splatoon 3’s future.

If you’re looking for a reason to dust off your Switch or to play something together with your friends, Splatoon 3 looks to be the perfect culmination to the series and a game you’ll likely be able to play for hours on end.

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.