It’s been a few months since Splatoon’s launch on the Nintendo Wii U, and the game has expanded its roster of maps by quite a bit. Aspen and I decided it was as good a time as ever to rank them and share a few thoughts.
First Place- Kelp Dome
In my opinion this is the perfect map to showcase all styles of play. You have varying levels with the overhangs that connect the different map sections, wide open space for full on turf wars and paths that let you weave in and out of the different areas. This one really feels like it’s anyone’s game and I think gives the most fair advantage to all styles and levels of play.
Second Place- Arowana Mall
I find the different elevations on this one so much fun! It makes it a challenge because you really never know what is right over the hill and around the corner. While you’d think it’d be easy for one team to get control and dominate (and don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely been in rounds where that has happened), overall the layout still allows for either team to take control at any point throughout the match.
Last Place- Saltspray Rig
Admittedly this one makes the bottom of my list because I’m so terrible at playing it. I don’t have the coordination to stay on the course, so I usually end up falling to my squid death. This map just doesn’t do it for me though… I feel like too many twists and turns make it complicated to master and play as a team. Controlled chaos is good in Splatoon, but for me this course is just too all over the place to enjoy.
First Place- Kelp Dome
I very much enjoy symmetrical maps in shooters, and Kelp Dome is a great example of why. As Aspen said, Kelp Dome’s layout allows for every play style to be effective in any given match. The wide central alleys and mesh walkways give plenty of space for snipers to pick off unaware squids, and the tight corners of the stage give rollers and buckets plenty of ambush spots. Kelp Dome exemplifies my favorite kind of Splatoon stages, where turf is easy to claim but hard to hold, and cohesive team movement is the key to winning.
Second Place- Blackbelly Skatepark
Much like Kelp Dome, Blackbelly Skatepark’s symmetry and general accessibility make it an extremely competitive map to play on. While the map certainly has distinct areas, each one flows into the other so well that players from both teams are constantly in contact with each other. This fosters rounds with plenty of lead changes and power swings. Blackbelly is a simple map, but that’s what makes it such a dream to play. With few choke points and a variety of height/depth to its features the Skatepark provides for a wide variety of play-styles, where the best teams are mobile and constantly backing one another up.
Last Place- Bluefin Depot
Given my top selections it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see ol’ Bluefin scraping chum off the bottom of my rankings. That’s not to say Bluefin isn’t irredeemable. I actually enjoy quite a few of the maps features, and firefights can be hectic and fun, but the stage itself can be a chore to navigate. It seems that every inch of this map is a choke point, with long skinny platforms that make it easy for players to keep plenty of distances between themselves. The stage’s split catwalks go even further to give rounds in Bluefin Depot a slow and often clunky tempo of gameplay. Expect plenty of matches to stall out as teams claim their home turf and then entrench themselves around Bluefin’s central areas. There are some who might enjoy this kind of stage, I am certainly not one of them.