Video Games

Splatoon 2 Has No Split-Screen Multiplayer? No Thanks, I’ll Pass

Splatoon 2 Nintendo Switch

The original Splatoon was pretty good. It brought the multiplayer shooter to Nintendo’s first-party game lineup in a way that felt, at its very core, like a true Nintendo property.

The problem it solved — and brilliantly — was how to create an online shooter that’s kid-friendly. So it filled its weapons with multicolored ink instead of bullets, and it scored each round based on how much ink there was on the battlefield rather than how many “kills” each team accumulated.

Splatoon 2 Nintendo Switch

But there was one glaring omission from Splatoon, one that single-handedly reduced its shelf life: there was no split-screen multiplayer, at least not as a part of its core online experience. If you wanted to play the game’s main mode with a friend, you needed two copies of the game and two Wii U consoles.

This type of split-screen has been a part of franchises like Call of Duty for years now. While many other franchises are still struggling to catch up (I’m looking at you, Star Wars Battlefront), its omission from a major, first-party multiplayer game is baffling.

So this was Splatoon 2‘s biggest opportunity to improve upon the first game. Yet, the game is now on store shelves, and, exactly like its predecessor, it disallows players from teaming up in its online modes unless they have two copies of the game and two Nintendo Switch consoles.

Splatoon 2 Nintendo Switch

Split-screen online play, I should point out, was included in 2014’s Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Nintendo obviously knows it’s a draw for its players, so why not implement it in a franchise that’s built around online play?

Splatoon is the type of game that makes the multiplayer shooter appealing to people outside the core shooter demographic. Its biggest strength is that it can be played by families — shared between a parent and a child, two siblings, or even a couple. Yet it doesn’t actually allow two people to share a single copy of the game.

So, while Splatoon was incredibly enjoyable, and Splatoon 2 looks even better, I’m going to have to pass. While I was willing to give Nintendo a pass on the first game — while they were still figuring out the online shooter market — I’m much less forgiving on the second pass.

Until Nintendo patches in split-screen online multiplayer, I’m not picking up a copy of Splatoon 2.

Josh Wirtanen owns this place and has opinions about pretty much everything. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuajwirtanen.