In 2015, Nintendo rolled out a kinder, gentler third-person shooter called Splatoon for the Wii U. It substituted ink for bullets and splats for kills.

Splatoon 3 was released this month for the Nintendo Switch. There’s plenty of variety in the shooter genre — options that don’t come with visceral violence and human death. You can go the more cartoonish route with Fortnite, or shoot aliens instead of people with Destiny. But Splatoon remains the most kid-friendly alternative.

What is Splatoon 3 and when is Splatfest?

Splatoon 3 features anthropomorphic squid and octopus characters splatting each other with colorful ink via a wide selection of weapons — including a giant paint roller.

It’s set in the “Splatlands,” described as “a sun-scorched desert inhabited by battle-hardened Inklings and Octolings.”

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Splatoon 3 is very much character and community driven. Each session begins with updates from hosts Shiver, Frye and Big Man. There’s a robust lobby where players team up with online friends. (Parents should note that the game features in-game purchases and user interaction.)

The different game modes are:

  • Multiplayer (4 vs. 4) Turf Wars
  • A new single-player story mode called “Return of the Mammalians”
  • Salmon Run mode
  • Anarchy Battles
  • Three-team Splatfests

Splatfests take place at certain times throughout the year, including this weekend, Sept. 23-25. They are three-team turf war battles where players choose their sides and compete based on the answer to a question. The question for this Splatfest is: “What would you bring to a deserted island? Gear, Grub or Fun?”

Is Splatoon 3 good?

My family has been with the Splatoon franchise from the start, and some of my kids have been waiting all year for this release.

It’s fast, colorful, fairly easy to pick up but difficult to dominate. Currently, it has a very good 83 score so far on Meteoritic.

Splatoon definitely fits the criteria of a “shooter” and even made this list of the best shooter games of 2022, coming in at No. 23. It’s a good, guilt-free way to let your kids experience this genre without worrying about how they will react to varying degrees of violence and blood in games like Call of Duty or Apex Legends.

  • Title: Splatoon 3
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release date: Sept. 9 2022
  • ESRB: E 10+ with cartoon violence
  • Players: 1-8

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to the game as a “first-person shooter.”