Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion Overview

Exciting roller-coaster rail adventure

It turns out that while we were distracted by the little things in life, Splatoon 2 The first birthday is approaching closely. Can you believe it’s been a whole year already? It’s incredible! I still remember my debut flop, my triumphant victories, and amateur defeats. Ah, youth…

But don’t let the age of the soon-to-be celebrant scare you – she hasn’t wasted any time and feels better than ever. Jokes aside, Nintendo has put in maximum effort this time to turn a small fry into a true multiplayer shark. If we disregard the recent anti-cheat incident, which, hopefully, will still have a happy ending, the sequel is surrounded by much more care than the first part – and any other project of the company, for that matter. Whether it’s huge portions of new content, regular festivals or major championships, life in Splatoon 2 was, is, and will continue to be very lively.

And to celebrate the establishment of such a network beauty, the happy parents decided to release… a story DLC? Not a premium pass with golden skins, not a set of thematic maps for survival, not even a pack of comments from some Squid Dog. No, a full-fledged single-player campaign that relates to online battles as much as herring in tomato sauce relates to seafood. Very indirectly, that is.

The most interesting thing is that they didn’t make a mistake. On paper, Octo Expansion is as crazy as it is pointless, but in reality, the strictly personal nature of the new adventure allowed the game to become much more inventive and captivating than ever before.

Confrontation with Octarian adversaries
Intense laser-focused action

Without effort, you won’t catch anything

However, “plot” is a strong word. The Spartan principles of Nintendo have not gone anywhere, so don’t expect any special narrative twists from the expansion: the story briefly visits during the introductory video to set the stage, and only returns at the very end. Yes, here you can play as an Octoling for the first time, meet new characters, and learn some interesting facts about the local universe, but Octo Expansion is not entirely about that. Some might even say it’s not about that at all.

The narrative takes us to a secret underground complex, the exit of which lies through a series of trials. There are about 80 of them, with radically different tasks and means of achieving them. Somewhere you just need to pass a shooting range in time, somewhere you also need to jump across platforms. Sometimes reaction speed is important, sometimes the ability to think and tactically plan. Some levels test mechanical skills, while others turn everything upside down and offer, for example, to play billiards or carve a sculpture according to a template.

As an example, I can’t help but mention my favorite chain of tasks with a huge ball. In the early stages, it’s a fairly simple arcade puzzle of the “roll A to B” type, but the further you go, the more nuances are added to it. Lifts, rails, trampolines, collapsible paths, sticky surfaces, persistent enemies of all kinds, and who knows what else – the path to the goal becomes a natural obstacle course, reminiscent of Super Mario Odyssey, sanctuaries from the latest “Zelda” And, here you go. Portal 2 The association is rare, but therefore no less desirable.

Retro arkanoid-inspired mini-game
High-speed chase in the deep sea

This expansion is about gameplay and experiments that didn’t find a place in the base game. Octo Expansion tries everything, from spatial puzzles and boss fights to a free adaptation of Space Invaders, captivating with its variety and boldness of ideas. Not all of them are equally good (the mundane matches against bots could have been left out), but it’s never boring here – and that’s the main thing.

Some concise phrase comes to mind that accurately describes all of this. A game designer’s rough draft? It’s a bit crude, but partly true: the DLC exudes a pleasantly raw recklessness, freedom of thought. Much of what is done here is simply because it’s cool and fun – without regard for any kind of coherent logic or even, as later becomes clear, difficulty.

It’s strange to say this out loud, but Splatoon 2 has gained a challenge, a real and carefully designed one. If the original campaign had a fairly gentle temperament, Octo Expansion’s entry threshold is somewhere at forehead level. Missed one target out of thirty? Pff, you’re a scrub! Start over. Made a mistake on a turn? Too bad for you (not really). Start over. Got lost in defense? Start over. Start over. Start over!

Stylish customization options

Octo Expansion's unique vehicular gameplay

Oh, how many nerves are left here…

No one will take into account that you jump poorly, aim with difficulty, and generally play so-so. Although the difficulty is really fair, for beginner “Splatooners” it can be a serious obstacle: it is physically impossible to pass certain challenges without learning how to perform triple flick shots upside down in mid-air. Of course, there is always the option to skip them for an additional in-game fee, but that’s just shamelessness.

Fortunately, the well-thought-out structure of the add-on often saves from hopeless dead ends. The levels here are presented as subway stations, the branches of which loop and intersect with each other – so many difficulties can actually be “bypassed” through easier trials. You can’t escape problems, but gaining experience will never hurt.

Exploring the expansive Octo world

Nostalgic SNES-style graphics in action

There is no place more beautiful than my native Snesovka!

Squid on Viazov Street

Despite the fact that the plot of Octo Expansion is criminally neglected, the world of the expansion is still filled with interesting and amusing details. Here you have witty comments from your comrades, who are constantly trying to give you advice on how to progress, and their hilarious chat logs from “Karasuki” (translators, you’re amazing), from which you can glean some information about the characters’ pasts, and mystical couplets attached to souvenirs for completing the game, and much more. These may be small things, but it is thanks to these small things that the DLC does not fall apart into a tasteless collection of mini-games.

Encounter with peculiar isopod creatures

Thanks to them – and the local atmosphere, which has shifted from a cheerful palette to more neutral, and in some places even gloomy tones. Splatoon 2 has not lost its parodic nature at all, but for a clear contrast, it has added some… gloomy everyday life to it, so to speak. The effect is unusual: just the level design alone is worth mentioning, with phantasmagorical installations hanging in dimly lit spaces – they contain motifs from Portal 2, and even a bit of Dali and Escher. And there’s nothing to say about the inhabitants of the deep sea, flickering in worn-out subway cars – this is how “The Little Mermaid” would look in the interpretation of someone like Satoshi Kon, no doubt.

Well, and the music, how can we do without it. Wonderful electronic music, setting the rhythm for the colorful action, is particularly good and expressive this time. Moreover, I dare to say that the best track in the entire series is played right here:


In short, it’s nice to see that Splatoon 2 is growing – and it’s doubly nice that this growth also applies to the single-player part. It would have been unforgivable wastefulness on Nintendo’s part to release such a wonderful game as just a fun but meaningless online shooter, and the release of this kind of add-on assures us that they do realize the potential of their creation. Perhaps someday we will live to see a full-fledged story spin-off!

Thrilling train-based adventure

As for the “Octo Expansion” itself, it is the best thing that happened to the game since its release, and a must-buy for anyone who believes in the viability of Splatoon 2 in single-player mode. Brace yourselves, it will be difficult, but it is definitely worth it. I give my word.

Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion
Action, Adventure
Nintendo EPD
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews