An inkling fights a horde of Jelletons in Side Order, the new Wave 2 downloadable content for Splatoon 3.

An inkling fights a horde of Jelletons in Side Order, the new Wave 2 downloadable content for Splatoon 3. (Nintendo/TNS)

Nintendo’s games are known for their longevity. A title it launched five years ago is guaranteed to age well and be a great experience today, but the company has also changed with the times. They’ve taken note that downloadable content has helped extend the life of projects.

Nearly five years after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launched, Nintendo has added 6 waves of tracks and more features. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate received new characters to the roster for three years. Each additional fighter became an event for Nintendo fans. Now, Splatoon 3 is following that same path.

After its release last year, Nintendo has added new content by piling on more weapons from its original arsenal of 53 at launch. Splatoon 3 now boasts 110 weapons and 636 pieces of gear. The first wave of DLC reintroduced Inkopolis to fans, but the second wave, Side Order, has a more compelling element: a new single-player mode.

Climbing a dangerous tower

I had a chance to play the 10-floor tutorial and dabble in the main mode at demo event recently. Players take on the role of Agent 8, who wakes up in an Inkopolis devoid of color. It’s mostly white and Pearl shows up, but she looks different. She’s a flying drone and the Off the Hook member is looking for her partner Marina. Players also meet a mysterious ally along the way.

The tutorial sets up the story for Side Order as Pearl takes players to the Spire of Order and introduces the mechanics that are tailored for this single-player rogue-lite mode. Agent 8 faces a new enemy called Jelletons, which look like bony fish and come in different forms. They trundle toward players. Others fly and spew black ink. Others are armored and are hard to eliminate.

On each of the stages with random elements, players face different win conditions. In the first one, they have to destroy the Portals that spawn the Jelletons. Blasting it with ink makes the Portals swell until they explode damaging other enemies around it. That’s simple enough.

Temporary boosts

Completing a floor gives players a Color Chip to place in their palette, which holds 36 chips. The chips come in six colors:

•Purple specializes in support bonuses.

•Yellow focuses on luck and increases chances of critical attacks or other abilities dealing with chance.

•Red boosts power and raises a player’s damage output.

•Orange deals with range. Depending on the chip, it can boost damage at certain distances or add extend range of weapon.

•Blue helps a player with mobility so that Agent 8 can escape situations where enemies swarm them.

•Green makes the Pearl drone following Agent 8 more helpful adding the ability to attack and other power-ups.


Players will collect these chips as they progress up the 30 floors. They also amass a currency called Membux. The money can be used on more chips at vending machine corners, which are break points in each run. Players shouldn’t worry too much about maxing out the palette because it will be difficult to do.

What they should do is figure out how they want to sculpt their run through Side Order. From the start, players will gain chips, and after completing each floor, they face three choices on how to progress. The choices have different difficulty levels — easy, normal and hard — and the chip rewards are different. The higher the difficulty the more Membux are available while there’s also a bigger risk of defeat. Depending on the weapon or their previous power-ups they can lean toward a specific playstyle.

If they’re getting more greens, they could work on powering up their drone. If they tend to run out of ink, they can pickup chips that maximize ink usage or even adds ink as they move. With more than 60 chips available, there’s plenty of depth to Side Order as players plot out the best choices for that specific run. Once that run ends, any leftover Membux and chips are converted into another currency called Prlz.

All-important Prlz

This is the all-important resource that players will need if they want to finish this rogue-lite mode. While Color Chips are temporary and only last for the run, the Prlz are used to purchase permanent perks to help players advance over multiple attempts. Think of it as a level up.

The permanent upgrades include power-ups such as more lives, a damage reduction and an upgrade to armor. The last one is important because players can only be hit a few times before the armor breaks and the next hit is a game over. Armor generates over time though. It’s best to try to hit the fifth floor of every run because there’s an extra bonus that helps in Prlz accumulation.

Lastly, each boss drops a key in Side Order and they appear to be on every 10th floor. The key is used at lockers that will open up more items that deepens the layers of combat. In high-level Side Order play, players can essentially turn the sniper rifle-ish Charger into a powerful up-close weapon, reversing its role using the Color Chips. It’s a sight to see, and shows the flexibility of the customization.

Players have to work to access weapons in the Splatoon 3 Side Order downloadable content.

Players have to work to access weapons in the Splatoon 3 Side Order downloadable content. (Nintendo/TNS)

Level variety

As for the level types, aside from defeating all the Jelletons or defeating all the Portals. Turbine Tower has players on a mission to shoot the aforementioned contraption so that it runs along a track to the end of a stage. Protecting the Zone is another type of level where players ink an area and defend it for a set amount of time against Jelletons. Another level has an object called Infinity Balls that players have to move the enormous spheres to a specific place.

Although all the stages have a set layout, the details such as the mission type, enemy placement and obstacles all differ. That creates variety so that though players can recognize a level at first glance, they have to figure out how to approach the enemy types and furniture strewn on the stage.

Side Order looks a compelling addition to Splatoon 3, and best of all, it’s now available. Players don’t need to beat the game the access it. The Wave 2 DLC should be unlocked and ready for all who purchased the Expansion Pass.

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