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How Splatoon plays as a single-player game

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Nintendo's upcoming shooter Splatoon is being pushed primarily as an online multiplayer shooter. But last week, we got hands-on time with both the single-player mode and local multiplayer, proving that the Wii U game won't be a one-trick pony — er, squid.

In the game, you play as a squid-person that alternates between a humanoid form that can shoot neon-hued ink and a squid that can swim and climb in that ink. Much of the joy of playing Splatoon lies in traversal and using your ink cleverly. The design leaves a lot of room for platforming challenges; single-player Splatoon feels much like a platformer with shooting elements, rather than the other way around. In fact, because of the speed and bright world, the experience reminded me most of Jet Grind Radio.

One single-player stage I tried was a massive, open area with industrial walls and platforms, all adorned with propellers. Spraying ink at the propellers caused the platforms to move around, and I needed to battle octarians while navigating the space, naturally without falling into the abyss. It felt fast and breezy.

the speed and bright world reminded me most of Jet Grind Radio

Amiibo challenges make up a chunk of the single player content and task you with getting through levels with a new weapon — we tried a charge weapon and a comically huge paint roller in a few of the stages we had already run through with the starter weapon. Beating these challenges unlocks gear in the game.

We also tried our hand at the local multiplayer mode in the game's battle dojo. We played a 1-v-1 match in one of the game's arenas. Instead of just trying to control territory (as is the norm in the game's oft-advertised 4-v-4 online play), I had to try to beat my opponent by popping the most balloons. Of course, we could also attack one another. Watch Nick and I face off in the video above.

Splatoon — and its associated Amiibo figures — will launch on Wii U on May 29, 2015.