Splatoon 3: Side Order Nails Roguelite Formula

Diving into Splatoon lore is an eye-opening experience. The series features a history of human extinction, accelerated evolution, warfare, and far more death than expected after seeing the bright colors and zany ink-based turf wars. This rich storytelling forms the base for Side Order, a roguelike DLC that introduces new mechanics naturally while weaving a captivating narrative.

Boiled down to its essence, Side Order is a roguelite. The main loop centers around a massive tower with each floor containing a random arena and objective. The goal is to progress as far as possible, selecting objectives, obtaining temporary upgrades, and accruing currency to purchase permanent upgrades when needed.

Aside from the roguelite mechanics, you also get a drone helper that functions as an auxiliary weapon and a glider to traverse the challenging arenas. The random nature of the tower makes it inherently replayable, and experimentation with weapons is encouraged. Along with reaching the top of the tower, players are also on the hunt for locker keys, rewarding them with a new weapon for certain milestones.

Players gain power while climbing the tower, with rewards on each new floor in the form of stat-boosting chips or unlocking new abilities. This encourages strategic thinking about the builds. Meta-progression prevents the runs from getting stale, as permanent upgrades ensure steady progress with each run.

The substantial upgrades do not take long to acquire, offering a significant advantage in a relatively short amount of time. In addition to its captivating gameplay loop and new mechanics, Side Order also impresses with its aesthetics and narrative. The aesthetics draw comparison to Nier: Automata, with a new hub reminiscent of the Copied City and a story dealing with themes of artificial intelligence.

The visuals and ink effects add to the overall impressive presentation of the game.

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