Splatoon 3 is filled with an assortment of colorful weaponry. From guns that look like pencil sharpeners to paint buckets in the shape of bathtubs, Nintendo’s ink ‘em up has no shortage of personality, especially when it comes to your choice of paint-splattering equipment. But despite all the distinct characteristics each weapon offers, there’s one that’s been my main since the beginning, and that’s the Splatana, Splatoon 3's inky sword that’s pretty effective when you get the hang of it.
The Splatana is a new weapon class introduced in the threequel. As of now, there are only two varieties: the Wiper and Stamper, with the former purchasable at level five and the latter at level 15. Think of these sword-like weapons as something akin to Ichigo Kurosaki’s Zangetsu from Bleach or Inuyasha’s Tetsusaiga. That is, if you’re a weeb like me, you’ll probably yell “Getsuga Tenshou” or “Wind Scar” when using it. By tapping ZR, you’ll do quick horizontal strikes that shoot out blade waves, inking the ground directly in front of you and dealing some pretty low damage. Holding ZR charges the attack and hurls a big vertical blade wave in front of you that hits for solid damage. It’s not the best option for accomplishing the game’s objective—paint as much turf as possible in a short period—but the Splatana serves a different, more exciting role: it’s the tool of the assassin.
See, one of the Splatana’s greatest strengths isn’t its inking capabilities, but rather its kill potential. The Wiper, for example, can murk a squidling with about three to four quick attacks and two charged attacks. Meanwhile, the Stamper destroys people in two quick attacks and one charged attack, with the latter move phasing through the killed target. So, if you’re good at maximizing momentum while swimming through the ink—especially with new mobility options like the Squid Roll—you can easily get the drop on unsuspecting players, laying them to waste like a squid ninja before disappearing back into the ink. You don’t even have to have the best aim around to slice fools up, either. As long as you’re close to your enemy, you’re very likely getting that kill.
That said, a big drawback of the Splatana is its low ink reserves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried assassinating an opponent, jumping off a ledge like an Assassin’s Creed protagonist, only to get killed because my weapon was outta freakin’ paint. Of course, shifting into a squid and swerving through the ink replenishes your supply, but the Splatana is a kill weapon first and foremost. It’s not an objective weapon. If you attempt to do both, you’ll just end up dead with no ink before you can recover. In that way, it’s best used for reconnaissance, infiltrating enemy territory to take out a few hapless suckers in the back while the rest of your team does the painting for you.
It’s this exhilarating juxtaposition that I love about the Splatana. It reminds me of my fave ninja games like Tenchu, in which you’re highly capable of killing…and of getting killed. A glass cannon, if you will. I’ll be the first to admit I’m awful at shooters largely because my keratoconus impacts my accuracy, so I’ve never been the best at getting kills. However, with the Splatana serving as an assassin’s implement, a weapon designed for people who like to hit and run, I regularly get double-digit kills. I can’t say I always win—people forget to ink the base and the game’s online sucks—but I feel gratified knowing I at least gave my team a fighting chance by sneaking into the enemy’s backline.
Splatoon 3 is a lotta fun, and the Splatana makes for some pretty intense skirmishes. It’s a solid weapon that cuts the opposition to ribbons in the blink of an eye despite not holding as much ink as other options in the game. I’m a sucker for katanas, though, so I make it work, even if I occasionally get laid out in the process. Best believe I’ll be back, stalking in the paint, waiting to strike.