Something dark and mysterious lurks in the shadows at Deepsea Metro Station in Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion. Enough to make your tentacles quiver and your ink run dry, this DLC packs a colourful punch and it’s certainly enough to keep you flying high. Embark on 80 levels of pure, chaotic fun and you’ll soon see why there’s more to an Octoling than meets the eye.
We’ve been defending our turf for almost a year in Splatoon 2 on the Nintendo Switch. Released last July, players have been drip-fed new stages and weapons via free updates in a bid to keep fans entertained until the promise of a new single-player campaign lands. Priced at £17.99 / $19.99, Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion DLC pack is available for purchase on the eShop and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Assuming the role of Agent 8, the amnesiac Octoling, players must navigate the treacherous Deepsea Metro and uncover the four mysterious thangs scattered across 10 interconnecting lines. After bumping into Cap’n Cuttlefish in the dismal depths of the underground, you’ll meet the Metro’s conductor, C.Q. Cumber, who will give you access to 80 stations via the CQ-80. He’ll explain that in order to find each of the four thangs, you’ll need to pass somewhere between 35-50 tests so that you can ascend to the Promised Land, according to the strange telephone inside Metro’s Central Station. Something fishy is clearly afoot, but without anywhere else to go, you decide to trust in your Octo instincts and collect each of the four thangs.
For those who have played Splatoon 2’s Hero Mode, Octo Expansion cranks up the difficulty bar significantly. In order to pass Metro Station’s challenging but incredibly satisfying levels, Splatoon fans will have to pay a substantial test fee – ranging from 100 to 3,000 points in some cases – to play one of them and can choose between one, two or three weapons before entering the turnstile. Selecting a more difficult weapon will, of course, reward you with an increased point payout should you successfully pass the mission. But players will need to keep their wits about them as a more difficult weapon could often mean paying in more test points than received on completion, depending on how many lives were lost. There’s a real risk versus reward to Octo Expansion; something third-person shooter pros will relish.
The sheer variety of levels on offer in Octo Expansion is nothing short of outstanding. There’s something for every type of gamer – whether that’s playing pinball with 8-balls, becoming an Octarian 007 sniper, or flexing your fingers in a platform paradise. Alongside its phenomenal level design, the DLC keeps players on their toes with some fantastic heart-pumping action from timed crate-smashing and balloon-popping levels, as well as its brutal boss fights. It’s great to see the Inkjet returning for some added air time, too, with levels incorporating the special technique in some ingenious ways – particularly during the storyline’s seven-phased ascension to the Promised Land.
While levels aren’t impossible by any means, if you’re particularly terrible at a certain type (for me, it was the balloon popping levels) then you can choose to automatically pass it by paying additional points after two failed attempts. A literal godsend from the beautifully talented Marina and Pearl, players can pass any level they desire – including the end boss fights – without sacrificing their precious points or much of their dignity.
Of course, there’s a downside to this too. Once you complete a level, players are rewarded Mem Cakes; small slivers of Agent 8’s memory that can be traded to Metro Station’s resident crustacean, Iso Padre, for gear in the Splatoon overworld. By skipping station levels, you’ll still receive the Mem Cake but it will be colourless, sucked dry of its memory. Without your memories, Iso Padre won’t reward you with new gear once you’ve completed the storyline and unlocked Octoling as a playable character. Bragging rights aside, if the storyline’s main bosses are too much of a challenge, you’ll be able to skip them and unlock the Octoling for online play; great for youngsters or less skilled players. Pros may feel a little jaded over this, however.
Depending on play style and skill level, Octo Expansion’s storyline can be completed anywhere between four and ten hours. We completed 53 levels before attempting the end boss fights, clocking in around 12 hours of playtime. Deepsea Metro Station will remain available to play following storyline completion, though, so there’s no harm in returning to the depths and popping by to say hello to C.Q Cumber, Cap’n Cuttlefish and Iso Padre. In fact, should you return, you’ll be rewarded with Mem Medals, which can be traded at the Central Station’s vending machine for valuable prizes. Rewards vary between test fee points, in-game coins, drinks and ability chunks for online play.
With some truly inspiring level design and interesting mechanics at play, Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion DLC pack gives fans some real bang for their buck. Hop on at Deepsea Metro Station or hop off at Rage Quit City, the choice is ultimately yours. If this how Splatoon 2’s DLC looks, sign us up for the CQ-160. Double the fun, triple the frustration.
A review copy of Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC was provided to My Nintendo News from Nintendo UK.