Splatoon is a game out of time. Steering its funky kid combatants around brightly lit arenas, spraying down thick smears of hot pink and olive green paint out of what looks like Super Soaker 50s, recalls the neon cartoon style of early-'90s cartoons. "Up next on Snick we've got the kids from Splatoon!" yell Keenan and Kel between commercial breaks.
That each pony-tailed gunner turns into a squid that can sink into paint smeared on any surface, refilling their ink stockpile for more shooting and speedily sneaking around the grounds avoiding fire, gives Splatoon a surrealistic Nintendo flair but even its cephalopodic nature has a whiff of the Double Dare about it. Even if it feels a bit like a cultural relic, it's a vibrant and vivacious entry in the Wii U library, bright and pleasing to hand and eye in the same charismatic way as Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World. My time with the game was encouraging, but I sincerely worry about Splatoon finding its audience on Wii U.