Splatoon 2 is already a solid package for Switch users.  The multiplayer mode is the main selling factor while the single player is a good introduction to the game. However, the single player mainly focused on the first idol group The Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie.  While it gave details of the Squid Sisters, it didn’t explain the story of the current idol group Off The Hook, Pearl and Marina. While the original final boss is interesting, it wasn’t as awesome or memorable as of the first Splatoon.

The first ever single player DLC for Splatoon 2, The Octo Expasion, shows promise in allowing you to play as an Octoling for the first time. This also delves deeper into the lore of Splatoon and how our current girls, Pearl and Marina came to become the group Off the Hook. With more levels to test your skill, furthering back story, and a great reward upon completion, The Octo Expansion is worth in weight in sea snails.

Game Name: Splatoon 2
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo
Release Date: June 14, 2018
Price: $19.99

So to begin off,  you begin by having Captain Cuttlefish staring right in your face  telling you to get up and finish your fight with him.  However, during the time you were knocked out, you hear the Squid Sister’s Calamari Inkantation. You don’t know who you are or what happen. All that you know is that you are an Octoling that no longer wants to fight.  You then create your Octoling/Agent 8 in your preference, your gender, the hair style and eye color.  Worry not as you can change this anytime you want.
 
You then find yourself in a subway station deep underground. If anyone know or has lived in New York and know of the MTA Subway, it pretty close to it. You then find a ringing old telephone that tells you that it can bring you to the “promise land” but only after you collect four thangs. The ‘s 90’s lingo is strong and present. The four things themselves are scattered throughout the subway line and you will have to pass challenges to reach them.  Let me tell you now, these challenges are no joke. It will test you on your skills and it will cause some frustration.
 
 
To aid you on your quest is the local sea creature conductor, C.Q Cumber. Yes the pun is strong here. You also get Off the Hook, Pearl and Marina to aid you as well. There are a total of 80 challenges total, separated into different subway lines.  You do NOT need to complete all of them to finish the DLC. The four things are placed in four parts of the map, so all you have to do is work your way to them. There are rewards though if you do wish to complete every challenge. The rewards are new exclusive gear that you can dress your character in the multiplayer mode to show off.

Now to the challenges themselves. As mentioned before, these levels will test your mettle and your skill with all the weapons. The challenges range from getting to the goal with limited ink, shaping boxes to match a model, survive a gauntlet without getting hit with no weapon, guiding and 8-ball to its goal, and so forth. If you thought that the main game was too easy, these challenges will make you reconsider. To do these tests however will require credits. C.Q. Cumber will give you credits to begin with. When you head to the test station, you then choose the weapon you wish to use for the test. Some stations will have more than one weapon choice. The weapon variety serves as the difficulty level, which in turn has a higher credit reward for harder weapons. 

An example is a rail grind challenge in which you have to break all boxes in one go. Miss one and you start over. Sure you can choose a blaster as that is the recommended choice, but a sniper is more difficult but yields a higher payout. I’ll tell you that using  sniper on that challenge will require all skill and a bit of luck. But if you do finish it with a sniper, you will feel so accomplished that you completed it.

There will be times that you will fail and die a lot. Thankfully there is a way to skip the level entirely. Marina will hack the system to allow you to pass the test without completing it. However, it will reflect on the items that you collect for completing the test legit, the memory cakes or mem cakes.  The Memory cakes will come out gray and will stay that way until you finish it with your own skill. These Mem cakes are your memories in psychical form, which adds to the lore of Splatoon and to the Octolings. It describes all aspects of Splatoon in limerick form which is quite poetic. The level skip feature is perfect for those who just want to get through the story or if one level proves too much for the player. It gives you the option to tackle the level at a later time should you desire. So even after completing the main game, you can still go back to go for that completionist route.

Presentation is as stylish as always. The sheen and shine of the characters is just pleasing on the eyes and the levels maintain a steady frame rate of 60. The use of neon and 90’s style aesthetics continues to immerse you in the world of Splatoon. The Subway system adds to the mood, to really emphasize that you are deep underground. A nice detail is that there are passengers that are other deep sea creatures in sea kingdom in reality.The amount of details that they packed into this DLC is quite amazing. In the background of the levels, you see throwbacks to the the original N64 and other details.

If there are any criticisms, one is that I wish that this is what I expected in the main game. While I love the basic details from the sunken scrolls of the main game, it still felt open to interpretation and didn’t explain of the world current in Splatoon 2 like explaining Off the Hook and their backstory. Thankfully the expansion shows  the history of Pearl and Marina  in chat logs with Captain Cuttlefish. The banter and details in the logs is full of charm and heart warming moments. It even has pictures and music attachments! An example is one log shows how the hit song “Ebb and Flow came to be.

Another criticism is the bosses. Unfortunately four are reused bosses, but you have to use different weapons to take them down. The bosses themselves are redesigned with a new added defense. These boss redesign are difficult, but I wish they had different bosses for the Octo Expansion. There is one exception: the last/secret boss. Without spoiling it, it is someone you know back in the original game. They even remixed an original tune for the battle, which is pure nostalgia for fans. 

While I completed this expansion, I grew connected to Agent 8, even though its just a silent character. There are subtle expressions on your avatar  and the other cast that really bring them to life. When you see Agent 8 finally reach and sees the sunset for the first time, you can tell that awe and wonder that is written on the face. Frankly, everything and everyone exudes personality and makes them all alive.

A main highlight is the last challenge map. I won’t spoil it but what I can tell is that you will have three minutes to do everything. Pearl and Marina also shines here as well, further deepening their character and cool factor. Lastly, when you see that moment, it is basically tuns into anime for the right reasons.

As mentioned  before there is  a secret boss fight that comes after the main game is complete. To face this boss, you have to complete all 80 levels with your own skill. This boss will test you to the limit. It may not be at a Dark Souls boss level, but hard enough to really make your palms and head sweat. Once you defeat it, you do get an exclusive item for multiplayer to show off that you conquered this DLC and bragging rights. It’s called the Golden Toothpick, but those who know Japanese culture, it’s a Golden Takoyaki,  or Octopus Ball.

The Octo Expansion is full off content and well worth the twenty dollar price of admission. It adds on to an already complete package that Splatoon 2 is. It adds more lore, challenge and proper rewards afterward to make this DLC a worthwhile experience.  Aside from it’s reuse of bosses, it makes up for it with its challenging levels that will make you adapt to weapons you are not use to, while pushing you to get good. There are so many details that makes up this content that it is charming, fresh, and a service to fans and newcomers. From it’s surprising deep story and developed cast, this pearl is well worth cashing in.

Booyah

Quite a Splash

Quite A Splash

The Octo Expansion is DLC done right. From it’s content, level design, and story, the expansion is well worth the price. Learning more about Pearl and Marina, going through the tests with Agent 8 to reach the surface, the  moments that you share with them really makes them believable and likable. Levels are challenging enough to test your skills , but also gives you the option to skip to challenge it at a later time as post game content. Rewards carry over to the multiplayer of the main game , like playing as an Octoling and exclusive cosmetics to dress  your Octoling or Squidling.  It covers all bases, single player, multiplayer, story, level difficulty, cast and story. This is guest you want in your Splatoon party and experience.

Pros

  • Expansive and Added Backstory and Lore
  • Challenging Levels
  • Life and Personality Of the Cast, Especially Pearl and Marina
  • Rewards for Completionist
  • +Amazing Music

Cons

  • Reused Bosses
  • Some Difficulty Spikes
  • Felt This Should Have Been In The Main Game
  • The 8-Ball Challenges
  • Not Enough Woomy
Overall
4.5

About The Author

William

Philsophical, Gaming, Otaku, at your service! Born in Nintendo’s golden age, his blood runs on Mario and Nintendo. With his philosophical degree, he learns to see the big picture, other points of views and tries to make unbiased thinking and judgments. Part time Substance Abuse Case Manager, Full time gamer, otaku and student of life.