The best single-player games like Splatoon 2

Games to get your splat on all by yourself

Splatoon 2 occupies a unique niche in gaming, allowing players to channel their inner graffiti artists. It’s an elegant multiplayer game about rival squid gangs tagging up turf, and there are plenty of reasons to love this game now, three years after it released. The fact that Nintendo  is still supporting it with updates such as single-player DLC, tournaments and Splatfests (even if they are reruns) is a testament to the game’s lasting appeal.

However, like all mostly-multiplayer games, Splatoon 2 relies on its playerbase to create the best experience possible. Although  there is single-player content for Splatoon 2, its multiplayer modes are undoubtedly the game’s bread and butter. Teammates who do things like griefing and trolling can ruin one’s experience in this game.  Even if you pop off in a series of matches, dealing with crappy teammates can still eventually get tiresome. Sadly, they exist in Splatoon 2, just like every other competitive multiplayer game on the market.

If you’re looking for solo ways to have fun tagging and painting stuff , but are unsatisfied with Splatoon 2‘s lacking single-player content, here are 3 other games that make great alternatives.

Jet Set Radio

Jet Set Radio, originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000, is one of the OG games that features the ability to tag your turf and grind on terrain. Not only do you get to face off against rival gangs to see who can take over the most turf with their graffiti, but you also get to perform sick stunts on your inline skates. It naturally evolved the gameplay of the Tony Hawk games of the ’90s, and combined it with the anti-establishment graffiti themes that became entangled with ’90s culture in general.

A remastered version of the game was released for Steam in 2012, and is the best version of the game to play if you are only diving into Jet Set Radio today.

Aperture Tag

This 2014 mod for the Valve iconic game Portal eventually  got popular enough to stand on its own. It took a unique spin on the portal gun concept: instead of shooting portals, you shot paint at surfaces. The paint would have one of two properties: either you could slip-slide on it to achieve platform-clearing speeds, or you could bounce off it like a trampoline. You use these paints to solve  mind-bending puzzles characteristic of the Portal series.

A fun fact: the developers of Aperture Tag originally made a paint-tagging indie game in 2009 called Tag: the Power of Paint. Their work on that game is what convinced Valve to have them make Aperture Tag and incorporate it into the Portal mythos.

de Blob series

Not all tagging has to be illegal in video games. In fact, in the de Blob series by Blue Tongue Entertainment, it’s how you bring a dead city back to life! Players start out as a blob of sentient “water,” and it’s their job to steal paint from roaming Paintbots in order to mix up the colors needed to bring a city back to living color. This game also had a killer soundtrack that got more and more active the more of the city you repainted.

Even though the painting you did in these games wasn’t illegal, it was still anti-establishment in a way, as you were fighting the INKT Corporation, the ones responsible for draining color from the city in the first place.

The first game was originally a Wii exclusive. Both entries in the series were eventually ported over to current-gen consoles via developer Blitworks.

If for some reason you are looking for something that is the antithesis of Splatoon 2 entirely, but single-player,  our next pick may be for you…

Honorable mention: Super Mario Sunshine

If you ever get tired of Splatoon 2 gameplay entirely but still want a quality Nintendo game,  we would like to suggest Super Mario Sunshine.  In terms of plot, it is pretty much the opposite of Splatoon 2. Instead of tagging cityscapes with graffiti as Mario, you are cleaning up pollution all over a tropical island. However, since your cleaning apparatus of choice in this game is your sentient water-spewing backpack F.L.U.D.D., you are still spraying stuff, just to clean instead of tag.

The gameplay is very different from Splatoon 2. Super Mario Sunshine is a puzzle platformer, with a semi-open world to explore and a string of quests to complete for various oddly-shaped NPCs. That said, the game is full of interesting twists and challenging platforming segments, and is worth your time regardless.

Super Mario Sunshine is currently available as part of the  Super Mario 3D All Stars collection for the Nintendo Switch.

Did we miss any other effective single-player alternatives to Splatoon 2? Probably. If that is the case, feel free to let us know in the comments below. And stay tuned to SQUAD for more Nintendo gaming news and  features!

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Phillip Miner

Phillip has over a decade of experience writing about video games. Yes, over a decade! He's been on publications ranging from the Escapist to local papers and beyond.
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