Splatoon 3 is the latest entry in Nintendo’s colorful first-person shooter series. Between PVP, PVE, and single-player content, Splatoon 3 has a wide variety of game modes to suit the preferences of many types of players. Whether you’re a returning veteran or a brand new Squid-Kid, there is a lot of content for players to dive into when launching the game for the first time.
To help make it less overwhelming, we’ll be looking at all the game modes in Splatoon 3. We’ll rank each based on how essential it is to the Splatoon experience, and explain the basics of how each one works to help you make a name for yourself in Splatsville.
All Splatoon 3 Game Modes, Ranked Worst to Best
Let’s dive right into our list of all game modes in Splatoon 3, ranked from fun to fresh! Keeping reading down to #1 to find our pick for the very best game mode in Splatoon 3.
What does every FPS game need? A collectible card game based on it! Tableturf Battle is an exciting addition to Splatoon 3 that combines the Turf War mode with an in-universe collectable card battler. You can collect cards by increasing your Tableturf Rank, leveling up the catalog, exploring Alterna in the single-player campaign, or trying your luck at the Shell-Out Machine. With over 160 cards to collect, this mode will keep players coming back to complete their collection.
Where to Find this Mode
You can check out Tableturf Battle at the Tableturf Battle Dojo. This dojo can be a bit tough to find for players new to Splatsville. Head behind Crush Station and there will be a small courtyard near the entrance to Grizzco Industries. Talk to the staff standing near the table and checkered banner to begin a match of Tableturf Battle.
How to Play Tableturf Battle
This game mode essentially mirrors a Turf War match, only in card form. Each match lasts twelve turns, wherein players attempt to cover as much of the grid as possible in their color ink. Players use decks of fifteen cards, with each card having a unique pattern of ink placement. Card placement cannot result in overlapping ink, so play cards carefully.
Players can pass a turn, discarding a card from their hand to gain a Special Point. Special Spaces allow players to spend Special Points to activate Special Attacks, which allow you to overlap Special Attack ink in already-inked spaces. Whoever has more spaces covered by their color of ink at the end of twelve turns wins. Tableturf Battle can be enjoyed offline against NPC opponents from around Splatsville. Nintendo has also announced that they’ll be adding online PVP Tableturf Battles in a future update.
“Return of the Mammalians” Single-Player Campaign
One of the most beloved aspects of the Splatoon series are the characters and the story of the world they live in. Continuing the tradition of previous games in the series, Splatoon 3 builds upon the post-apocalyptic Splatoon world with its single-player campaign, entitled “Return of the Mammalians.” This campaign sees our player character join forces with the Squid Sisters — Callie and Marie — to explore the bizarre world of Alterna as they attempt to track down the kidnapped Cap’n Cuttlefish. Along the way, they will face off against Deep Cut’s Shiver, Frye, and Big Man, all while uncovering the secret of the mysterious Fuzzy Ooze.
Where to Find this Mode
There is no building or signs that points players to the location of this single-player campaign. To find it, look to the left at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the entrance of the PvP lobby. There, Cap’n Cuttlefish can be seen poking his head out of the sewer grate. Head over to investigate and enter the grate to access the single-player campaign.
How to Play “Return of the Mammalians” Single Player Campaign
The campaign takes place across six sites each containing several levels for players to complete. Each level involves some degree of puzzle solving and platforming using different weapons and environmental objects to reach the goal. The diversity of weapons and mechanics required to complete each level makes a great introduction for new players to get their feet wet in the world of Splatoon 3.
Aside from progressing through levels, the world of Alterna also has a variety of secrets to discover. Cover the overworld turf with ink to gain Upgrade Points used to upgrade your abilities. As players ink the turf, they may also uncover hidden items that unlock collectables for their lockers or packs of Tableturf cards. There’s a lot more to discover during the “Return of the Mammalians” campaign, so it is definitely worth checking out, especially for new players.
Anarchy Battles consist of a variety of ranked game modes and serves as Splatoon 3’s competitive multiplayer PVP mode. These matches tend to be more intense than Turf War matches, and the game modes involved are more objective-focused. As players win Anarchy Battles, their rank will start to increase, while losing battles can decrease their rank. Team coordination is essential for success in this game mode.
Where to Find this Mode
You can access Anarchy Battles from the Lobby. The Lobby is the large tower located at the top of the steps directly in front of where the player spawns in Splatsville. From inside the Lobby, enter the elevator and select either Anarchy Battle (Open) or Anarchy Battle (Series). Playing an Open match allows friends to group up or solo players to play alone. The Series option is only for solo players and involves a series of battles where the goal is to win five of those battles before losing three in order to gain the maximum amount of rank points.
How to Play Anarchy Battles
Anarchy Battles consist of four total game modes that rotate throughout the day, much like stages. The four modes include:
- Splat Zones: Plays like a typical King of the Hill game mode. The objective is to control the titular “Splat Zone” or zones by covering it in ink. Whichever team maintains control of the Splat Zone for the allotted time wins.
- Tower Control: Plays similarly to a “push” mode, wherein teams attempt to control the tower as it moves towards the enemy side of the map. Whichever team is able to push the tower the closest to the enemy base, wins.
- Rainmaker: The most unique of the Anarchy Battle modes. In this mode, teams attempt to capture the Rainmaker weapon from the center of the map and carry it to the enemy team’s base, passing checkpoints along the way. Only one player can hold the Rainmaker at a time, and it functions as quite the powerful weapon, making matches in this mode potentially very chaotic.
- Clam Blitz: Players collect clams from around the map and attempt to score points by tossing these clams into the opposing team’s goal. The team that scores the most points, wins.
Salmon Run – The Next Wave
First introduced in Splatoon 2, Salmon Run is Splatoon’s PVE mode. This mode allows players to team up to take on waves of Salmonids, attempting to collect Golden Eggs for the enigmatic Mr. Grizz of Grizzco. Splatoon 3 introduced Salmon Run – The Next Wave as a follow-up to the mode introduced in the previous title. Completing waves of Salmon Run earns players rewards that they can redeem at the Grizzco counter. Rewards include gear, food and drink tickets, and cash.
Where to Find this Mode
Salmon Run is located in the Grizzco building next to Crush Station, just to the right of the Lobby tower. Head to the top of the stairs when you first enter Splatsville. Here, look for the large orange sign to the right of the stairs. Inside that building, talk to the statue of Mr. Grizz to queue for a match of Salmon Run.
How to Play Salmon Run – The Next Wave
The goal of this game mode is to collect the specified number of Golden Eggs each round by defeating Boss Salmonids and bringing their eggs to the egg basket. Players will have to work together to survive the oncoming waves of Salmonid who will attempt to splat them. At the start of each wave, players are given one of four designated weapons provided by Grizzco.
Successfully surviving each wave and collecting the required number of Golden Eggs will boost a player’s job title along with their pay rate. Titles range from Apprentice to Eggsecutive VP, with the potential to hit a 230% point multiplier at that rank. New to Salmon Run – The Next Wave, players will have the chance to encounter the King Salmonid Cohozuna. This can occur during the Xtrawave, which happens if players win enough consecutive rounds. Players have the chance to earn extra rewards in the form of shells that can be exchanged for rarer items if they successfully take down Cohozuna. Test your skills against this tough boss and reap the bonus rewards!
Of all the game modes in Splatoon 3, Turf War is by far the most iconic one. The novelty of coating the map in your team’s color of ink in order to win a match is what gives Splatoon its identity as a series and sets it apart from other FPS games. Turf War is a mode that is easy to understand but difficult to master. This makes it a perfect mode for both newcomers and veterans to enjoy. It is the quintessential Splatoon experience!
Where to Find this Mode
Turf War is accessed from the Lobby. Head up the stairs from where you spawn into Splatsville and enter the Lobby tower at the top. Once inside, enter the elevator and select Turf War. It should be the selected mode by default.
How to Play Turf War
The objective of this mode is to cover as much of the map in your team’s color ink as possible. Teams of four players will face off against each other in this mode. They start on opposite sides of the map and have three minutes to paint the map in their team’s ink. Players are eliminated when hit with enough enemy ink, which forces them to wait a time penalty before respawning back at their base.
Only ink painted on horizontal surfaces counts, so strategizing how to most efficiently cover the map is key to victory. Depending on which weapons players are using, a different strategy might have to be enacted. At the end of the three minute time limit, the team that has inked the largest percentage of the map is the winner. Learning the layout of maps and how different weapons function are important aspects to optimizing strategy for Turf War. Whether you play casually or competitively, Turf War is a fantastic game mode that makes up the heart and soul of Splatoon 3.
Join the High Ground
Do you agree with our list of the Splatoon 3 game modes ranked? Which game modes do you think are essential to the Splatoon experience? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of our upcoming Splatoon 3 guides!