Splatoon 2 is so close, I can almost taste its inky globules bouncing off my tongue. But before it arrives on July 21st, Nintendo is giving Switch owners another chance to play its superb shooter for free. This isn't a re-run of the Global Testfire however; this time, Nintendo's going big with Splatoon 2's very first Splatfest!
The Splatfest World Premiere begins on July 15th at 5pm BST, and will continue on until 9pm in the UK, making it a little more truncated than Splatoon's previous two-day-long paint-flinging jamborees. If you want to join in, you'll need to download the special demo from Nintendo's eShop, where it has yet to appear.
Splatfests, for those unfamiliar with the term, are just brilliant; in the original Splatoon, they transformed the game's hub area into a vast night-time street party, complete with dancers, fireworks, lasers, and absurdly catchy J-Pop belching through speakers—helping to create a wonderfully communal carnival atmosphere.
All this celebratory action continues on into the game itself, with maps being given a special neon-lit, night-time maker. The twist, however, is that players are asked to pick a team—by choosing between two generally benign concepts—before they fight it out on the painting fields. For Splatoon 2's four-hour-long demo event, you'll need to decide: cake or ice cream?
If this first free Splatfest tickles you enough to pick up the game, there's some more good news, courtesy of today's Splatoon 2-themed Nintendo Direct: regular full-scale Splatfest events have been promised for the next two years and, for the first time, participants will be able to tackle Splatfests in groups with their friends.
Oh, and there's one other big change. With Callie and Marie busy elsewhere in Splatoon 2, music and presenting duties will now be handled by the game's two new hosts: Marina and Pearl. They've got some big shoes to fill but, judging by their vocal performance in today's Nintendo Direct, we don't have much to worry about.