While Clam Blitz is very fun, it’s hampered by Splatoon 2's glaring flaws.
Clam Blitz, which was added to Splatoon 2 today, isn’t complicated to play, but is confusing to explain. In this game mode, you have to pick up golden clams that are scattered across the map and put them in the enemy’s basket. Each basket has a barrier that must be taken down before you can throw clams in, and to do that you need to get ten clams to make a football shaped Power Clam. Once you throw a Power Clam at the enemies’ basket, their barrier will come down and you can sink more clams into it. It’s a little bit like football, a little bit like basketball, and very chaotic and weird.
My first few rounds playing I had trouble following the action, but after a few games I got the hang of it. What helps are the icons that pop up on screen when certain important things happen. When someone makes a Power Clam, you’ll see an icon indicating where that player is, so you can either protect your teammate or splat your enemy. If the opposing team’s barrier has been broken you’ll see an icon directing you to the basket, and a note will pop up at the bottom of the screen reminding you to throw clams by pressing A.
All that might seem like overkill just from reading it, but games of Clam Blitz are very hectic and it’s easy to lose track of your goals. Every game of Clam Blitz I played was a total bloodbath in the center of the map where players fought for control. In the middle of the fray, it is so easy to completely forget where the hell the basket is, or to let someone with a Power Clam slip by you. This chaos is what makes winning Clam Blitz so exhilarating. When my team came together and used all our non verbal cues and barks to organize and execute a play, I felt like a fucking genius. Getting a Power Clam, hitting the button for “This Way!” and then sinking it into the barrier with the support of my team felt like being Michael Jordan. My absolute favorite moment was throwing a Power Clam, getting splatted, but breaking the barrier anyway. Boomshakalaka.
But because Clam Blitz relies on that kind of teamwork, bad games are really, really bad. You will never bemoan Splatoon’s lack of voice chat more strongly than when you see someone on the opposing team with a Power Clam approaching your basket and everyone else is on the ass end of the map. Sometimes you can see the game fall apart just because you can’t shout “Hey, he’s over there.” I’m really glad that players can change equipment now without backing out of a lobby, but I wish that I could see what guns my teammates are using and be able to coordinate equipment until we have a good line up. Snipers are very useful for protecting your basket in Clam Blitz, and getting randomly placed on a team without one could lose the game for you.
Clam Blitz is incredibly fun, but it’s sports-y nature can highlight Splatoon’s limitations. You actually have to put together plays in this mode, which is incredibly cool. Seeing that communication pay off feels awesome. It would just be so much easier if you could talk to each other.