While Splatoon has always walked its own path in terms of weapons, opting for more family-friendly firearms like ink pistols, paint buckets, and giant rollers, most serve a similar purpose to the arsenal you’d find in other competitive shooters. You will equip your main and sub-weapons for either close-, mid-, or long-range encounters, with the added wrinkle of also wanting to be able to cover a lot of ground area as well. Where things get interesting, in both Splatoon 3 and more traditional shooters, is when ultimate or special weapons are added into the mix.
Special weapons in Splatoon 3 are just as unpredictable yet simultaneously perfect for the theme of the game as the main weapons. To access these weapons in a match, you will need to build up a charge by inking as much ground as possible. Once fully charged up, you will be able to pull out one of these powerhouse tools in a key moment that can turn the tides of battle in your team’s favor. There’s plenty to pick from, and all of them sound good, but these are our picks for the best special weapons in Splatoon 3.
This new addition to Splatoon 3 was heavily shown off before the game came out, so naturally, a lot of players flocked to it to give it a try early on. This mobile tank is all it’s cracked up to be. You not only have a rapid-fire ink shooter but also the ability to lob a massive glob of ink. This does make you a bigger target and leaves your back exposed, but the Crab Tank is prepared for that as well. You can transform into mobile mode to quickly reposition and get the upper hand. Eventually, if you survive long enough, the Crab Tank will self-destruct (which won’t cause any damage) to keep you from abusing it for too long.
Perhaps this special weapon is too good, considering you almost always see it in a match. The Big Bubbler is a deployable special weapon that emits a giant sphere-shaped barrier that blocks all enemy ink. However, the team that made the barrier is free to shoot ink through it. This effectively creates a safe zone for one team to cover the ground attack without much danger at all since the only ways around it are for the other team to avoid your fire and get inside the dome or destroy it by hitting the top.
The Inkjet is a more risky special weapon, but in the right hands can be very strong. When used, you will be equipped with an ink-propelled jetpack that sends you high above the map and equips you with an ink blaster. While flying, you are spraying twin ink streams below that you can use to cover ground or even splat opponents by flying directly over them. You can’t move as fast and are an easy target for snipers in the air, but when used with good team coordination, you can execute some awesome assaults from above while your teammates push from below.
Another utility type special, the Wave Breaker basically asks the other team to do an obstacle course while fighting you. How it works is you throw down the device, which then sends out waves of ink in horizontal rings along the ground. If the enemy is hit by one, they will take damage, forcing them to try and jump over them. They can’t even try and hide below the surface, either, since it will tag enemies in squid form. It only sends three waves out before deactivating and can be destroyed if shot, so it’s best used when you can get the most bang for your buck out of it.
This is a special that you always hate to be on the receiving end of but certainly don’t mind using yourself. The Triple Inkstrike provides you with three orbs you toss out onto the map to designate where you want your ink missiles to land. These missiles explode into a massive column of ink, and the strike happens almost immediately after the ball is placed, so you don’t have to do too much planning ahead. Not only are these great for targeted coverage and attacking, but the ink streams last a decent amount of time as well, which can be used to block off smaller passageways.
This is a fun new Splatoon 3 special that gives you a chance to ride on an inflatable shark. That alone might make it worth using, but it does actually have a lot of power. After summoning the shark, you select your direction and are automatically launched forward along that path, leaving a trail of ink in your wake. When you either reach the distance limit or choose to detonate early yourself, the inflatable shark will stop and let out a short-range splash of ink to anyone and anything around it. This one, similar to the Inkjet, can put you at some risk but is just so fun and deadly when you line up a perfect shot.
Last up, we have the Ink Vac. This special is perfect for coordinated teams, mostly. It will equip you with the titular weapon, which doesn’t shoot at first, but instead sucks in ink that’s shot at you. If you are aiming at an enemy, they will also have slowed movement speed while caught in your suction. When the timer runs out, all that ink you’ve built up can then be launched out in one massive ink explosion. The risks here are that, if the enemy team is smart, they can avoid shooting at you so you don’t build up much ink, and you will still need to aim and at least be close when firing your final shot to get the value out of it.