The original Splatoon had no shortage of great maps to play on. While the game only boasted five at launch, the roster gradually grew to 16 over the course of the eight months post-release via free DLC. We’ve already seen the return of Moray Towers and…well…Port Mackerel, but what about other OG maps? It’d be crazy not to bring others back, and a recent datamine suggests that more may indeed be on the way. With an eye to the future, here are some of my top picks for returning Splatoon maps and how to remix them.

5. Flounder Heights

One of only two DLC maps highlighted on this list, Flounder Heights felt radically different from everything else that was out at the time. Set atop an apartment complex, the height and sheer size of the center towers made Heights feel absolutely massive. Not only were there multiple routes to leave the spawn (similar to Starfish Mainstage) but its spawn point was also one of the best-protected in the game. It was quite rare for a team to get trapped at their spawn in Flounder Heights, and I loved it for that. Ink rails would be perfect for quickly getting over the center towers on this map, especially if they were off to the side to allow for stealth flanking.

4. Blackbelly Skatepark

Blackbelly is largely a fan-favorite because of the dynamic its center pillar brings to the game (something that’s now manifested itself in Inkblot Art Academy). While controlling the center pillar wasn’t completely necessary to win a match, seeing who controlled it was often a decent indication of how the battle was going. That combined with the three ways to approach the opposing team’s side made playing Turf Wars on Blackbelly a real blast. The dual zones it sported for Splat Zones emphasized control of the center pillar even further and made it one of the best maps for that game mode. The perfect way to remix this one would be to replace the rubber buffers parallel to the pillar with sponges for an added point of contention between the tower-holders and the opposing team.

3. Camp Triggerfish

Camp Triggerfish is hands-down one of the most visually distinct maps in the series. Literally taking place at a campground, Triggerfish reveled in its earthy dirt-and-wood aesthetic. There’s just something extra satisfying about inking ground that isn’t concrete or metal. The floodgates off to the side of the map closed at the one-minute mark, ironically opening the floodgates to last-minute infiltration and comebacks. It’s hard to think of an alteration that wouldn’t hurt the integrity of this map; part of the fun was always trying to figure out how to get on the opponent’s side and semi-safely cause havoc. Since it already has a stage effect, this might be one best left untouched.

2. Kelp Dome

Ahh, Kelp Dome: the giant circular greenhouse with two constant elevation options. This map shares the same earthy tones as Camp Triggerfish but takes it to the next level by having almost all of the inkable turf here be dark soil. Kelp Dome stands out for both being the only circular map in the game and the only one that has a persistent elevation option over most of the map (Hammerhead Bridge also does this, but only in a straight line down the middle). The one flaw here is how easy it is to enter an opposing team’s side and completely trap them, sometimes reaching Port Mackerel levels of frustration. Adding a propeller lift right next to the spawn point would be the perfect way to allow players to have a fighting chance of getting back into the action.

1. Saltspray Rig

This is the map originally that sold me on Splatoon. The gorgeous blue backdrop, the shimmering water below and the overall brightness made this one of the most beautiful maps this side of Mahi-Mahi Resort. Not only was it bright and inviting, but the design was also brilliant in its simplicity. Saltspray was full of winding walkways and had a decent-sized platform close to spawn, but anyone who really spent time with the game knew that whenever Saltspray showed up on your screen, the race to the back of the map was on. If a team could hold the back area successfully, 9 times out of 10 they’d win the match. Far from being unfair, this single determining factor essentially turned the map into its own “King of the Hill” mode, and it was glorious. This is another map that can suffer from players getting trapped, so any way to get out of spawn would be a welcome addition here. Personally, though, I’d love to see them incorporate invisible platforms in some way.

So, what do you think of the list? Did your favorite Splatoon maps make the cut? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

  • Marty Allen

    Yes and yes, super-solid list, Brent. Saltspray Rig was my #1 jam, with Triggerfish and Kelp Dome coming right after them. Here’s to hoping your predictions are on point.