Splatoon 2’s pre-release Cake vs. Ice Cream Splatfest won’t be kicking off for another week, but that didn’t stop us from taking a stroll through Inkopolis Square, thanks to the now downloadable Splatfest World Premiere. This kind of active lobby was a huge part of giving the first Splatoon its signature style and feel, and I’m pleased to say that spirit’s alive and well in the sequel. Ultimately, it’s retaining the same facilities and features, but it’s all about the little touches that expand and highlight the aquatic attitude of these squid kids and their stomping grounds.

You’ll start off the demo by customizing your own Inkling, now with more options for eye colors, hairstyles and even leg wear. After a quick tutorial, you’ll Super Jump right into Inkopolis Square and get the latest on this dessert dissent, delivered by the duo from Off the Hook. Pearl and Marina have a lot of personality so far, distinct both from each other and the Squid Sisters, and I can’t wait to see more of them through this event — and future ones as well. After the rundown, you’ll be free to pick a side of this sweets scuffle and explore the area all you like.

My first instinct was to head to each of the shops to get to know the local staff. You won’t be able to purchase anything, though you can scope out some of the wares and chat with the shopkeepers regardless. While the bar’s set pretty high when it comes to how much I loved Annie and Moe, Flow and her partner, Craymond, make shopping for headgear just as entertaining as before — if only for the little guy’s exclamations. Jelfonzo’s antiquated speech trait isn’t as endearing to me as his bowtie, but the real winner here is shoe selling crustacean Bisk.

Fans of Crusty Sean need not worry, as he’s driven himself over to provide a new service via his food truck. In exchange for tickets, he’ll offer some deep fried delights to boost your cash gains or give you a little extra experience. If you’re after specific abilities for your gear and don’t want to deal with back alley urchins, you’ll also be able to grab a drink to quicken your threads’ growth and even increase the odds of getting certain skills. No word on how to grab tickets, but a look around his truck will show he’s keeping the Squid Sisters love going strong with his windshield shade.

The Shoal arcade is also looking fresh, though you can’t go in to check out the interior. Glancing in will show that some old favorites are still available in spirit as least, with the first Splatoon’s minigames getting arcade machines. Right next door you can spot Off the Hook relaxing and might even get a wave or two from the idols, and just a few doors down you might spot Spyke hanging out in a coffee shop. Murch can also be found hanging out here, though without being at the proper level all you’ll get from him are insults.

Last but not least, the post box will let you show your support or just draw something fun. Miiverse may not be on the Switch, but the spirit of sketching something special for Splatfests is alive and well. These drawings pop up above Inklings and even appear as graffiti in the Square, giving the place extra flair and personal touches. This is the Inkling’s turf after all, and there’s no better way to show it than with some hand-drawn style.

That’s it for our tour of Inkopolis Square, though there’s still plenty of little touches to take in. Stickers, decor and more keep the vibe going strong, though you’ll have to wait for the full game’s release to see everything this place has to offer. That said, the party kicks off on July 15th for everyone with a Nintendo Switch. See you all online, it’s gonna be off the hook!

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg