‘Splatoon 2’ Motion Controls vs. Stick: Don’t choose — use both

I hate motion controls. Unless you’re asking me to bowl on the Wii, I will refuse your offers of motion controls every single time. But when I started playing Splatoon 2, I forgot to turn the damn thing off, and I actually found myself really enjoying them.

If you’re just getting into Splatoon 2 and you’re not sure whether you should use the motion controls or the analog sticks, consider this: Why not use both?

Splatoon 2 motion controls vs. stick: The case for using them both

One of the benefits of the Nintendo Switch’s hybrid handheld-console hardware setup is that you can choose how you play your games. If you’re like me and you prefer to use the Switch in handheld mode, Splatoon 2 is surprisingly forgiving.

It’s not to say that motion control on the Switch is particularly good in general — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s use of motion control is, at best, painful. To be honest, I’d argue that the controls render the bow almost entirely inadequate in most combat situations. But Splatoon 2, much like its predecessor, finds ways to make motion control a necessary addition to the experience.

‘Splatoon 2’/Amanda Farough

Here’s the thing, though — motion controls aren’t as good in docked mode as they are in handheld mode. If you’re using the Joy Con slotted into the controller dock or you’ve opted for the Pro Controller, motion control feels really, really wrong. It creates some cognitive dissonance to use a controller designed for analog stick controls for motion control.

The sweet spot for motion control is opting to use both schemes. Splatoon 2 doesn’t force you to choose. I found that the most effective way to move through the game (and ink my way to victory) is to move around the game using both analog sticks while aiming with motion control.

I’d caution against using motion control to move your inkling around Splatoon 2. Having to re-center the camera every couple of minutes because it gets out of whack (and oh, does it get whacky) is a pain. Instead, use the right analog stick to control the camera, much as you normally would in a dual-analog setting.

Aiming with motion control feels imprecise at first. It feels like you should be missing every single target. Sure, it takes a little while to get used to it (especially if you’re an old-school gamer like yours truly), but once you get over the initial discomfort, motion control aiming is seamless and fluid.

Just don’t expect all games to make use of the Switch’s motion control in the same thoughtful capacity as Splatoon 2. We’re much more likely to see more Breath of the Wild bow shenanigans before we see Splatoon 2’s controls elsewhere.

More Splatoon coverage

Read more of our Splatoon news and coverage, including our impressions of the open beta back in March and at the Nintendo Switch event in January. Find out everything we learned about the game back in January. If you’re looking for more information about the April 2017 Nintendo Direct, check out the proceedings here. Or if you want to check out general Nintendo Switch news see reports of screen defects in the Switch and what you can expect if you’re trying to buy one.