As impressed as I was by this during last year's E3, I haven't really been following it. I was surprised to find out it comes out at the end of the month!
Meanwhile, Nintendo is running a kind of super-limited demo thing this weekend, calling it a Global Testfire . I was only able to play last night for an hour last night, but I had a lot of fun.
It plays pretty smoothly. There's something really satisfying about covering segments of the floor in paint. It has a texture, too, which I wasn't expecting. There seems to be a difference between covering a blank bit of floor and one already covered. It's thicker. I don't know that it affects gameplay at all, and maybe I'm imagining it, but it's a nice detail.
Another nice detail is that Nintendo has including a kind of Doodle Jump mini-game to play on the pad between rounds. It's incredibly simplistic, but it's neat anyway. Plus it saves your progress between bouts.
Unfortunately, this leads to one of the issues. The matches themselves are three minutes long. That in itself isn't a problem. It actually seems to be just the right amount of time to madly try and cover as much territory as you can ("killing" enemies as you go by trapping them in your color). However, it seems to take just as long to get into the next session. It's probably less, but it's longer than it should be a lot shorter. That little mini-game can only hold your interest for so long. It's not a big enough problem to spoil the fun, but over time it'll make the game less appealing, I think.
Another issue is the weaponry. I tried all of them, but the paint roller was the clear winner. By the end of the hour, almost everyone was using it.
The roller covered ground a lot better and made taking out an opponent easier, too. There are benefits to the other weapons, of course. For example, there are walls that can be covered, and the roller only works on the ground (with a mild splash effect when you first use it). Covering the walls allow for better squid travel (players can easily drop into squid-mode to swim in their color paint, even up walls). Each weapon comes with it's own power-up weapon, too (gained after covering a certain amount of ground, it seems). Some of these might be more useful than the blast cannon that comes with the roller. But in the end, none of these benefits outweigh the power of that roller.
If this game weren't coming out so soon, I'd figure they'd have time to balance the weapons. And maybe they will in a patch or something, but as it stands, it's problematic.
There was only one game mode in the demo, and I only got to try 2 maps. Maybe that'll help, too.
Still, there is something so original and fun here while still being accessible, but also allowing for skilled play. I am definitely picking it up.