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Splatoon starts out with the player being able to pick a male or female kid that is called an "inkling". The player can choose up to eye color and skin tone. After doing so, the player goes through a tutorial about the controls. The player can shoot ink out of a gun and turn into a squid to swim in that ink. The player can get more ink by swimming in it.
After the tutorial, the player squid-jumps to a city called "Inkopolis" they have the option to go into a turf war. In turf war, the player gets put into a team of four and goes up against another team of four inklings. Both try to cover enough ground to win the turf war. The player can also level up by doing this.