We covered Splatoon extensively leading up to its May 29 release in this strategic preview and recent hands-on straight from Nintendo's headquarters. Now the game is officially available and it's time to make a mess!

Splatoon has plenty to offer with single player missions and online multiplayer, where you work in teams of four to create paint-covered havoc while squashing opponents who get in the way. If you need help leveling up or choosing the right weapon, Prima’s Splatoon beginner tips will transform you into a paint-shooting machine. 

Getting the most from your weapons 

When it comes to weapons, you have so much more to choose from than the basic Splattershot and Splattershot Jr. You'll start with such a gun at the beginning of the game, but as you level up, you'll gain access to quite an arsenal.

First you have the Aerospray MG, an advanced model of the Splattershot that lets you spread more paint. Next is the Jet Squelcher, a ranged weapon that lets you pick off enemies from a distance.  Then we have the Blaster, a cannon that shoots a large amount of paint. This weapon is especially good for players who prefer to attack from far away without using a precision weapon like the Jet Squelcher.  Although it takes time to reload, the payoff is worth the wait. 

Next up are the charge guns. The first one you'll be able to acquire is the Splat Charger, which shoots ink in straight lines. While this may seem useless to players who prefer to make a big mess, gamers who prefer precision will dig it. Afterwards you'll gain access to the E-liter 3K, with greater accuracy. You can also attach a Splatterscope for improved aiming capability. Slow fire rate, but big time damage. 

Finally you have Rollers, which let you cover the ground with as much paint as possible. This is great for melee-based players who want to strike quickly, although it leaves no way to hit enemies from a distance, nor get paint on the walls. You'll start with the Splat Roller but eventually unlock the Dynamo Roller, which forces the player to move slower but deflects incoming fire. When using the Rollers, you'll want to reload all the time to avoid squeezing the trigger without the messy payoff. 

Secondary Weapons 

Over the course of the game you'll earn secondary weapons to use intermittently alongside your guns. You'll start with a basic Splat Bomb, which explodes after a few seconds and covers a good amount of area with paint while taking out enemies in range. Over the course of the game you can upgrade to a Suction Bomb that draws enemies closer before exploding and a Burst Bomb that covers more range once it detonates. 

Other weapons can be picked up as well, including the enemy-tracking Seeker that explodes on contact, the Splash Wall keeps an area covered with your paint and the Ink Mine, which like a proximity mine in Goldeneye explodes when someone gets close. 

Not every Secondary Weapon is for defensive purposes, as you can also use a Squid Beacon to call in support. Once this is activated anywhere on the map, the player can simply tap a squad mate on the GamePad touch-screen and he or she will warp to that location almost immediately, saving a lot of time. 

Special Weapons make a super mess 

Special Weapons are available for a limited time and vary depending by selection, but they pack enough of a punch to turn the tide in your favor – and get more ink on the walls and floors.

The Inkzooka and Inkstrike are more commonplace, allowing you to fire either a swirling load of paint at incoming foes or call upon a mighty blast of paint from above. You'll want to time these attacks carefully, as they cover a lot of ground – and can take out multiple foes at once.

The Bubbler is a defensive technique where you and your teammates get covered in temporary shielding – via bubbles – that let you get around and quickly take out opponents without danger of getting hit. 

There are other items that can be unlocked, including the Killer Wall, the Bomb Rush and the Kraken (which, of course, you must release), so be sure to see what's in the shop and experiment. 

Leveling up

When you fire up Splatoon, you'll want jump into either online multiplayer or the single player missions for two reasons. First, you'll learn the basics, allowing you to become better at the game, whether you use the traditional aiming style or motion-supported GamePad; you can make this selection on the pause menu.

Second and probably most important, you'll unlock options in the game, including new missions to tackle against enemies in Octo Valley, and new gear that can be purchased.

The town of Inkopolis won’t give you much street (or is it ink?) cred until you reach level four. Certain shops won't be open, and some characters won't disclose much information about the city until you advance through the game. All you need to do is play through a number of multiplayer matches and, win or lose you'll level and eventually open up the place. 

Additionally, the game’s single player mode is a great way to master Splatoon. You won’t have to worry about human adversaries while experimenting with different weapons and picking up collectibles.

Once you level up to certain points, buy new gear for your character and some of the more advanced weapons in the game, including the Splat Roller, Jet Squelcher and Splatterscope. 

Make a mess 

When playing multiplayer, you may feel tempted to hunt down enemies who wronged you, or at the very least go on a splatting rampage. While entertaining, stick to your primary objective of spreading as much paint as possible. 

At the end of each match, the game tallies the amount of paint from both sides, and the team covering the most space emerges victorious. "Splats" (think kills, but in paintball terms) don't matter, even though you’ll view these stats. 

Of course, it doesn't hurt to wipe out a few foes in the process. If someone gets in your way, by all means, run over them or throw a Burst Bomb. 

Don't forget your amiibo 

Finally, it's worth noting that Splatoon works with unique amiibo (games/splatoon/feature/nintendo-brought-its-splatoon-amiibo-nyc) in the form of the Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl and Squid. These characters unlock additional single player challenges in the game, a nice little bonus on top of looking cool on a shelf. 

Splatoon is available now. While you wait for it to download, be sure to check out this peek at the official Prima guide and get the lowdown on where to find the Sunken Scrolls. We'll even tell you how to unlock all of the weapons.