There are several game modes available for play at the Lobby. Each of them have different rules and objectives, so being able to adapt to each mode is crucial to win consistently.
Regular Battle: Turf War
Turf War is the only mode for Regular Battle. The goal of Turf War is simple: the team that covers the most turf with ink within 2 minutes wins. Teams are judged by the percentage of the map in their color. Only areas visible from the overhead view of the stage are counted, so walls don't contribute points and ramps give less points than a flat path of the same length. Individual player placings are based on the amount they've inked. Unlike Ranked modes, it is much less clear which team is winning. The only indicator is the player counter on the top of the screen. The team that is winning will have larger squid icons, and the losing team will get a Danger warning if they are at a major coverage deficit.
Turf War is the most volatile mode in the game. Since the winner is only decided at the end of the match, the outcome of the match really depends on the last 30 seconds of the game. That said, skillful and consistent play is still needed throughout the match to ensure victory. Your objective for most of the match is really to control contested territory, usually the center of the map, since it is much easier to hold a pushing team back than to be the one pushing in. If you're able to keep your side and the middle inked while locking enemies into their side, a win is almost certain. However, the losing team can still mount a comeback pretty easily. A rogue player that manages to slip past enemy defenses can paint the enemy's side uncontested while serving as a super jump spot for teammates. An overly aggressive push that results in multiple enemy deaths can also create an opening long enough for the losers to turn the tables.
At the start of the match, players should split up to cover as much turf individually as they can. You can focus on getting to the center of the map as quickly as possible to claim and secure that area, or ink just enough turf to get your special, giving you an edge in the initial engagement. Don't worry about leaving most of your base uninked; you're in no hurry to do so and respawning players can usually do it for you. In general, prioritize inking enemy turf over neutral turf, since you will gain points while deducting them from the enemy. Find a good balance between turfing and hunting. Splatting foes provide a short window of time for you to spread ink undeterred, but being too aggressive can cause you to neglect inking turf completely. Inkstrikes are stronger here than in any other mode, as they let you get free points from anywhere on the map. A common strategy is to launch an Inkstrike right before the match ends. The Inkstrike will cover a bunch of enemy turf, but since the match has already ended, foes cannot reclaim the turf.
Ranked Battles are a bit more intense and high-stakes than Regular Battles. They provide more Battle Points and money overall when you win, but it is possible to get nothing at all if the enemy gets a KO. You're also competing with players at roughly your own skill level, all looking to rise up the ranks. Matches take 5 minutes instead of 2, objective progress is clearly defined, and the addition of Overtime allows for difficult but triumphant comebacks.
Splat Zones mode has one or two dedicated areas to cover with ink, in which if an area is controlled by a team, it counts down a timer for how long they hold the area. Players win immediately if the timer hits zero, or having the lowest amount remaining when time for the match ends.
- When on the tower, the small pole in the middle can be used to defend the player from enemy attacks. This is good when the opposing team has a charger or a splatling on their side.
- If the enemies are on the tower, a player should get on the choke points and kill them from afar.
For high-damage, short range weapons (e.g. most Rollers and Blasters)
It is recommended that these players should be the ones to stay on the tower. Rollers and Blasters deal a very large amount of damage, good for close range fighting, especially if an enemy climbs on the tower.
For long-range weapons (e.g. most Chargers and Squelchers):
These players should stay on choke points (not the tower) and snipe those who try to claim the tower.
For mid-range weapons (e.g. most Shooters) and skirmishers (e.g. Inkbrushes):
These players should stay in the area around the tower and destroy those who try to get on. They should only get on the tower when no one else is.
- Ink Mines are effective at keeping others off the tower. In fact, the enemy team can technically kill their comrades. If an opponent gets on the tower and kills you on the opposite side to the ink mine then moves round, and a teammate inks that side, then it will detonate and kill the player on the tower.
- Killer Wails can be used to blast off whoever is on the tower.
- The Kraken and Bubbler make the player invincible. However, an Inkling with one of these abilities active will be knocked back when hit with any weapon, so they can be forced off the tower. Care must be taken to avoid getting pushed off the tower into water.
- Inkstrikes must be shot a distance ahead of the tower on its path, so that it will be effective in reclaiming the tower. Otherwise it will just miss.
- Splash Walls can be put in front of the tower in times of pain.
- Suction Bombs stick to the tower and cover a large area, but their slow detonation time means that Inklings riding the tower may be able to protect themselves by moving to the opposite side of the spire. For best effect, try to throw one on the far side of the platform, forcing the riders to move to the side you're on, where they can be attacked with main weapons.
- Beakons can be used on choke points to force the enemy team off the tower.
- They can also be used on the tower as weak shields and as a place for your teammates to super jump.
Hero Mode: Octo Valley
The primary solo campaign for the game. It features Agent 3, an Inkling trying to stop an unknown threat from stealing the Great Zapfish which powers all of Inkopolis.