10 tips to know before you start

Side Order, Splatoon 3’s main DLC campaign, is available now, and we have a few tips and tricks in this guide to get you started.

In this game mode, you’ll be tasked with scaling the Spire of Order. Each floor offers a different challenge, and depending on the weapon you pick, some of these can get quite difficult. We’ve put together a list of tips, tricks, and strategies for clearing the Side Order campaign, plus a list of things you should know before you start playing. We won’t include any story spoilers here, so if you’re looking to avoid them, you’re in the clear. Let’s get right into our Splatoon 3 Side Order guide, then.

What is Side Order’s gameplay like?

Splatoon 3 Side Order guide

If you don’t know what kind of gameplay Side Order offers, here’s a quick explanation. You, as Agent 8 from Octo Expansion, are tasked with climbing the Spire of Order. Whereas Splatoon 3’s main campaign is a series of fairly straightforward challenges, Side Order is a rogue-lite campaign. Once you start the game, you can choose from three short challenges to complete. Each challenge gives you two rewards: a Color Chip and some Membux. Color Chips, as their name implies, come in different colors and offer an assortment of buffs. For example, red Color Chips correspond to power. One kind of red Color Chip increases your weapon’s strength, while another increases its rate of fire. Every floor of the Spire of Order lets you choose a new Color Chip to augment your abilities, so you can stack on a whole bunch of them. They do disappear at the end of the run, however – so these buffs are only present until you clear the last floor or lose.

Spire of Order tips & tricks

Side Order Tips

We’ve put together a list of helpful tips and tricks, plus some tidbits of information you should know before you start playing the game. Overall, Side Order should be rather easy for players with hundreds of hours on the game, but possibly a bit difficult for more casual players who don’t have as much experience using the weapons and such. If you fall into the latter category, here’s our Side Order guide to help you out.

  • The full DLC only takes about 2 hours to clear. This is somewhat misleading, though – Side Order is sort of short on purpose with a focus on replayability. The Spire of Order has 30 floors, and once you clear the last one, you’ve technically cleared the whole DLC. Fortunately, the game offers lots of different rewards for clearing the Spire of Order over and over again. Even though the story is short, the replay value is definitely here. If you’re invested in 100%ing the DLC, it will definitely add lots of hours to your Splatoon 3 playtime.
  • Try different Palettes. As you play through the Spire, you’ll gain access to new Palettes – which are basically new main weapons you can take up the spire. Without going into too much detail, there are special rewards for clearing the Spire of Order with each Palette. Some of them make the game tougher, however – the Splat Charger in particular can be difficult to use if you’re being swarmed by enemies.
  • Learn how to use Membux. Membux are a currency that you rack up while in the Spire of Order — it disappears once you lose. You can use Membux at Vending Machines to purchase Color Chips, extra lives, and more. One of Marina’s hacks also gives you the ability to spend Membux to continue your run if you lose all your lives – this ability isn’t available from the start, so you’ll need to purchase it with Priz (which you obtain from winning or losing Side Order runs). Speaking of Marina’s hacks…
  • Use Marina’s hacks! You can use Priz to purchase permanent upgrades that apply to every Spire of Order run you participate in after purchase. Some of these are really helpful. Increasing your max number of lives is quite possibly the most important upgrade here – especially since some of the Vending Machines in the Spire sell extra lives if you’ve lost at least one. Other Marina hacks include permanently increasing your attack power, defense, and more. After each Spire of Order run, you’ll want to check in with her and purchase any hacks you can. They’re all helpful.
  • Remember to use items. Certain Color Chips give enemies a higher chance to drop items. These items can be things like ink refills, Special-Move meter fill-ups, and armor. All three of these are incredibly helpful in a pinch. As you’re playing through Side Order, it’s probably a good idea to put some priority on Color Chips that increase enemy item-drop rate. All of Side Order’s bosses spawn enemies as underlings, in case you’re wondering, so the item drop bonuses aren’t at all useless against them.
  • 8-Balls can’t be knocked off the ledge. These stages were notorious in Octo Expansion. If you accidentally rolled the ball off-stage, you’d lose the level and get splatted immediately. Fortunately, that’s not the case in Side Order. Enemies can, however, push around the 8-Ball themselves, so make sure you dispatch them all before you roll the ball to its goal. The goals also function kind of like magnets; if the ball is close to the goal, it will draw it in with an electrical tractor beam. This means you can just push the ball into the general area of the goal and it will go in by itself. Nice!
  • Use Bombs on the portals. Some stages in Side Order require you to defeat portals that spawn enemies. These have a good amount of HP, and some weapons may struggle to take them out in good time. If that’s the case, remember to use your bombs. Suction Bombs in particular work great against enemy portals, because they explode immediately and damage everything in their immediate area.
  • Ink some shortcuts on walls. There are often times when enemies will swarm you, corner you, and then splat you. To prevent this from happening, ink some shortcuts on the walls (if the stage has them) for you to use later on. This can really help you in a pinch. It’s also just a good idea to ink as much as you can in general. If you take too much damage, you’ll enter a weakened state with reduced movement speed. If you get hit again, you will lose a life. In this state, it’s very difficult to ink the ground and flee at the same time, so it’s always good to prepare.
  • Manage your Special Moves. Side Order’s Vending Machines sometimes let you change your Special Moves for the rest of the run. We had the most success with Triple Splashdown. You’re left vulnerable for a moment, but it does a great job of clearing out nearby enemies. It’s not super useful against bosses, but it absolutely comes in clutch if you’re being swarmed by lessers. Trizooka is solid, too: you can aim it any direction you want and it deals high damage against both enemies and bosses alike.
  • If your armor breaks, just run. It’s also a good idea to hide behind walls, if there are any nearby. Some of Marina’s hacks let you perform a big leap into the air after your armor breaks so you can

That’s our Splatoon 3 Side Order guide, then. As you continue to climb the Spire of Order, you’ll be able to unlock more and more of Marina’s hacks to make the challenge easier. If you’re having trouble clearing the tower, keep at it! It’ll become easier in time. Did you find Side Order easy? What were some of the techniques you used? Feel free to let us know and share your own tips or experiences in the comments below.

If you’re looking for more Splatoon 3 guides, we’ve also written ones on Splatfests and Big Run events – which there are bound to be more of once the Side Order hype quiets down a little.

Splatoon 3 and Side Order are available now for Switch. Access the official site here.

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