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Splatoon 3 Story Mode Abilities Guide

Jack Bye Updated on by

Although the Splatoon franchise is renowned for its multiplayer, Splatoon 3’s single-player mode is a robust and engaging adventure in its own right that will test your abilities. As you travel across the underground islands of Alterna, you’ll complete fiendish puzzles, performs acrobatic platforming feats, and outgun whole hordes of Octarian enemies.  

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To meet these challenges, you’ll need to be as prepared as possible. Upgrading your Hero Gear and abilities means that you’ll be able to face each new level that Splatoon 3 throws your way. 

READ MORE: Splatoon 3 Weapon Tier List 

Splatoon 3 – Unlocking Abilities 

Splatoon 3 Abilities Unlock
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You’ll need two different resources before you can start unlocking Abilities in Splatoon 3. The first is Sardinium. This rare, Sardine-shaped metal can be found rarely when cleaning up the Fuzzy Ooze that plagues Alterna. Increasing amounts of Sardinium can be spent to unlock new upgrade tiers. 

Once upgrade tiers have been unlocked, individual upgrade nodes can be activated with Upgrade Points. These points are unlocked through your actions in Story Mode. Clearing Ooze, finding upgrade anchors, and picking up collectibles all count towards your total, so don’t be afraid to explore and gather resources. 

Splatoon 3 Abilities – Early-Game Tiers 

Splatoon 3 Abilities Early Game
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Tier 1 

  • Smallfry HP Up – Smallfry is a great sub-weapon for distracting and damaging enemies, but he can sometimes return to you quicker than you’d like. Upgrading his durability makes Smallfry a more essential part of your toolkit. 
  • Special Charge Up – This ability increases the rate at which your special gauge fills, allowing you to use special abilities much more often. When surrounded by enemy Octarians, it’s extremely handy to be able to blast them away all at once, and this ability ensures you’ll often be able to do so. 

Tier 2 

  • Ink Resistance Up – Wading through enemy ink can slow you to a crawl and lock you down at the worst possible time, but Ink Resistance Up gives you more of a chance at recovering and getting back to favorable ground. 
  • Better Hero Shot – The Hero Shot is a decent starting weapon, but is often outclassed by other loadout options available to you. It’s recommended to take this upgrade as soon as possible, as it turns the Hero Shot from a lackluster tool to a reliable, rapid piece of kit.
  • Ink-Tank Capacity Up – It never feels great to run out of ink in a pitched battle, especially when wielding a more ink-intensive weapon. Recharging can often leave you vulnerable, but this upgrade reduces the frequency of those periods of vulnerability. 

Splatoon 3 Abilities – Mid-Game Tiers 

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Tier 3 

  • Smallfry Ink Saver – Smallfry becomes almost indispensable with this upgrade, allowing you to throw him more often without worrying about your Ink reserves.
  • Get Splat Bombs – Smallfry isn’t the only sub-weapon available to you. If you’d like an option with more versatility and coverage potential, then it’s well worth investing in Splat Bombs.
  • Suit Recovery Up – Later levels in Splatoon 3 can be incredibly challenging, and this upgrade can be a saving grace, allowing your shields to recover more quickly after taking damage. 
  • Special Charge Up – A further increase to your special gauge charge speed, allowing you to use Special Moves as a regular part of your arsenal. 
  • Smallfry Quick Respawn – If Smallfry is defeated, this allows him to recover and be ready for throwing much quicker than before. 

Tier 4 

  • Ink-Tank Capacity Up – A second upgrade to the amount of ink that you can carry, allowing you to blast away for ages before having to worry about your ink reserves. 
  • Ink Resistance Up – A further increase to your speed when moving through enemy ink, letting you move at much closer to your unencumbered pace. 
  • Get Sensor – A radar that marks enemies and items while you’re diving in ink. A useful tool for getting your bearings and marking what you’ll need to focus on once you re-emerge. 
  • Ninja Squid – One of the most useful abilities in Splatoon 3, and one that you should unlock at soon as possible. Ninja Squid makes you much harder to detect while swimming in Ink, allowing you to get the drop on foes or make an inky escape. 
  • Get Splat bombs – An upgrade to your bombs if previously unlocked, powering up this sub-weapon’s ink grenades to a lethal level. 

Splatoon 3 Abilities – Late-Game Tiers 

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Tier 5 

  • Get Curling Bombs – Unlock a new sub-weapon that creates a path of ink before detonating. Useful as both a damage and traversal tool. 
  • Even Better Hero Shot – This final upgrade to your Hero Shot boosts its rate-of-fire once again, enabling it to perform alongside the best weapons in the game and splat Octarians with ease. 
  • Get Burst Bombs – A sub-weapon that bursts on impact, spreading a great deal of ink and dealing good damage at close range. Useful for coverage and damage. 

Tier 6 

  • Get Curling Bombs – An upgrade to your Curling Bombs, allowing this sub-weapon to perform at its peak. 
  • Get Sensor – An Upgrade to the sensor. At this level, the Sensor works well when paired with Ninja Squid, marking enemy positions while remaining perfectly hidden. 

Splatoon 3 Abilities – Final Upgrades – Tier 7 

  • Suit Recovery Up – Further speeds up your armor recovery after taking damage. In the late-game, this can be invaluable for reducing the risk of being splatted. 
  • Get Burst Bombs – Upgrade your Burst Bombs into hugely powerful projectiles, making you deadly to any enemies that dare to get up close. 
  • Smallfry Damage Up – This final ability upgrade turns Smallfry into a significant damage-dealer, able to compete with your other sub-weapons with ease. 

That wraps up our guide to Abilities in Splatoon 3’s Story Mode. Upgrade as much as possible and you’ll be an unstoppable ink-hurling machine.