Ink tanks are containers resembling oversized insulated sports water bottles filled with ink. Each tank is made primarily of clear plastic, with caps on its top and bottom, and is worn by players via two short backpack-like straps attached to the top area of the tank. Players typically wear ink tanks on their back during battle as a way to store ink.
The ink tank on the back of the player indicates the amount of ink available in real-time, which flashes red when a player is out of ink. When out of ink, weapons can no longer be used in their regular state, and a notification appears, stating "low ink!" with a small red X upon an ink tank icon. Ink tanks can be refilled slowly by ceasing to use a weapon, or quickly via entering swim form in similarly-colored ink. While submerged, an ink tank icon appears, displaying the current capacity of the ink tank, which disappears once full. Upon using a weapon, the ink tank temporarily stops recharging ink, showing a white space where the ink was used until the player finishes. A red LED light on top of the ink tank accompanied by a sound effect lights up when there is enough ink to deploy the player's currently equipped sub weapon, and a small red arrow indicates how much ink is necessary to use it. Using a special weapon immediately refills the ink tank.
|Ink Tank Upgrades
Using the Inkling Squid amiibo allows the player to unlock limited-ink challenges for Gusher Gauntlet, Floating Sponge Garden, Inkvisible Avenues and Spongy Observatory in which the player has to complete the levels without running out of ink. Agent 3 is given extra ink tanks in addition to the regular ink tank, represented by a large indicator that appears on the left side of the screen, showing how much ink is left. Whenever Agent 3 refills ink for their regular ink tank (submerged or not), it consumes ink from the extra ink tanks. If the extra tanks are used up, Agent 3 can no longer refill ink for the regular ink tank, even when submerged. Using up all ink causes the mission to fail. The player is given one extra ink tank in Gusher Gauntlet, one and a half in Floating Sponge Garden and two in Inkvisible Avenues and Spongy Observatory.
In Splatoon 2, the ink tank functions identically to its Splatoon counterpart, though its design is now more stylized, as a plastic latch resembling a sports bottle cap has been added. The indicator to show how much ink is needed to use a sub weapon now appears as part of the icon that appears when submerged in ink.
In Version 3.2.0, a new version of the ink tank with 10% more ink capacity than the normal version exclusive to the Splattershot Jr. and its variants was introduced. This special ink tank is wider, with a rounded cap resembling a baby bottle, referencing the fact that the Splattershot Jr. is the starting weapon for beginner players.
In Salmon Run, players have a lifesaver which also functions as an ink tank. The ink capacity and current ink level is displayed via the lifesaver's circular shape, filling up counter-clockwise and depleting clockwise.
|Ink Tank Upgrades
In the Octo Expansion, Agent 8 wakes up with a uniquely designed ink tank on their back, resembling more of a backpack than a water bottle. It has a hook which is used to hold a liquid bag that fills up and explodes, splatting Agent 8 whenever they fail a test. These bags are detonated by C.Q. Cumber. Agent 8 still wears the ink tank even during unarmed missions.
Octo Expansion introduces ink refillers, which are smaller bottles of ink that instantly refill Agent 8's ink tank to full when picked up. Ink refillers appear alongside the return of limited-ink challenges from Splatoon's Octo Valley in the form of mission objectives. These missions are Shrinky Ink Station, All That 8-Ball Station, Dinky Ink Station, and Ink & Watch Station. Ink refillers are the only way to refill ink in these stations, as the ability to passively regenerate ink (submerged or not) is disabled altogether; submerging in ink displays a no symbol to signify this. Depleting the ink tank leaves Agent 8 with a few seconds to collect an ink refiller, signified by electronic alarm sounds and their tank's liquid bag pulsating. Failure to do so causes the ink tank's liquid bag to detonate, failing the mission. The ink refillers replace the additional ink tank mechanic found in Octo Valley's limited-ink challenges.
In Splatoon 3, the ink tank functions identically to its predecessors, featuring a new, slimmer design, resembling a drinking pouch or hydration pack. Each ink tank has an internal dip tube that connects the cap of the ink tank to the bottom of its basin. The red arrow which indicates how much ink is needed to deploy the sub weapon is replaced by a thick, red, horizontal line.
The Splattershot Jr. and its variant retain their higher ink capacity from Splatoon 2, but no longer give players a unique ink tank.
In Salmon Run Next Wave, lifesavers return as an equivalent to ink tanks, with a slightly altered design. Players are now able to throw Golden Eggs, which depletes the lifesaver's ink levels identically to throwing a Splat Bomb.
Agent 3's ink tank may be upgraded similar to the Captain and Agent 4's, though the upgrades only take affect in missions where the Hero Gear is worn.
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