|“||Sponges! Watch for shrinkage...||”|
— Agent 1
Sponges are a mechanic in the Splatoon series. They appear in the single-player modes Octo Valley, Octo Canyon, the Octo Expansion, and Return of the Mammalians, as well as several multiplayer stages in Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3. They serve as platforms and sometimes barriers.
Sponges begin as tiny yellow cubes suspended in the air. They rapidly expand when hit by Agent 3's ink, but shrink when hit by Octarian ink, making a unique rubbery sound in either case. They have small lights on the corners, which light up in the player's color ink when expanding and purple when being shrunk by Octarians. They become completely covered with Agent 3's ink no matter how or where they are shot, making it quite easy to swim on them in squid form. In early missions, sponges are located over safe surfaces and have few distractions, but later on, they are usually over bottomless pits and are surrounded by enemies, requiring careful travel.
In Splatoon 2
Sponges make a return in Splatoon 2, serving the same function as in the first game, although they can come in different shapes and sizes than before.
Like inkrails, they can be found in some multiplayer stages, primarily in the redesigned Port Mackerel and in other maps like Sturgeon Shipyard. In multiplayer, sponges start out as one team's color and cannot change colors during a match. They also take more ink to inflate. Ink Mines and Squid Beakons cannot be placed on sponges.
In Splatoon 3
Sponges return again in Splatoon 3, functioning the same as in Splatoon 2 and can be found in certain multiplayer stages.
- In Splatoon, one Burst Bomb immediately inflates a sponge to its maximum size. This can be a useful option in a pinch because of its speed.
- Shooting at the top of the enemy sponge will fill up your special gauge even when the sponge is drained.
Sponges are also part of the fifth area in Octo Valley.
In Splatoon 2
- Starfish Mainstage (Turf War and Splat Zones)
- Port Mackerel
- Sturgeon Shipyard (Turf War, Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker)
- Shellendorf Institute (Turf War and Tower Control)
- Goby Arena
- Piranha Pit (Turf War, Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Clam Blitz)
- Camp Triggerfish (Turf War, Splat Zones, and Tower Control)
- New Albacore Hotel (Turf War, Splat Zones, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz)
- Ancho-V Games
- Skipper Pavilion (Turf War, Splat Zones, and Tower Control)
- The Reef (Turf War, Tower Control and Rainmaker)
- Inkblot Art Academy (Clam Blitz)
- Musselforge Fitness (Turf War and Splat Zones)
- Arowana Mall
- Manta Maria (Rainmaker)
- MakoMart (Splat Zones and Tower Control)
- Sweet Valley Tentacles
- The Switches
- Railway Chillin'
- The Splat in our Zones
- Furler in the Ashes
- Welcome to Octopia (Mission #02)
- Octoseeker Shakedown (Mission #10)
- Suction-Cup Lookout (Sector 2)
- Towering Heights (Mission #18)
- Transfer Junction (Mission #24)
- A00 Abandoned Station
- A02 Far-Out Station
- A06 Bounce with Me Station
- C03A08 Bumpin' 8-Ball Station
- D01B15 Ink from Above Station
- C02 Shrinky Ink Station
- H03 Sweet Ride Station
In Splatoon 3
- Eeltail Alley
- Hagglefish Market
- Undertow Spillway
- Mincemeat Metalworks
- Hammerhead Bridge
- Museum d'Alfonsino
- Mahi-Mahi Resort
- Sturgeon Shipyard
- Brinewater Springs
Return of the Mammalians
- A rectangular sponge can be stood on top of by enemy players if they super jump to a Squid Beakon or another player in front of it.
- When stood on, the top of the sponge around where the player is standing will dip down slightly
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