Surfaces are terrain features in the Splatoon series. There are two types: inkable and un-inkable. Inkable surfaces comprise most of each stage's terrain, being counted towards players' turf counts. Un-inkable surfaces are less common, being used as barriers or stage boundaries or placed to make an area more difficult to maneuver through.
Inkable surfaces are terrain features that can be covered in ink. Ink shot or flung with will appear on these surfaces, allowing Inklings and Octolings to swim across them. Most inkable surfaces behave identically, despite varying appearances.
Metal can be found most often in Walleye Warehouse, Saltspray Rig, Bluefin Depot, Sturgeon Shipyard and Mincemeat Metalworks. It appears as a silver or rusted red pattern often adorned with rhombic designs.
Brick is used frequently in Octo Valley and various single-player missions. It can also be found in Bluefin Depot and Inkblot Art Academy. As the name suggests, it appears as a common red or orange brick pattern. These bricks are often broken or cracked.
Soil is the main surface in Kelp Dome. It appears just like flat soil, with a brown appearance and the presence of a few weeds.
Grass is a type of surface that is primarily green or blue, often decorated with flowers and other small plants. It appears very frequently in Octo Valley and The Reef, and significantly less frequently in Urchin Underpass, Blackbelly Skatepark, and Flounder Heights.
Signs are plastic and metal signs that appear throughout various Story modes, Inkopolis, Splatsville and in stages like Eeltail Alley. They tend to appear vertically, displaying various messages and graphics. They act like normal surfaces.
Trees are an inkable surface in Splatoon and Splatoon 2, but in Splatoon 3 they are un-inkable. Inklings cannot swim up trees, as their leaves provide no support. They appear in various Story modes, Inkopolis Plaza, Flounder Heights, Urchin Underpass, The Reef, Inkblot Art Academy, and Brinewater Springs, but serve practically no purpose other than an obstacle.
Cicadas can be heard singing in the trees in Flounder Heights, unlike the trees found in other parts of the game.
- Main article: Glass
Glass is a common un-inkable surface, appearing in stages such as Urchin Underpass, New Albacore Hotel and Eeltail Alley, and even in the fight against the Octowhirl. They appear in lots of stages as walls.
- Main article: Grate
Grates are semi-solid surfaces that allow the player to pass through, intentionally or not, while in squid or octopus form. The grates themselves, however, cannot be covered in ink. Instead, ink shot or otherwise dispensed from any main, sub, or special weapon passes through any grate in its way and continues traveling until it runs out of range or hits a non-grate surface or entity behind it (though certain weapon-generated objects, such as bombs and Sprinklers, cannot pass through grates and treat them like any other surface, though ink produced by such objects will pass through the grate as normal). Grates can be found in maps such as Mincemeat Metalworks and Kelp Dome, for example.
- Main article: Water
Water is a common liquid; it is less a surface and more a hazard, as it cannot be stood upon, much less inked. Water is deadly to the touch for Inklings and Octolings. Water can be found in maps such as Mahi-Mahi Resort and Arowana Mall, in addition to various locations in Octo Valley.
- Main article: Bumper
Bumpers can be found in multiplayer and Octo Valley in various locations. Their rubbery, cushiony qualities prevent the barriers from taking any ink whatsoever, making them excellent for cover. Be warned, however, as a weapon with an arc (such as a Slosher) and Rollers can go over the top of the bumpers and still strike any vulnerable players behind. Bumpers can be found in stages such as Kelp Dome, Moray Towers and MakoMart, as well as various locations in Story modes.
Tarps are large surfaces of plastic that cannot be inked at all. They are uncommon, but they can be found at the top of containers in Port Mackerel and in various spots in Bluefin Depot, Snapper Canal, Um'ami Ruins and Hagglefish Market.
Ice is a slippery surface only found in site 3 (Cryogenic Hopetown) of Return of the Mammalians, that can't be inked. If the player walks on ice they slide over the ice, in they're squid-form they don't slide if they don't have momentum from walking.