Upon use, Inkling will take out the Splat Roller and begin to slide it across the ground, covering the ground in ink that slows enemies that move on it. Only a certain length can be inked at a time (roughly 80 units) and ink fades away in five seconds. If an enemy that is standing on the ground is hit by the Roller, they will be buried. Rolling over an enemy that is already buried will instead launch them. The move has no effect on airborne opponents. If Inkling's ink tank is empty, the move has no effect and Inkling will move much slower.
The move aids with recovery if used in the air, moving Inkling forward as they fall with the roller. Pressing the jump button during then grants Inkling a small extra jump. The forward momentum only applies if used with ink; performing the move in the air with an empty tank only results in Inkling dropping almost straight down.
Prior to update 2.0.0, the move was, alongside King K. Rool's down throw, infamous for its bury hitbox causing opponents to be buried for a disproportionately long amount of time at lower percentages. As such, 2.0.0 reduced the bury time at lower percentages while increasing it at higher percentages, alongside King K. Rool's down throw.
The Splat Roller is one of the main weapons and Roller class weapons available to the player in Splatoon and Splatoon 2. In its home series, the Splat Roller could also fling ink a short distance to deal damage. In Splatoon 2, jumping and flinging ink in midair would result in the player performing a vertical swing, which allows ink to be flung farther, albeit slower. Running over an enemy Inkling with the Splat Roller would almost always splat an enemy in one hit, making the weapon very deadly in melee range. Its coloration is based on its appearance in the original Splatoon.
The movement-slowing properties of the ink left behind by the Splat Roller in Ultimate originate from the Splatoon series, where players will temporarily have their speed and jump height reduced while they are stepping in enemy ink. Unlike in Ultimate, this ink can be left behind by all weapons, not just Rollers, and will remain for the rest of the match.