SQUIDS is a strange package. It is half simplistic, Angry Birds style fling fest and half incredibly deep, turn based, Final Fantasy Tactics-esque strategy game. Its art style and soundtrack are whimsically adorable. Yet its plot is a tale of doom and destruction. There are so many elements that not only seem like they wouldn’t work together, but are contradictory in nature. SQUIDS gives it all to make it work.
Each level puts you in control of up to a team of four squids. You can mix and match your team with squids of one of the four classes to best suit your play style. I played the majority of the game with one of each class, but I did like to roll through a level with two shooters to blow a path through from time to time. It never hurts to mix it up a little when you have to do stale tasks like grinding. You then fling each squid toward enemies with as much strength and turns that their action points allow. Enemies are dispatched by ramming them and using each squids special attack to annihilate their health bar. Before I got the hang of each classes special ability, they seemed useless. Sort of like they didn’t make much of a difference from one another. This game really did feel like a weird spin on Angry Birds that wasn’t too interesting, which is completely wrong. As time went on, I began to discover just what each class had to bring to the table. Utilizing the skills and actually using the pearls you collect through chests and combos to level up or buy hats, gives this game the depth that so many mobile games lack. Not only that, but the game brings a level of beauty to it that others seldom even try to replicate.
The sea world which was created for SQUIDS is something unique in the iOS market. It may be a bit cartoonish and otherwise saturated, but it plays to the strength of the game. Would you honestly expect a game like this to have a dark and grungy world behind it? No! It needs to be believable at the level it is trying to come across as. The rippling water effect can be a little much, but it is there for setting. Overall, SQUIDS really shines when you are giving it a run through a retina screen device.
The first time I played through a level in SQUIDS, I had an absolute blast. It was a challenge to get all three stars, but one that was enticing enough to actually replay levels. Unfortunately, the second half of the game largely reuses previous levels in reverse. The game already has such beautiful artwork, it was a shame that we didn’t get more. It really would have been beneficial to the title had they gone back and done more areas. Luckily, there was sort of a teaser for the upcoming sequel SQUIDS Wild West in a recent up date that added a few more levels. The only other change that I found was in the difficulty. It did seem to spike a bit towards the end. This resulted in me having to go back and grind out some old areas to push forward. The grinding did help me better understand the combat, but is still a little tedious when you get down to it.
I absolutely loved playing through SQUIDS. While there were some minor frustrations I had clouding my mind, they were driven out by the surprisingly interesting plot and the utterly fantastic soundtrack. I can’t emphasize enough just how impressive the soundtrack was. The plot was darker and deeper than I expected from a mobile game. The cliffhanger ending was a little disappointing, but the guarantee of the sequel alleviates that. I was talking to a friend when I booted up SQUIDS and when he heard the music he asked what I was playing purely because it sounded like fun. That was exactly what it is, fun boiled down into music notes. That’s a big hook to reel them in on.
iTunes and Google Play are like a diamond mine. They have some of the best games on the marketplace, but most of them are buried under piles of crap. For every Infinity Blade or Canabalt there are 30 Angry Birds copies. SQUIDS is a diamond in the rough and a far from another unnecessary clone. Regardless of its few faults, it remained incredibly fun and engaging throughout my entire playthrough. Please Game Bakers, give me more.
Game provided by public relations.