After defeating the giant crab monster thing and temporarily stopping the black ooze from seeping into the entire kingdom, the squids are back in SQUIDS Wild West. Heading off to the wild west, they begin the search for more fighters and to kick some gooey butt. As amazing as the first SQUIDS was, there were a few too many reused maps for the 20-odd levels and a weird difficulty spike in the middle of the game that required some grinding to overcome.
SQUIDS Wild West picks up right where the first left off. The squids must venture to Clint’s home in the west and recruit more tough squids to help stem the tide of ooze. The plot remains on that line between dark and light-hearted, contrasted with the positively adorable art style. Wild West makes no attempt to revolutionize the formula, and I applaud it for that. The Game Bakers seem to have found something that works. And I want more of that, but better. They almost completely succeed. The weird difficulty spike in the first game was all but completely addressed. I never felt like I couldn’t complete a stage without grinding out a few levels or having a certain item for a specific situation. Unfortunately, there’s one level that involves an incredibly difficult platforming section and ends in a boss fight. I managed to make it through twice, after so many failed attempts, only to be instantly annihilated by the boss. I did feel an immense sense of accomplishment when I finally kicked the boss’s ass, but it didn’t quell that rage the level made me feel.
There are other frustrating levels. However, they come in the form of optional, incredibly difficult challenge maps that net you either more pearls (the in-game currency) or characters. They did exactly what the platforming level didn’t and made me feel like the best SQUIDS player ever when I 3-starred them. These were the main supplier of serious difficulty for the game, and the characters the game rewarded me with gave enough of an impact to seem worth it.
Those characters came in the form of the major gameplay additions – the seahorses. Seahorses appeared in some maps and gave the ability to provide more movement and deal more damage each turn. Flinging a squid into them is how you would mount your steed, and each has its own separate energy consumption and strength. There’s a timed power meter to gauge how far you’ll fling the seahorse, and a full-powered shot nets some bonus pearls that applied that sweet accomplishment/reward feedback.
The campaign is split up into five chapters, with the challenge levels as harder versions of each chapter’s missions. For some reason, there’s a greyed out “coming soon” chapter; whether that’s more bonus missions or actual story chapters is yet to be seen, though if it’s the later, I will not be happy. As is, what is included in this $2.00 package is more than enough to justify the purchase price. Though I’m told it will launch at $0.99 as part of a promotional launch price.
The Game Bakers seemed to set out and correct any complaint leveled at the first game. The campaign they have crafted for SQUIDS Wild West managed to take all of the elements that made the first one great, and further refine and improve their formula. I enjoyed SQUIDS, but I love SQUIDS Wild West. As much as I still want more SQUIDS, I would love to see what else The Game Bakers can do because their talent continues to shine through these games.
Game provided by public relations.