‘SQUIDS’ Review – An Underwater Wonderland

Apparently it’s better down where it’s wetter, but that was before an infection known as the black ooze started spreading across the underwater world of SQUIDS. It’s up to you and your four chosen squids to defeat the hordes and stop the spread. Players do so by launching their squids around the battlefield in turn-based combat, utilising their individual abilities and taking advantage of the lay of the land.


SQUIDS is easy to play, but more challenging to master. The initial stages involve flinging your squids at an enemy and hoping to kill them or knock them off the platform. However, the strength of SQUIDS is that it is a layered game. All of a sudden, things click into place and realisations become clear. Team order is important, players should plan an entire turn out rather than taking it on a shot-by-shot basis and power-ups should be used to determine where to position squids at the end of a turn. To further challenge players, there are three additional goals in each level: complete in a set number of turns, find the secret star and keep all squids alive. These goals mean that players must get to grips with the extra strategies and abilities that exist in the game. It is this depth that keeps players coming back for more and ensures that the gameplay does not get stale.


Over the course of the 21 levels, there is a great deal of variety. Missions include anything from defeating every enemy in the level to surviving waves to knocking enemies off the back of a turtle while being sure to keep yourself firmly rooted to it. All controllable squids fall into four categories with a skill set attached: the scout can dash forward, healers heal, shooters can fire once per turn and the trooper can perform a ground pound. However, each character that you can recruit has a diverse and interesting personality. Steev will set off on any mission for a damsel in distress, Sammo has a fondness for wrestling and shiny things, and Winnick is the Gandalf figure of the group who will do whatever it takes to make the underwater world safe once more. These little touches make the game rather charming.


Originally, SQUIDS was an iOS game, but it has made the transition well. The control scheme has been ported naturally and the game maintains its casual entry level and increased challenge as players progress. It is certainly a title that will appeal to almost anyone as there are a range of elements and gameplay mechanics at work. Younger players will be drawn in by the cute and cuddly world, with the natural exception of the nasty critters that stand in your way, casual players will enjoy the basic mechanics and more strategic players will enjoy the extra challenges and ways in which they can approach levels.


There are some genuinely tough levels and enemies, and players must plan thoroughly as a result: should they go for the possibility of a strong power-up? Should they heal? Should they place one character close to an enemy to draw an attack away from another team member? These are all questions that players will be faced with from time to time. Thankfully, if certain levels or segments are too difficult, it is possible to unleash the Mighty Kraken. This powerful weapon, available from the store, leaves all enemies that were on the entire battlefield with a sliver of life left. Pearls are plentiful in each level and it is useful to have something so practical in the arsenal for difficult levels, especially as there are no difficulty settings.


Unlike many other iOS games, there is a captivating storyline in SQUIDS that leaves players wanting more. There is a dark lord, mysterious ooze that infects the landscape and other creatures, attacks on sacred temples, and twists and turns along the way. What more could players want? Levels are broken up by short exchanges between characters set to a backdrop of images to propel the story forward. Levels are short, but there is always that temptation to play just one more level. This is another strength that SQUIDS has carried over from its iOS background.


SQUIDS is a fantastic game, which will appeal to a variety of players, skill levels and age groups. There is something for everyone in the game and players can play to their own strengths. Difficulty settings would be appreciated, but it is a small gripe in an otherwise excellent title. Players will simply have to learn how to strategise and make best use of the characters, abilities and powerups made available to them. Of course, struggling is the best excuse to yell, “Unleash the Kraken” at the top of your lungs. There are a variety of devices to play SQUIDS on and you should buy it for one of them: it would be a crime against nature not to.


SQUIDS is currently available on PC and Mac for $6.99, on Android for free and on iOS for $1.99. The Game Bakers can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

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