The Game Bakers proved with the beat-em-up Combo Crew (already reviewed here) that mobile games can be a bit more demanding than the casual ones the market is flooded with. So is their newest strategy-RPG SQUIDS Odyssey the new exciting direction with the help of Nintendo platforms as well?
A black ooze puts the inhabitants of the sea in danger of becoming evil mutations, so it’s up to the squishy SQUID squad to fight back and rescue their home from total destruction.
Angry SQUIDS goes RPG
SQUIDS Odyssey is a hybrid of an action-strategy and role playing game. The player controls different cute little creatures, called the SQUIDS, which all belong to a special class, like a healer-girl or a shooter-cowboy. One can collect 15 SQUIDS and use different combinations of them in a team of up to four.
These SQUIDS fight against a dark army of bad fish and crabs. The story itself is progressively revealed in flashbacks which makes the beginning a bit confusing, but reinforces the player’s curiosity. The humorous dialogues create a typical RPG feeling of identification with your characters.
In order to complete a level, the player pushes his SQUIDS against the enemies in order to damage them either by using the Circle Pad or the stylus. This involves much strategic thinking. Therefore, the environment can be interacted with, for example by pushing some enemy off the playing field or against spikes. In contrast, this tricky environment also works against the player, because one can easily fall down or be trapped in water flows which lead in various, often dangerous directions. The levels become more complex and difficult due to larger maps with more traps and stronger enemies. In addition, the 3DS’s small screen makes it harder to plan one’s moves. Thus, good reflexes are needed. Still, the levels are varied and also contain hidden SQUIDS and extra items. So, it’s always worth re-trying a level.
Pirates of the SQUIDS Odyssey
Enemies are quite strong from the start. Thus the player has to upgrade his SQUIDS with items he buys with pearls. This element creates the RPG part of SQUIDS Odyssey. One earns these pearls by completing levels, destroying enemies and performing bonus tasks, like finding a starfish or not losing too many SQUIDS. The problem is that the SQUIDS do not earn any EXP, but everything, even the next level of a squid, has to be bought. Here, one can easily see that the game was made for mobile gaming, i.e. in-app purchases. It is interesting to play such a game on the 3DS which does not include this business model but transforms it. The result is that one often has not enough pearls and has to re-try a level to earn new ones.
Nintendo and Apple in depth sea analysis
Comparing the different platforms on which SQUIDS Odyssey was released, it’s clear that finger tapping is the most prominent feature, but on iOS and Android and the Wii U it’s slightly easier to handle, although the IAPs of the Android version are a matter of bite-sized gaming taste. The lower resolution of the 3DS in addition to the small screen is also another reason to choose the other platforms to get the best out of the experience, especially when it comes to a better overview of each level and nicer-looking cutscenes which, despite stills, look great on the big TV.
In addition, there’s also an advantage of the Nintendo versions over the original mobile ones, namely the inclusion of both “SQUIDS” and “SQUIDS Wild West” plus exclusive level content taking place in the kingdom of Wakame. Another nice touch for European gamers is that if one buys the 3DS version, one also gets access to the Wii U one with the same Nintendo ID.
20.000 Pearls under the Sea
SQUIDS Odyssey beautifully captures the atmosphere of an underwater world with its great comic style and groovy music. Even the loading screen shows social network postings by the SQUIDS which underline the funny nature of this splashy trip.
All in all, the game comes recommended for those who like their mobile games a bit trickier in gameplay and wackier in presentation style. One shouldn’t expect a deep story, but with its quirky characters and lots of levels to play through, there’s quite a lot of value for money.
Note: This review was written in cooperation with Future Sack editor Annagram.
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