Review: Squids Odyssey (Wii U)
I’m not a fan of seafood, especially crayfish and shrimp, but when it comes to octopus and squid, well, it’s delish. Unfortunately I’ve grown attached to little squiddies thanks to a new game called Squids Odyssey, so I might feel just a tiny bit bad when I order another calamari platter.
Squids Odyssey is a colourful little underwater game with some really interesting characters. Like the name implies, you’ll be playing a whole bunch of different squids. Each squid is their own person and you’ll find your favourite in no time. At first you’ll start off with three characters and unlock many more as the story progresses, so there’s a wide variety of characters to choose from. The main characters are Steev, Sammo, Clint (who reminds me of Clint Eastwood in more than one way) and Vahine.
While attempting to steal valuable pearls from a temple, Steev, Vahine and their companion Winnick are attacked by shrimp and other crustaceans who happen to be covered in black goo. After defeating the shrimp they discover that they weren’t the only ones trying to steal the temple’s treasure. Clint and Sammo, the other thieves, are caught in a struggle defending their loot and lives from goo-covered enemies. Together, the five of them join forces and try to wipe out the enemy. Unfortunately they’re overwhelmed and try to escape. To help improve their chances of escaping, Winnick stays behind to buy the others some time. The four remaining heroes discover that the Black Ooze, an ancient evil, has returned and is infecting various marine animals. They set out to find more squids who will join them, fight back and once again defeat the evil Ooze.
If you enjoy games like Angry Birds, you’re in for a treat. The game is divided into many different chapters, each with their own unique theme (usually a reference to cowboy movies or games) and levels. In most of the levels you’ll have a party of four squids, but that may vary depending on the objective. You complete each level by throwing your squid around the stage. It’s almost like your squid is a rubber band which you pull back and shoot off into the distance. That’s sort of how it works. It’s very easy to figure out once you start playing the game. You can pull your squids by using the stylus on the gamepad or using the analogue sticks and buttons – both work brilliantly, but you can only use the stylus if you’re playing on the gamepad. Each squid has their own stamina gauge, which shows you how often and how far you can throw them. Pulling them back further, before shooting, will make them “fly” further but will require more stamina. It’s also turn-based, so once all your squids are done, it’s the enemies time to move.
The combat is very simple and easy enough for everyone to follow. Simply pull your squid, aim at an enemy and launch. There are four types of squids available at your disposal: scouts, shooters, troopers and healers. Each unit has a specific skill that gives them an edge in either movement or combat. Scouts are fast and can jump a few extra times after you launch them; troopers can stomp, damaging any nearby enemies or knocking them back; healers can heal any party member that knocks into them; and shooters can fire what looks like a cannon ball at a single enemy. Other than reducing your enemy’s HP to zero, you can also defeat them by knocking them off ledges (which is weird because they’re in water and it’s pretty difficult to fall while in water). There are a variety of items for you to use to make the game a little easier, such as the cocktails which restore your stamina and sushi, which boosts your throwing speed.
Like I said before, some of the levels have very different objectives, so fighting isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing. Some of the best levels in the game are the levels that test your ability to control your squids. Trying to get to the end of the level (or capturing a seahorse) in one turn is especially challenging and takes some practice. The change in level objectives is great and keeps you on your toes. Other than the objective, each level comes with three optional objectives: Find the hidden starfish, complete the level in a certain number of turns and don’t lose any squids. There are also a number of bonus levels that open up once you’ve finished the chapter, so there’s plenty game to play.
As good as it might sounds, the game isn’t without it’s faults. The soundtrack is wonderful, but very limited, so you’ll hear the same tracks over and over again. Each time you start to play the game, even if you’re right at the end, you’ll be given a quick tutorial recap. I get why it’s there, but the controls are very simple so it’s really unnecessary.
While I did enjoy playing Squids Odyssey, I have to admit that’s it’s very much a handheld game on a console. There is a 3DS version of the game, so if this game intrigues you then you might want to buy that version. The game is colourful and adorable, and will definitely keep you occupied if you want to play a game for a few minutes.