When I first heard that Squids was coming to PC- I wasn’t sure what to think. PC conversions of popular mobile apps seem hit-or-miss to me. However, I was intrigued by the art style, and I liked the idea of a “casual” RPG with a sense of humor, so I gave it a shot. Despite some minor issues, Squids is a fantastic game with a lot of heart (and legs…)
Squids is a hybrid turn based strategy/RPG title where players lead a small army of adorable squids against legions of “corrupted” crabs and shrimp threatening the underwater paradise they call home. Gameplay is a simple affair- “pull” on the squid’s tentacles (using a simple mouse interface) to launch him or her across the map. Each squid has special abilities (Vahine is a healer, Clint carries firearms, Steev is a scout, etc), adding strategic depth to the title. The squids can attack enemies by either crashing into them head first (another simple aim, pull, and shoot mechanic) or by using special attacks which require clicking on the appropriate on-screen prompts. Located throughout each map are pearls (the game’s currency) and hidden starfish (worth an additional 500 pearls when found). Pearls can be used to level up each of the squids on your team or can be used to purchase stat upgrades in the guise of special helmets you can equip.
Squids features beautiful levels with watercolor-like backgrounds. Characters are given a lot of personality, and the attention to detail is impressive for a casual game (the level on the turtle’s back springs to mind). The writing is infused with cute humor that lightens the mood even further (although some of the jokes are groan-inducing). Romain Gauthier’s bouncy soundtrack is in perfect alignment with the visuals and the feel of the game, and is a treat to listen to on its own.
There are a few missteps along the way that prevent Squids from being a perfect casual game. The instructions are not in synch, meaning written instructions for certain tasks don’t line up with the task being shown- Because of this, some advanced techniques are not well described (or described at all). It’s also obvious that the game is a mobile port when the instructions call on the player to “pinch” the screen to zoom the camera out. The camera can be problematic at times, preventing you from aiming or launching your squid as accurately or effectively as you’d like. None of these issues detract from the game significantly enough to lessen your enjoyment. However, they should be addressed when Squids 2 makes its way to the marketplace.
$6.99 seems to be a fair price for Squids- available here. It offers a decent challenge, a great cast of characters, fun and addictive gameplay, and lots of stuff to find and collect. Much of the bonus content from the iOS version of the game has made it into the PC release, without the annoying requests for in-game purchases (pearls can be purchased with real-world currency in the mobile versions). Squids is simply a great time, and is highly recommended.