When Sebastian sang about life under the sea, it sounded like the perfect place to be. Sadly, that doesn’t always appear to be the case, as when their underwater world is corrupted by infectious black ooze an unlikely band of squids slap pots on their heads and set off to investigate.
Squids Odyssey treats us a plethora of aquatic action, The Game Bakers uniting Squids and Squids Wild West into an expansive package that they have gleefully flung toward the Nintendo eShop. You’ll lead your heroic squids through turn-based battles, aggressively colliding with corrupted crustaceans as you work your way through numerous missions. The small bubbles around each character designating how much movement they have left, and their HP dwindling as the opposing forces thrust themselves back at you in retaliation.
Each of your squids has their own role to play, four separate classes – Scout, Shooter, Trooper and Healer – granting them each characteristic to consider. Scouts can use a dash move to propel themselves across the terrain, Shooters can put their guns to use for additional long-range attacks, while Troopers can use a stomp attack to damage multiple enemies surrounding them. The Healer can restore HP either by hurling themselves to collide with their allies or by being bumped into.
A strategy is similarly required to successfully catapult your way through the environments awaiting you – coral reefs, ancient ruins and temples that hide holes that can see your team meet an untimely fate, streams that propel you in their direction, and spiky urchins that cause damage if you collide with them. Power-ups scattered throughout each level will also aid you, consisting of health recovery, evasive ink, and spiky shells to protect you while the AI takes its turn.
While playable across your TV screen and the Wii U GamePad or solely through Off-TV Play, Squids Odyssey’s mobile roots come to the fore and most will find cosying up with the controller as the perfect setup. With the touchscreen reliably implemented for input, you’ll set aside traditional button controls as you pull back on your elasticated squids to propel them across through the water. It’s comparatively of similar ilk to Angry Birds, although you’re targeting your fearsome squids at targets equally eager to bash you, and across open battlegrounds that offer more freedom for you to navigate.
Aside from the main objective, players are challenged to earn three stars within each mission. These include the secret star which is hidden and awaiting discovery, the survival star which is awarded for ensuring that all of your squids don’t meet their untimely demise and a speed star received for completing the mission below a specified number of turns. Players will also gather pearls, which can be spent by visiting the in-game store to enlist new squids, unlock helmets to strengthen your squad or items that will ease your progression.
On that note, the game can become rather unforgiving all too quickly. Enemies will swarm toward your hapless troupe, your squids steadily holding their ground against an onslaught that will regularly test even the most experienced of players. With no way to alter the difficulty, it could prove too much of a challenge for younger players – belying the gloriously colourful aesthetic that seems so readily at home on a Nintendo platform.
Regardless, Squids Odyssey provides wondrously vibrant aquatic escapades – the likes that the Nintendo eShop hasn’t yet seen. A humorous script and quirky squid designs characterise a welcome arrival that is positively bursting with content to keep you occupied.
Version Tested: Wii U
Review copy provided by The Game Bakers