With SQUIDS, developer The Game Bakers has created a turn-based RPG, combined it with simple, touch-based controls and wrapped the whole thing in an aesthetic that will appeal to all ages. It’s a fun and addicting game that grabs you right from the get go.
SQUIDS follows a group of undersea creatures who are trying to defend their kingdom from a mysterious black ooze that has begun to spread throughout it. Like traditional RPGs, you assemble a team that features squids with different attributes and abilities. For example, Scouts can cover a lot of ground each turn, and they have strong melee attacks. There are also Healers, ranged attackers (Shooters) and a multi-class character that combines different abilities. While the game features an overarching story, the gameplay is broken up into chapter-like levels, each featuring their own location and objectives. Your ability to complete objectives and defeat enemies in as few moves as possible results in extra rewards.
The most basic of the touch-based controls is movement, which required you to pull back on the squids’ legs like a rubber band, and slingshot them in a particular direction. Slinging into an enemy causes a melee attack, and slinging into objects can reveal loot or power-ups. Most characters’ abilities and attacks can be used by tapping on an enemy in the character’s immediate vicinity. The mechanics work really well, and the game features quick tutorials that pop up when you first have an opportunity to use an ability.
As you progress through the story, you pick up pearls (the in-game currency) that can be used to buy upgraded equipment in the form of hats for your squids. You find hats as treasure throughout the game that become unlocked for purchase in the shop. If you don’t want to grind for pearls to buy hats, you can purchase them through the in-game store for actual money. The microtransactions are non-intrusive, and you can certainly get by just fine without them, as long as you're willing to grind. You can go back and play previously unlocked levels, so it is possible to farm for pearls in more combat-heavy levels.
SQUIDS is a game that definitely takes advantage of the platform it’s on. Great touch controls, bite-sized levels and an addictive upgrade system combine with a world and characters I enjoyed spending time with.
4 out of 5 Underwater Adventures
Note: SQUIDS is now available for purchase in the iTunes App Store for $0.99 (here’s the link). You can find out more about the game at www.thegamebakers.com, and check out the launch trailer below.