Sunday, September 4, 2011
PAX Prime 2011: SQUIDS Demo
Despite being what most would call a "hardcore" gamer, I absolutely love quick pick-up-and-play titles like you'd see on Newgrounds or even Angry Birds. That's why when I got the email asking if I'd like a chance to sit down with SQUIDS I was very interested since the message included the artwork you see up at the top there. Call me old-fashioned, but cartoony and colorful is the way to my heart.
In the fewest words, SQUIDS is breathtaking. I can't say enough wonderful things about the artwork implemented to tell this simple tale of a band of squids fighting back against a bunch of brainwashed crabs. It's extremely lush and vibrant, which comes as a necessity from the developers as they mentioned to me that they enjoyed working at Ubisoft but needed a break from the grim and realistic games they'd previously been making. Hence, bright and expressive squids.
The controls are extremely simplistic since this is a game for the iPad and iPhones. The goal in each level is to eliminate all enemies in the area either by reducing their health bars to zero or by knocking them off the platforms. Everything is centered around the core mechanic of pulling back on the squids' tentacles and launching them toward their enemies, smashing headfirst into whoever they can. Each squid has a different ability, such as the regular squid best used for slamming, the healing squid who replenishes the other squids' health when she runs into them, the shooter squid who can fire at targets with a cowboy-style revolver, or my favorite, the sumo squid who can damage all enemies in a close radius with a ground-pound (also, you fling him by grabbing his sumo strap rather than his tentacles, which is a cute touch).
For something so simple, there's a lot to get out of it. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it's addictive as heck. Inflicting damage will generate pearls which you can pick up with a tap and use later to purchase upgrades and items or to unlock new squids with different abilities. You can also save up and unleash the Mighty Kraken in a pinch, though that's only for players who just aren't grasping how best to tackle each situation.
I really liked getting to fling squids around into crabs and other such undersea wildlife, and when SQUIDS is released in the 4th quarter of this year for the sweet spot of right around US$1, I'm reminding my wife to download it immediately. So thanks again to Audrey and Emeric for the demo session (and head to the Game Bakers website to follow any updates). I'm looking forward to SQUIDS and I can't wait for additional story chapters to come out in the months following. Keep your eyes open and get ready for this to take over your free time much more than you'd expect!