The Average Gamer

Squids Review (iOS)

“Oh God” I thought as I read the first instruction screen “It’s Angry Squids”.

The cephalopods stared back at me from the screen, their cute eyes begging to be loved from beneath their rather bizarre hats. Hats! I grasped onto this new found glimmer of hope with grim determination. Surely, any game that features interchangeable hats which bestow great power upon their soon-to-be-calamari owner can’t be all bad?

It was only after an hour of joyful squid flinging that I realised the truth. This was no empty shell of a carbon copy. Beyond the need to pull them back on their little, gorgeous, elasticated limbs and fling them across a top-down, 2 dimensional map there were no similarities at all. Full of character, pizazz and – possibly, somewhere – jazz hands, this was gem of a game. Taking a turn based strategy game and making it into something far more action orientated is a mild stroke of genius, while making some of the characters look like cowboys or fat boy American footballers is merely the result of a mild stroke.

Tasked with telling their tale via the medium of the iPhone I embarked upon a journey that featured gorgeous static imagery between battles, stilted conversation that never really hit the mark and devious, dastardly opponents hell bent on my destruction. Countless skirmishes were lost in quick succession, the difficulty ramping up considerably well before the half way mark. Strangely, it wasn’t due to the enemies’ cunning AI or masterful skills. More often than not they just sit there until you come close enough to get bumped. No, my own ineptitude at aiming and firing squid across a screen that features traps and devices designed to hurt my little friends greatly scuppered me more than once.

But, oh, the bumping! It’s all about that here – speed, distance and hat contributing to the amount of damage my multiple-legged friends would deal to the opponents as they searched for salvation. With a variety of skills between them, such as healers, sharp shooters, double movements and whirlpool attacks, it soon became an orgy of calamari as I fought my way to the finish line.

Reaching that finish line soon became most difficult and I had to turn to my dear departed Grandfather and head some old advice he gave me to succeed. You see, during the Great War he and his squad had found themselves caught amongst a spiders web of enemy troops. Ambushed, alone and scared he hunkered down in the only defensible spot he could find, the cries of his injured and dying comrades the soundtrack to his despair. After a couple of hours he grew tired of this and decided to break through enemy lines, get re-enforcements and come back to rescue his friends. Out of ammo and time, he strapped 2 bayonets to his helmet and charged into the darkness, the flashes and reports of rifle fire his only company.

Squids_Hordes2 hours later he emerged at base camp, head caked in blood and the injured forms of 4 soldiers on his shoulders. When asked how he’d broken the enemy and rescued them single-handedly, all he could do was undo the chin strap and say “Always wear the right hat for the job”. It’s our family motto now.

Having changed things about with my little sucker legged friends I sent them back into battle time after time, new hats and abilities growing as we vanquished our foes. It lent such a charming edge to proceedings that I found myself lost in this alternative universe for quite some time.

It is then that, with great affection, I can recommend you assist these little lovelies on their adventure as well. There’s something wonderfully endearing about them and the challenges they face, while the game itself is bite-sized enough to lend itself perfectly to the platform. I can do nothing but recommend you invest yourself in it immediately.

Squids is out now on iOS 3.2 or greater for £1.49. See more artwork and screenshots from Squids in our Facebook gallery

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