(Wii U eShop)

Squids Odyssey (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Squids Odyssey Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Calamari meets kamikaze

Squids Odyssey plays like a mix between Angry Birds, billiards, and a strategy RPG. If that sounds like fun to you, that’s because it is.

A cast of cephalopodic heroes embarks on a quest to save their underwater world from a corrupting black ooze the best way they know how: by launching their soft, squishy little bodies against anything that opposes them. Mechanically, it’s as simple as flinging a rubber band. Pull back on a squid using either the left stick or stylus, aim, then either press A or lift the stylus to send it flying.

Sending squids careening around maps sounds like a recipe for chaos, and it can be, but it soon becomes clear that Odyssey rewards a small amount of planning and precision. Each squid has a set amount of stamina for each turn, usually providing enough for only two or so full-strength flings. A lighter touch spends less energy and can manoeuvre a squid into a better position. Since an attacker inflicts more damage on enemies that are closer to it, this could mean lining up a squid to throw a heftier hit or using that last bit of energy to put some distance between opponents. Add pointy, damaging environmental hazards and holes that are instant KO’s and the need for strategy rises all the more. You don’t want to push an enemy crab down a hole only to be sitting on the edge when its friends turn comes up.

In addition to the standard attack, every squid belongs to one of four classes that offers an additional move or ability each turn. Scouts can make a few more short bursts of movement, Shooters can fire a ranged attack, Troopers can damage and knock back enemies with an area-of-effect stomp attack, and Healers can recover some health of those they collide with.

Several members of each class will be found along the journey but will all play the same, their only differences being some initial alterations in stats. It’s a little disappointing that individual squids don’t have their own special attacks, but their cute designs and the appealing, often humorous personalities they express in dialogue definitely help make up for it. Each player will likely pick up a few favourites for their four-squid squads, but switching around can be beneficial if, say, one stage is more attuned toward Shooters than Troopers.

Pearls are the currency through which almost everything in the Squids Odyssey universe runs. Levelling up costs pearls, as do stamina- and life-restoring items. This seems a residual effect of the series’ mobile roots with in-app purchases, but the Wii U version does not charge real money for anything in-game. Pearls are widely available within the levels, with additional bounties earned for finding secret stars, keeping all your squids alive, and finishing within a certain number of turns.

Some parts of the management and menu systems are somewhat clunky, however. Hats found through the game are unlocked for purchase and can grant permanent stat boosts to every squid of the proper class who wears them; this involves equipping a squid with a hat, then pressing a button to “transfer” the stat boosts to it. Rinse and repeat with other squids using the same hat. This means a squid does not have to be stuck with one hat all the time, which is a great decision, but why not automatically apply the bonuses to every available squid as soon as the hat is bought? Who doesn’t want stat boosts? The menus themselves are also a bit clumsy to navigate with both touch and buttons. It all works, but it feels like it could have been streamlined better.

Aesthetically and in gameplay, the rest of Squids Odyssey feels well at home on the Wii U. The art is cartoony, colourful, and eye-catching, with scenes across 90+ levels ranging from the back of a sea turtle to an underwater Wild West town. The music is equally appealing, offering light, catchy tunes and more serious battle themes.

On- and off-TV modes are both supported, with stick and stylus flinging options for each. The stick feels a bit better for aiming, while the stylus feels slightly more suited for pinpointing the strength of a launch, but both function fine.

Conclusion

Squids Odyssey takes a simple concept and crafts an engaging yet not stifling amount of challenge out of it, resulting in a nice balance of haphazard fun and strategic thought. Although out-of-action menu work might be a bit of a pain, a beautiful world and a good sense of humour provide more than enough charm to forgive it. Another pearl to add to the eShop.

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Game Trailer

User Comments (14)

PvtOttobot

#1

PvtOttobot said:

Looks decent, though I won't ever get it seeing as I have Stick it to the man and Scram Kitty on my wishlist and MK8 preordered!

SuperCharlie78

#2

SuperCharlie78 said:

You could have done a better job about screenshots NL :(

Anyway, 13€ seems a little high to me, I think I'll go with Color Zen today, and wait for a Squid-deal

edit: Oh fixing them already, you sure are fast guys, aren't you? :)

Squid

#4

Squid said:

As a squid myself, I fully support this game. It's always nice to see more representation in the game industry!

smikey

#5

smikey said:

I'm getting all 3 e-shop games today but this will be this be the first one I play swords & soliders I've played before so no rush & colour zen I'll probably play in small bursts when i'm bored or in a puzzle mood.

read several good reviews for this now & the kids really like the trailer which at least usually means they'll actually let me play the game.

MrWalkieTalkie

#6

MrWalkieTalkie said:

Will definitely buy, but I'm not sure if I'll get it right away. It's sorta on the pricey side and I'm starting to run low on my eShop cash. I wanna save it for Ittle Dew.

Either way though, I've been having a great time with the indies so far. Stick It to the Man was fantastic and Scram Kitty is quite the charming challenge, and Swords & Soldiers is sure to be loads of fun!

Sugar_Crunch_BD

#7

Sugar_Crunch_BD said:

@Squid I hate squids, immigrating to the deep blue sea and taking our jobs! what you need is a slap on the tentacles, not more representation in the industry!

When will this end! Darn squids trying to become part of society

dumedum

#9

dumedum said:

this looks really great. Taking two ipad games, enhancing them, adding better control options, adding more features and add-ons. 10/10 for effort. Will download this.

KillerGBH

#10

KillerGBH said:

i love squids, they are awesome. its my new favorite wii u game till mario kart 8 :). awesome ambience/music and excellent gameplay . harder than it loook , finally a tactics rpg game ^^ . i give this game a 9/10 worth a purchase if u like challenge

JaxonH

#11

JaxonH said:

@Squid

And I see you're making an appearance in Mario Kart 8 as an item. Er, wait. That's an octopus. Squids don't have ink do they?

JaxonH

#12

JaxonH said:

I may just have to buy this. I wasn't planning on it. Like, AT ALL. But that word seems to get me every time- "strategy".

SahashraLA

#13

SahashraLA said:

Like a few others, this review has actually changed my mind considerably on this game (though I still think the environments are rather confusing in that there's so much going on). I like the mix of Angry Birds and Worms, the latter being one of my favorite games of all time.
It's just that, even without an MK8 purchase looming over my head, I'm more looking forward to Ittle Dew. I'm also thinking that the first 2 weeks in June are going to be garbage but that we might see 2-3 top indies release that 3rd week (E3 announcements are usually followed by releases and release dates).
I can see Shovel Knight, Armillo, Assault Android Cactus (4 player bullethell? Come on!) and Tengami as potential releases for E3 Thursday.
I'm holding out hope for Teslagrad, that one puzzler with the two little boys (don't remember the titles, but it looked pretty neat), Pier Solar HD and an early Minish Cap.. like, next week early.
I've also been hearing an unofficial schedule, something like Hyrule Warriors - October, Super Smash Bros. - November, Bayonetta 2 - December, X - February.
Apparently, according to the same guy, Bandai Namco is in talks (pending Smash's successes) to finally drop Tekken's price on the eShop and actually port Link's Soul Calibur, as has already been done on other consoles. Now, he's just a guy working at a gaming store, but as the store's manager and 'quarterly sales attendant' for 4-6 other gaming stores in the area, he sees the future release pages before alot of people.
Supposedly, the choice to release X in 1st Q 2015 is something Monolith was considering since around the time the game was unveiled. And for the record, yes, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem WAS on his lists, tentatively dated as 2015 TBA. Zelda Wii U, unsurprisingly, is still just TBA.

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