It’s the wild west, underwater in Squids Odyssey
It looks like squids are taking over Nintendo this year. It started with Splatoon at this years E3 and it continues with Squids Odyssey for the Wii U and the 3DS. I was able to get my hands on the Wii U version and the question is should you waste your time playing it or just go to the fish market to get some squid? Let’s get right into it. The off-TV mode is a nice touch and the developers in Squid form shows the time went into the game. Not even into the review yet and you’re getting bonus info!
The game plays a lot like a real time strategy game/turn based game where you switch between your group and the enemies. There are four different types of squid to choose from for your team. There are shooters, troopers, scouts, and healers. These are pretty much the basic groups for a turn based game like this. You’ll be able to recruit more squid over the course of the adventure when you find them in different stages.
There are different things to collect in each stage like a hidden star or different items/helmets that add to your power. You can also collect pearls in each level by either killing enemies or by finding them in the level. You’ll be able to level up your squid as well with the pearls you find. You can also receive pearls by performing tasks in each level like not letting a squid die in battle or by beating the level in a certain number of turns. This feature gives the game a more “mobile” feel to it where you can get more points by beating the level in a number of moves. The game is very challenging but fun at the same time.
I mentioned that the game is very challenging but the character design as well as the writing gives it a very fun, humorous feel to it. The way Steev, one of the main Squids, interacts with the rest of the team is fun. An example of this is when he sees Vesper and wants to save her just because she’s a good looking girl. It then comes out that she was helping them and Steev replies that he knows they were awesome and didn’t need saving. The various items and helmets add to the game as well since you can take the power-ups from the helmet and add them to your squid and then the helmet is just aesthetic. If you want to wear the soda drink hat or the straw hat, just add the power and now you don’t have to worry about it.
Controls are a little tough to get used to since they are “touchy.” What I mean by that is they are sensitive and one wrong move could have you ending your turn early or falling off the world. Falling off the level is very easy to do and will put a crimp in your score if you fall off just by bumping into your own teammate. Try to keep the team alive since you’ll gain more pearls at the end of the level if your whole team is alive. I’m a sucker for video game music and Squids Odyssey has some great music to go with interesting game play. It reminds me of SpongeBob with the ukulele/tropical music and then brings in the classic wild west/war-like music. It’s easy to bring in so many different musical themes with the game having so many different musical concepts.
Now, with every good game, there are good points as well as not so good points. Squids Odyssey has good and bad points but don’t hurt the overall game play, too much. For starters it would have been better to learn the controls, like how to move the camera, a little earlier than when you do finally learn how to do that. In a game where you’re asked to do certain things, like find stars/beat it in a certain number of moves, being able to look around is key! I also have an issue with the controls in general.
At times I found myself pressing the wrong button to perform a task or to skip my turn entirely. Also you use the control stick to move but it takes a turn to realize you point the control stick in the opposite direction in which you would like to move. The game tells you how to perform pretty much everything else but these are just two things I would have like to have learned earlier.
It’s tough to know how many attacks/moves you have left in each characters turn. There is a pearl/bubble meter around the squid but at times it refills itself for no reason. It’s tough to plan an attack if you think your gage is going to allow an attack and then your attack ends. The game has a relatively short learning curve. I don’t mean the game doesn’t help you out by teaching you things, it does that. The game doesn’t really give you a long period of time to allow trial and error or simply put, learn from your mistakes. It starts off challenging and gets tougher and tougher. Most strategy games have this problem of no learning curve but it isn’t a bad thing all the time. In this day and age, players don’t want their hand held the whole game but given time to allow for mistakes and learning on their own would have benefited Squids.
To recap, Squids Odyssey for the Wii U plays like a real time/strategy game starring the Nintendo animal of the month, Squids. The Wild West underwater is a good idea of what the game is about. However the controls are tough to master at times and the game doesn’t allow much time for a learning curve/trial and error from the player. The music and writing add to the fun and charm of this very challenging game. It’s these reasons that I’m giving Squids Odyssey for the Wii U an 8/10
Score: 8 / 10