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SQUIDS Odyssey for Wii U
 

SQUIDS Odyssey for Wii U

Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: Strategy
 
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The SQUIDS franchise consisted of SQUIDS and SQUIDS Wild West for iOS, but now it's getting bigger with the release of SQUIDS Odyssey, a downloadable title for the Wii U and 3DS by The Game Bakers. SQUIDS Odyssey is a port of the first two games with new, additional levels and content. You can read my previous reviews of SQUIDS and SQUIDS Wild West if you'd like, as much of them are still applicable. This review is based on the Wii U version. I suspect that the 3DS version is very similar, especially considering that the 3DS, like the Wii U, consists of one touchscreen and one normal screen.

Graphics

The first thing I originally noticed about SQUIDS was the fantastic artwork. Despite being enlarged for a bigger screen, I didn't notice a quality loss when playing the game on my TV. Everything still looks great, including the beautiful backgrounds and detailed characters. I really love the environments, especially the lighting. It definitely feels like you're looking at an underwater scene.

Sound

The music and sound effects are both fun. I mentioned it in my review of the original, but I still wish there was voice-acting!

Gameplay

In SQUIDS, you control up to four squids in an attempt to stop the black ooze and avoid a war like the one that occurred at some point in the game world's history. The game is turned-based; you move each of your squids, and then the enemies move. To move a squid, you sling him or her by pulling back on the control-stick. For example, to move to the right, you push the stick left. You can think of the squids as rubber bands. At first, I was little skeptical that this would translate well to the stick because of how well it worked on my iPhone touchscreen, but it does work very well. You can also press the 'A' button to use your special ability, such as dashing or shooting. For squids that can shoot, pressing 'Y' changes targets. The 'X' button passes the current turn. Unfortunately, I sometimes hit that when I intended to hit 'Y', and there's no confirmation.

Different levels have different goals, but most are generally similar - kill all the enemies and reach a specific location. Sometimes you have to last a certain number of turns or perform other goals. You hurt enemies by slamming into them or using special abilities, and they hurt you in the exact same ways. You can find or earn pearls that are a currency used to purchase additional hats (for stats or cosmetic purposes) and to increase the level of your squids, effectively increasing their stats.

The menu gave me a small amount of trouble at first, but nothing that would stop me from recommending the game. There's a menu on the gamepad that lets you choose to see the level select, the team screen, or the shop. When I'm looking at the gamepad, I want to keep looking at the gamepad, but selecting one of these options only puts that menu on the TV. I got used to it quickly, but I was still expecting all the menus to be on the gamepad. I also got my cursor lost sometimes; I'd press left expecting it to move to an option to the left and down, but instead it moves to the left and up. This isn't surprising when selecting things on screen that aren't in a simple grid with a control stick, but if the menu was solely on the gamepad, it would have solved it. It's a minor problem, but one I thought I'd mention.

Besides using the control stick to fling squids, you can also use the touchscreen while watching the TV. This seemed a little awkward to me. On the gamepad, you'll see a picture of your squid in the center. You can touch the squid and drag your finger to stretch the squid, but you'll still need to watch the TV to know where to aim.

You can also switch to the Off-TV mode, playing solely on the gamepad. This is one of my favorite Wii U features in general, and I'm glad to see it included in SQUIDS Odyssey. Sometimes I get tired while gaming and want to go to bed, but still feel like playing a tad bit more. Unfortunately, you can't switch to Off-TV mode in the middle of a level. In addition, there's no way to mirror the game. Sometimes I like to play on the gamepad while letting someone watch me on the TV, but that's not an option here. When in the Off-TV mode, the game plays just like it did on iOS, and it works flawlessly. Drag the screen to pan across the level, touch a squid and pull back to fling him or her, and tap the screen to activate an ability.

The story is surprisingly entertaining for a game that looks simple, told with dialogue and comic-like images between levels. Some squids fought in the previous war, some are thieves, but they all want to stop the black ooze. While I wouldn't consider the story the major selling-point, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Conclusion

SQUIDS was one of the first games for iOS about which I was truly excited, looking forward to sequels. The Wii U version didn't let me down. It's available on the Wii U eShop for $14.99. Not only is it fun, but it's also very beautiful. While I've played the iOS games before, it was still great to jump back into the ocean-world of SQUIDS on my Wii U. This time I had the opportunity to let people watch me easily, which isn't something I could do on my iPhone. I'd definitely recommend SQUIDS Odyssey to strategy fans who like light-hearted fun and will be waiting to see what The Game Bakers do with the series next.

I am @TheUser on Twitter. SQUIDS Odyssey was reviewed using a Wii U eShop download code provided for review purposes.














 
 

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