Have you ever dreamt what it will be like to live underwater, to have no legs or arms. To have tentacles? In other words, have you ever dreamt how life would be if you were a squid? Well, you can now have a taster with the fun squids flinging game called very imaginatively, “Squids”.
From the opening moments of the game you will be greeted by some wonderful intro graphics and a brilliant soundtrack. The initial music on the startup screen is so catchy and recognizable that I ended up humming it for the next few days. The startup screen has a wonderful visual of you moving through a rich and flourishing sea but is it so busy that it is very difficult to see your mouse cursor. Even after playing it for awhile, every time I start the game I end up moving madly the mouse trying to spot my cursor amongst the seaweed and the fish.
The game seemed straightforward enough at first, however, when it started going through the tutorial I was very puzzled. It was talking about panning, pinch zooming, finger sliding and things like that. At first I panicked and I thought that I picked up the tablet version. However a second later I realised that it was actually working on Windows 7 PC so obviously it was the right version. It seems simply that the company wrote one tutorial targeted at tablet or phone users and never bothered changing it for PC. Theoretically, there are PCs with touch screens but in practice there are a tiny minority of the users that will have a touch monitor on a PC. Its a relief then that the game is simple enough to play without a tutorial.
Now with the game up and running and the confusion put aside I was introduced to my virtual me(s). You play the game as a group of characters: Steev, Vahine and Winnick and few more that you add later. It is a turn based RPG game where you propel the character by pulling its tentacles. You have to kill your enemy by bumping into them or making them fall off the edge of the game world. There are plenty of obstacles like spiky sea urchins, angry blowfish and so on that can reduce yours or enemy’s life.
Your currency is pearls that you collect when bumping into clams to make them open, or when you kill an enemy or find a bottle with treasure. You can use your pearls to upgrade your characters, buy special equipment and so on. You also find all sorts of weird and wonderful things (like strange helmets for example) along the way which are added to your shop and you can use them later. In the base you can also choose who is the leader of your group and potentially change the dynamics of the game if you wish.
At the start Steev is the main leader of the group, and everybody else has special powers. Vahine is a healer and you can restore a character’s energy by bumping into her, and Winnick is a starfish that can stomp the ground and that sends the enemies in range flying off and thus reducing their energy. There are few more characters that you meet through the game like sumo dressed starfish Sammo, Clint (who wears a cowboy hat and shoots with pistols surprise, surprise!), Vesper and few more. The game controls are very easy (literally just mouse clicking and dragging) and initially it starts quite simple. Each new level adds extra obstacles: fighting enemies that keep appearing, fighting on the back of a giant sea turtle with strong currents that can sweep you off to your death, fighting amongst sea urchins with strong current that keeps pushing you towards them if you don’t judge your moves very carefully and so on.
There is a story linking the levels (to some extent). Its light stuff, but adds some flavour to the varied levels.
So overall it is a great and very amusing game that you can play only one or two levels at a time if you wish or spend more than an hour flinging squids around without getting bored. There are some story lines that appear only in writing at the beginning of every level so it is not completely suitable for younger kids, although it is possible for a kid to just to fling the squid around and have bags of fun but the game has a lot more potential for development and therefore its more suitable for grown-ups.
8 squids-a-squirming out of 10