It takes a lot for Nintendo to accept they have to move forward sometimes. They do so much right but they’re so stuck in their ways that they can get left behind in an industry where you have to constantly change with the times. Finally, Squids Odyssey is a step in the right direction as this is Nintendo’s first cross-buy title, meaning if you purchase this on either a Wii U or a 3DS, you can grab it on the other console too at no extra cost. The question is though; does the games quality warrant you to play it on one console, never mind two?
Squids Odyssey combines RPG elements with Angry Birds style finger flicking in an attempt to bridge the gap between the casual gamer and players used to deeper and more strategic gameplay. You take your merry band of squids across a series of eight worlds, where you’re pitted against a series of crabs and other sea critters. You work your way across the map using the touch screen, flinging your squids to move and smacking them into enemies. The maps are littered with traps that can hurt both you and your opponents, and one wrong flick and you run the risk of falling off the edge of the battlefield or even smacking into a rogue sea urchin.
It might sound simple enough, but tactics soon come in handy, and accuracy plays a vital part in completing your mission. Firing your squids at an enemy and knocking them into another of your squids gives you extra combo points and bonus damage, so you can really play around with different techniques to get through the missions.
Early missions aren’t very varied and can get tedious at times, but once the story progresses the variety ups, giving you different missions to complete, such as completing levels with certain squids, or lasting a set amount of turns. It offers a little bit of variety, but some players will be frustrated to not be able to use characters they’ve spent a long time levelling up.
Each of your troops has individual abilities depending on their type, with each offering a different effect on the battle. Your heavy unit has a stomp ability that can damage enemy troops and knock them across the map, whilst the shooter squids come complete with guns that allow you to target a specific enemy to cause high damage.
As you progress you’ll unlock new characters to add to your roster, but despite having physical differences, none of them have different moves or abilities. If you unlock a new shooter, he’ll still have the basic shooting ability that the first shooter had. That being said you can find and unlock new gear in the form of hats throughout the maps, which you can then buy with points you’ve built up throughout gameplay, so you have some control over the strength and attributes of your troops. You can infuse these hats powers to your squids, meaning that you can pick any hat that you like the style of, but you can have the strength of another, giving you full choice when it comes to choosing your headgear. You can also find and use power ups that grant you an edge over your enemies, which often come in handy on some of the tougher levels.
I must admit, I can’t remember the last time I used the 3D on my 3DS. Granted, it looks cool, but I’ve always found it a strain on the eyes. For Squids Odyssey, it’s almost worth the half hour headache post-game. Granted, some of the filler levels aren’t much to look at, and you’ll soon notice reused backgrounds and designs, but some standouts are beautiful. The early on levels where you’re tasked with fighting off waves of crabs on the back of a giant, swimming turtle are gorgeous; as the environment moves, complete with fish swimming overhead, you can fully appreciate the amount of work gone into making this a games art style as attractive as it is.
Squids Odyssey is a fun if sometimes repetitive game that makes great use of the touch screen functionality but doesn’t push its RPG theme quite enough. Its high polish and charm makes it a great title for Nintendo’s first step towards cross-buy functionality, and one that casual and serious gamers alike should at least consider.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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