Squids is (get ready this is a long one) an under-water, turn-based, physics-focused, strategy-RPG that is currently available in the app store. It also is the most uniquely enjoyable game I’ve played in the last decade. Roger Ebert once said “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough” and the French development studio “The Game Bakers” prove that point with Squids – an addicting (and deep) experience that is well worth the price of admission, but like all of the best entertainment, is over far too quickly.
The game gives you a hand at the start with a helpful tutorial, explaining the controls. You tap and hold on a squid, and drag your finger back and let go to send it sailing in hopes to hit the targets. The physics are great, and if you bump one squid into another the squid you hit will go flying and you lose most of your momentum. While the Angry Birds influence is here, Squids plays more like an RPG hybrid of Billiards and Pinball, due to the various ramps and paths you can take.
Each squid has special abilities. If you tap certain squids after you send them flying, they’ll do a little “Dash” move that gives them a bunch more momentum. Others have a butt-stomp style move that will send nearby objects flying in all directions. To keep things manageable in the later levels of the game, some squid can heal simply by bumping into other squids. You can buy items to boost health, statistics, and to resurrect squids that may have died or slid off the game board.
I cannot stress enough how fun and compelling Squids is. I played it for three hours straight, and once it was over, I was immediately depressed. After completing this game, I played the legendary “Final Fantasy Tactics” and found myself wishing things were a bit more simplified like they were in Squids. Seriously. I found myself wishing that possibly the greatest RPG of all time, was more like a game that costs under five dollars. That kind of sentiment is hard to come by.
But, it is short. Or, well, it felt that way. There’s a marathon mode you can dive into, which allows you to play some levels in reverse with a higher difficulty (and is also great) and a sequel is available for 1.99 that has twice as many missions as the first game. But really, you owe it to yourself to play this one first. So, if you’ll pardon the aquatic pun, I think you should dive right in.