Game review by Steve Cullum
Game – Squids Odyssey
Version – 3DS 3Shop
Rating – E for Everyone
Original Price – $14.99
Obtained – Review Copy from The Game Bakers
Have you been looking for a turn-based strategy game where you control various squids on their quest to save their underwater homeland from black ooze? Would you like to take that game on the road? You are in luck! The Game Bakers have brought SQUIDS Odyssey from the Wii U to the 3DS for you to enjoy on the go.
Before we jump in to the actual review, it is important to know this is essentially the same game that released on Wii U. Both games, though, go back deeper into history than just a couple months ago. Odyssey includes two campaigns that originally were the mobile games SQUIDS and SQUIDS Wild West. It also includes a new chapter in the kingdom of Wakame, a new Squid hero, exclusive helmets, and many other improvements over the original games. The controls have also been reimagined for the Wii U and 3DS. We already reviewed the Wii U version a while back, so be sure to check it out. (For those of you in Europe, if you buy the 3DS version, you will also get the Wii U version.) As for the 3DS version, here we go.
Odyssey places you in control of a team of squids, which you move around by pulling and flinging them by their tentacles. The stylus can be used for more accurate flinging, but some of the squids’ abilities can only be activated by pressing “A” while moving, so chances are you will spend the majority of your time playing with the slightly less precise Circle Pad. This makes the gameplay more involved than other turn-based RPGs and adds in a layer of skill that makes every victory feel rewarding. It also makes me enjoy it more than other games in this genre.
The game builds on its flinging mechanic in some interesting ways. To get a bit of extra distance you can run into an allied squid to push them ahead or send an enemy flying back by smashing into them at high speeds. Foes can be defeated by hitting them to drain their health points or by launching them off the play area into a pit. Even if your squids are very powerful, a weak enemy can take you out if you are not careful where you land. Pits present one of the main issues with the game, as you may accidentally launch one your characters to their doom with a misdirected launch path. Certain items will bring your characters back onto the playing field, but post-match bonuses are still lost if this happens.
There are four different classes of squids: Scouts, Healers, Shooters, and Troopers. Scouts can gain extra bursts of speed if you press “A” while they are moving, making them the most useful characters for moving across the map quickly. Healers will restore health to their allies upon contact. Shooters can fire ranged attacks at enemies. Troopers will pound the ground to send out a shock wave that damages enemies around them. The in-game shop offers stat-boosting helmets, new squids, items to aid you on the battlefield, and the option to level up your squids in exchange for pearls. Odyssey offers a decent level of customization that is not as huge as some games in its genre, but it still manages to keep the gameplay from becoming too stale. Honestly, this was good for me, because the customization offered by some games like Fire Emblem: Awakening is overwhelming to many players. Odyssey seems to find a happy-medium in this.
Odyssey is also really pretty and sounds great. It is definitely one of the best looking and sounding eShop-only games I have played on the 3DS. Between the colorful worlds, the fun music, and the ominous under-water sounds, I often forgot I was playing on my 3DS. The 3D effects are also well used, but it is good to note it is not required to play the game. The only unfortunate thing about the sound is that there was no voice acting at all, which means that you have to read everything. While this is not that big of a deal, in itself, the problems come when the dialogue boxes come up at odd times. A few times, I was right in the middle of a battle, and I was stopped by a text box, which threw me off my game. Also, menus show up on both the top and bottom screens, which just seem odd.
Between the game’s multiple chapters (including over 90 levels), unlockable squids, and dozens of hats to find, there are easily over 15 hours of content to experience. The bright atmosphere, detailed maps, colourful characters, and catchy music make the experience all the more enjoyable. The gameplay can be frustrating at times, especially when you accidentally launch a character into a pit halfway through a mission, but for the most part, it is an enjoyable twist on the turn-based RPG genre that is well worth the price of entry, even for those who are not usually fans. On top of all this, the portable nature of the game on the 3DS makes it even more enjoyable than the Wii U version.
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10
+ Innovative gameplay.
+ Colorful art style.
+ Level sizes are good for play on-the-go.
+ Lots of content.
– Accidentally falling into pits is frustrating.
– No voice acting means you have to read all the text, which sometimes shows up at odd times.