Squids Odyssey is an interesting blend of physics-based action and turn-based strategy. You control a band of cephalopods who are on an adventure to save their beloved ocean from an invading force of black, goopy, corrupted shellfish.
Squids first made an appearance on the iOS App Store in 2011 where I quickly fell in love with it’s simple yet addictive physics-based gameplay. It was then followed up nine months later with Squids: Wild West, and I loved that one too! Both games were high up on my Games of the Year lists in their respective years. Squids Odyssey, a bundle of both of these games with some added content, was initially released for the 3DS and WiiU in 2014 — and now we have it on the Switch. Quite the journey for these little invertebrates!
To save the day you have to launch your squids around the level by pulling back on their tentacles and letting go. You’re literally rubber-band-shooting them at enemies, objectives and other squids! The game is turn-based so you and the enemies will take turns launching your critters at each other to do the maximum amount of damage. Walls, pits, and ocean currents will help or hamper your progress, and later levels include bombs and switches as well.
Each level has a different set of requirements you’ll need to fulfil to complete it. Some require that you dispatch all of the enemies, some are races to the goal line, while others have you hunting down a rideable seahorse unlockable. Things are always changing, which keeps things interesting. When you complete the level you’ll be given bonus money for completing each of 3 basic tasks: Finding the hidden starfish hidden in the level, finishing the level without dying, and finishing the level under a set number of moves.
There are four classes of squids in the game: Scout, Trooper, Shooter and Healer and you can use any combination of squids to make up your party. Scouts can move further in a turn, while Troopers have an area of effect attack that can damage multiple enemies. The Healer is a strange one however: if you slam into a friendly squid you will heal them instead of damaging them. This is great until you accidentally send a buddy off of the map to their death instead of healing them. Lastly we have Shooters who can fire a ranged shot doing damage from afar. Great for when enemies are close to an edge and you don’t want to chance falling in yourself.
The currency of the land is pearls. You gain these precious spheres by completing the objectives in each level or by killing your foes. These pearls can then be used to buy hats or consumable power ups. Hats are both a means of pumping up the stats of your squids and a cosmetic item you can use to make your squids match your style. When you buy a new hat for one of the character classes you can use it to permanently increase your stats for all of those class members. It’s a cool system, but a little wasted because of the ramp up in difficulty. You may be powering up your squids, but later levels will have tougher enemies to beat as well which keeps the playing field basically the same. At least the hats look cool.
While the visuals are a little muddy in docked mode, this game looks fantastic in portable mode on the Switch. The touchscreen controls are spot on as well, which makes sense. After all, this game was born on the iPhone. The sound and musical score is simply fantastic, particularly the wild west themed songs. I used to listen to the Squids: Wild West soundtrack all the time so had to smile when all of my favourite tracks came on.
The interface is one area that could have used a lot of work on the Switch. It wasn’t until half way through the game that I figured out I could page left and right in the level select screen with the triggers. You can tell that this was ported from a smaller screen, and I would have loved for these screens to have been redone.
All in all Squids Odyssey is a beefy package with plenty of replayability. I found myself replaying most of the levels multiple times to earn all of the stars and grind up more pearls. The game’s 90+ levels will take you more than 15 hours to complete, and when you do you can replay it all in Pro Mode which doubles the damage you take for added challenge.
I’m so happy that this title was ported to the Switch. Six years later it’s still just as fun as it once was to sling around these little squids and see what sort of chain reaction I could cause. While I was hopeful that this version would have a lot of additional content, for $15 you are getting plenty of bang (and crash) for your buck.
- 90+ levels boasting over 15 hours of gameplay
- Touch screen control is on point
- Cephalopod chain reaction fun
- The gameplay feels sadly a little dated
- The UI could use a lot more work
- Muddy game assets could have used a remaster.
I played a digital copy of Squids Odyssey that was provided by The Game Bakers. If you have any questions on our review scale please see our About page.