Game Reviews

Squibble Review – Slap Me Some Squid!

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An evil scientist has captured you, poor octopus, and you’re desperate to escape the lonely confines of his attic-level laboratory. Using the power of your sticky, stretchy tentacles, you must make your way back to sea.

Title: Squibble | Developer: Mass Habit GamesGenre: Action, Platformer |

Players: 1 | Version: 1.0 | Size: 5.9MB | Price: $2.91

Squibble QRCClick QRC image (from phone) or scan with a barcode reader.

A mad scientist has captured your cutesy, albeit deranged-looking octopus-self and locked you away in the attic of his mansion! Using your amazing brain-capacity (don’t forget, there was once an octopus who predicted soccer finalists) and your two  prehensile, sticky little tentacles, you’ll need to make your way from the lab back to the ocean… where, I’m guessing you’ll get eaten by a shark.

In the span of 20 levels you will swing to-and-fro using your tentacles, be launched like a mollusk out of a slingshot, crawl along the floor (if you’re lucky), and avoid traps all along the way to the big, glowy “Exit” sign. Squibble plays like a platformer, in that you rely on various platforms and pillars for motion (octopi crawl rather slowly), but also involves a “puzzler” aspect in that you should probably do some planning before you affix your next suction-cup. Squibble is a rather stretchy and bouncy octopus, and if you’re not careful, you’ll find him rebounding-off some wall and into a spike-pit. Spikes are bad.

There’s nothing really in the way of power-ups in Squibble, or options for that matter, but you will be encouraged to collect as many water-drops as possible before you exit stage-right. Water-drops are similar to the coins in Super Mario – the more you find, the better your score. You can always replay a level and try to best yourself if you’re a perfectionist or simply masochistic (or both), and there are a couple bonus levels for you to try your luck at if you want a change of scenery. As far as health/lives are concerned, you’ll begin each level with a set-number of hearts depending on the difficulty level you select. I’ve been playing on “normal”, and find myself dying on a fairly consistent basis – so be warned.

Controls: The pre-game tutorial complicates things a bit, to tell the truth… Essentially, you’ll use your thumbs (landscape-mode only) to tap on various platforms and parts of platforms, thus affixing one of your sticky appendages to it. With a second-tap, either on the same or a different platform, you’ll affix your other tentacle. At this point, you must disregard everything you know about octopi with regards to number-of-tentacles; you only get two. 

Once you’ve got both arms attached, you “go wobbly”, and the larger the stretch between suction-cups, the more reactive Squibble becomes to movement. You can move yourself around to get water-drops (by holding Squibble and dragging), then let-go to launch like a slingshot. Or, for a more methodical and “safe” mode of transportation, continue tapping more platforms to get your swing-on. As the tutorial will tell you, youcan un-hook a tentacle first by tapping where it connects to a platform, but I find it easier just to keep moving. 

One thing you will need to master in this game is latching-on to a platform in mid-flight. To do this, use one thumb to pull Squibble back into launch-position and hover your other thumb over a target platform. Just as you let Squibble fly, tap the other platform to stick. If you get the timing right, this tactic will help your game immensely.

The controls and physics really define this game, and I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive and tight they felt. It’s pretty solid, control-wise, and reminds me a bit of Angry Birds.

Graphics: Again, like Angry Birds, Squibble does the vector-style, cartoony approach to graphics – and pulls it off quite well. The objects and backgrounds are crisp and colorful, albeit a tad simplistic.

Sound: Nice job on the sound, I must say. Squibble squeaks like a dog-toy when he/she/it hits a surface, and exclaims in pain when spiked. However, it’s the fun, pseudo-gypsy background soundtrack and atmospheric sound-effects that really stand out to me.

Options: Not so much. You can toggle the sound and select a difficulty level, and that’s about it for options! Not that it really needs any… Squibble’s appeal is in its simplicity.

Verdict:
I feel like Squibble might automatically have some appeal to fans of Angry Birds, due to the control-scheme and physics, and definite appeal to everyone else. The controls are tight, the game runs flawlessly, the physics add a nice twist, and it’s a great blend of action and pause-to-think. Squibble’s also not very easy (in my opinion), so it’ll provide a good bit of game-play before you move on. I would have liked to be able to zoom, and also drag the screen around to plan my next reach – but perhaps that would’ve made things too easy. Over-all, this is a fun game to play, but a tad expensive given how few levels there are.

PS: I’ve been informed by the developer that they will be regularly releasing new bonus-levels for all paid customers!

Rating: ★★★

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