‘Squids’ Review: When Angry Birds Meets Final Fantasy Tactics

The Game Bakers have done the impossible with “Squids,” their new action/RPG for the iPhone/iPod touch. They have managed to make a mobile game that feels like it belongs on a console. That probably has something to do with the fact that the company’s head honchos, Audrey Leprince and Emeric Thoa, spent over a decade of combined time working on great game franchises for Ubisoft, the likes of Tom Clancy Ghost Recon, End War and Rayman.

With beautiful visuals, intuitive controls and a fun, turn-based battle system, “Squids” is easily the best mobile game released this fall.

“Angry Birds” watch out. The squids are out to get you.

Taking anywhere from 5-6 hours to complete with a host of unlockables and promised additional content in future updates, the game has the type of gameplay that most mobile games can’t get close to. The story, which is a cross between Final Fantasy and Star Wars, has a team of squids fighting an evil force to save their kingdom. While the plot isn’t as developed as those aforementioned titles, it has the best story of any mobile game released up to this point this device generation. After a few levels, you get attached to the characters and quickly develop favorites.

When was the last time a mobile game did that?

Simply put, before this game, even Angry Birds, the Super Mario Brothers of mobile games, was looked at as more of a distraction or time killer. Squids, on the other hand, is a title that you’ll get the most fun out of when you’re at home and ready to game. Sure, it’s fun to play on the run as well, but for the first time, you’ll see that mobile games can have the same staying power of a console title.

The visuals are fantastic and lend themselves to the story. A cross between “Little Mermaid” and “Finding Nemo” with a “Rayman” twist, the backgrounds shimmer with the colors of the ocean. The character models are simple, put are large enough to attract your attention. All in all, there isn’t a better-looking title on the iPhone right now.

The fighting system is simple. By stretching your squid’s tentacles, you can sling them across the screen into enemies, similar to “Angry Birds.” However, the top-down camera and RPG nature of the title make it much more than a game that borrows inspiration from those colorful birds. In the end, the gameplay is deep and rewarding. With multiple classes, weapon upgrades and tons of hidden items and characters, this game ultimately becomes the first example of how to create a mobile game.

Aside from a few hiccups during gameplay, such as rare game freezes, the title provides a one of a kind adventure on a platform begging for them.

Any RPG fan or hardcore gamer with an iPhone [or an iPad, it plays beautifully on there as well] will find out after a few levels that the game is so much more than the sum of its amazing parts. It proves all the other game companies out there wrong.

Mobile games can be more than tech fodder and guilty pleasures.

They can be fully satisfying.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12822 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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