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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: The Game Bakers
Developed By: The Game Bakers
Genre: Strategy RPG
Players: 1
Rated: E for Everyone (Mild Fantasy Violence)
Release Date: May 22, 2014
Screenshots: Link
Price: $14.99 (eShop)
Written By: Matthew Prunty

August 18, 2014 - I know we are late to the Wii U party, but there is no time like the present to jump right in and see what the console is all about. I’ve played countless RPGs over the years, yet I have to say this is the first time playing a strategy RPG with the presentation of Squids Odyssey. The RPG genre has been dominated with the likes of RPGs that pushed high polygon counts or deep, yet convoluted storylines. While Squids Odyssey is a deep experience in its own right, the concept of a deep sea underwater adventure puts the game into a category all its own. Like with any RPG, what you get out of it depends on how much you put into it and Squids Odyssey is an experience that will have you coming back for more.

Squids Odyssey features several unique troves that will remind everyone of a particular game or games, which helps with the overall charm of this game. Steev, Vahine and several other cephalopods are in danger as infectious black ooze is corrupting their underwater kingdom. This band of unlikely heroes come together to take on the treat the best way they know how, attaching it head-on. These little guys take on enemy crabs and shrimps of all shapes and sizes with a head-butt or two. And this is done simply by pulling back on one of the squids either with your left analog stick or stylus, aiming and firing them into the enemy. Sounds simply, and it really is. But that will only get you so far. You will need to know when you need to use a full power fling, which uses more stamina, versus a lighter touch to get more movement out of your comrades.

How much damage you do to an enemy depends on your proximity. Obviously, the closer you are to your enemy, the more damage you can do with your attacks. Depending on the enemy, you could use a lower power fling in order to defeat them, versus a more powerful attack. At the same time, if they are further away from you, a full fling attack can end up doing the same amount of damage as your lighter attack at close range. Considering your diminishing stamina with every fling, you also need to know when it’s best to fling yourself away from an attacker or into better positioning instead of trying to go that last hit in hopes of beating them. Your enemies are not the only dangers you have to face under the sea as there are environment hazards; which when damage, increase the need for you to strategize your movements. There are even bottomless pits that can provide an instant KO to your enemies, but also need to be used strategically. I found myself avoiding the bottomless pits all together simply because every time I would knock an enemy into it, I way out of stamina and there would be another enemy ready to attack me and put I in that very hole.

You and your band of merry squids belong to one of four classes – Scouts, Shooters, Troopers and Healers – all who have a vital role to play in your epic adventure. While they all have a role to play, most of the time I relied on my scouts, troopers and healers to cover my basis. Not saying the shooters are equally important, just when it comes to RPGs, I have a certain play-style. Scouts have the advantage of being able to utilize a few extra short bursts of movement, which mean the difference between being attacked or getting to a safe distance. Shooters have the ability of firing ranged attacks, which can keep them out of harms why while also devastating your enemy. Rounding out the classes are the Troopers and Healers; who can damage and knock back enemies with a series of stomp attacks and acquire extra health from colliding with enemies (respectively).

Squids Odyssey’s routs come from the mobile-sector of gamer where in-app purchases are very common. However, when it comes to console and handheld gaming, such transactions are almost non-existent. Because of this, funding your adventure with real money has been replaced with an abundance of pearls, which are scattered throughout the world. You can also acquire pearls through completing additional bounties, keeping your band of merry squids alive or finishing levels and boss battle within a certain amount of moves. With this currency, you will be able to level up for team, while also purchase stamina/life restoring items to keep you in the game longer. Just as important as it is to be mindful of your surroundings and how you attack your enemies, you want to monitor your team’s performance and keep them in tip top shape as the ladder levels are no pushover.

Squids Odyssey takes advantage of the capabilities of both the Wii U and the 3DS to produce a beautifully crafted game. Because developer The Game Bakers were trying to push the platforms to their breaking points, they were able to play around the visual styling’s of the game, while also creating intense battle sequences on screen with virtually no slowdown from the frame-rate. The various environments; as well as the cast of characters, have a colorful and cartoony look to them. Because of the contrasting color choices, both the backdrops as well as the characters on the screen have a visual pop to them. An entertaining prospect of doing an underwater RPG game is that you can still have the same tried and true backdrops that other popular RPGs are known for. One level will have you battling on the back of a giant turtle (al la Finding Nemo) to traversing the Wild Wild West. Since we don’t actually know what’s down there in the ocean, whose to say to say our sea creature don’t have “out of this world” battle sequences.

While all dialog is delivered via on-screen text; similar to traditional RPG games, you still get the since of the humor and unique that each of your squid-mates has. From a functional standpoint, they really isn’t a huge difference between the squids that join your cause, however each one brings a unique persona to the group, which creates some interesting and whimsical moments. Sound effects are solid and go hand-in-hand with the choice of the visual presentation.

Squids Odyssey was a pleasant surprise for me as my first Wii U title we’re reviewing on the website. For a strategy RPG experience, it’s one of the best I’ve played in recent memory. While the gameplay mechanics are simply and straight-forward, then is still that layer of depth and strategy that makes this game so engulfing. While RPG games are not for everyone, those who take the time to experience Squids Odyssey, will be pleasantly surprised.


Review Copy Provided By The Publisher

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