Squidgies Takeover is a physics-based puzzle game where you’re tasked with guiding cute little blobs to warp holes so that they can escape their Momma’s tentacles and find new planets to inhabit. Use seven different power-ups to transform Squidgies in order to guide the others to freedom and unlock more levels. However don’t get too attached, not every Squidgy will have a fairy tale ending.
In terms of Squidgies Takeover’s gameplay, you can think of it as being similar to Lemmings where you must sacrifice one or more of the blobs in order for those remaining to make it to safety. When you begin a new level, you will see the abilities that you can use and the order in which you are required to use them. These abilities are to be used on an individual Squidgy and most of them will cause that Squidgy to be left behind once all is said and done. There are a variety of different abilities that force you to consider how to best utilise them without sacrificing too many as the more Squidgies you save, the more planets the Squidgies inhabit (being a maximum of three per level). This is a great way for the player to be both experimental and conservative, often needing to play the levels a few times in order to get a perfect run.
Speaking of playing the levels a few times: once you complete a perfect run and unlock all three new planets, you are then able to undertake Feats. These act as extra challenges, whether they be to finish the level within a certain time, complete the level a different way or even kill squidgies in a particular fashion. This works great for expanding the game from its 80+ levels and they make you further experiment with new ideas. However, these feats don’t become viewable until you’ve completed a perfect run and the issue with that is if you complete one of the feats before you even knew what they were, it doesn’t count. That means that you have to do the level again in the same way which simply comes across as monotonous and repetitive. Also, there are no visual or audio cues to indicate that you’ve completed a feat, so the only way to know is to go back into the Feats menu once again to check. Most of the levels can be completed in half a minute so it’s not too tiresome, but it’s an oversight nonetheless.
Squidgies Takeover has two control methods: touch screen and gyro point controls. The game plays like a mobile game would, but the use of the gyro controls in the Joy-Cons to act like a Wii remote allows it to be played in both handheld and TV mode. I would still say that handheld with the Joy-Cons detached is the best way to play Squidgies Takeover as you need to be precise and the Joy-Cons tend to have calibration issues (which can be fixed with a quick press of the X button), but the addition is very much appreciated. What can make TV mode easier is the ability to speed up or slow down time with the use of the triggers… nice touch!
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For docked mode, I was hoping to feel each squidgy bob around inside the Joy-Cons with HD Rumble but alas, this was not the case. The Cons remained perfectly still throughout the entire playthrough. It’s understandable considering you need precision or you can play using the touchscreen, but it still feels like a strange omission for a Switch exclusive.
The levels are all short and bite-sized which works well for the Switch’s pickup-and-play style. With over 80 levels, each with the ability to be completed within a single minute, it’s a great game to play before bed or whilst waiting at the doctor’s office.
The level designs are quite imaginative, causing you to really consider your plan of attack. However, I did find some to feel not difficult, but awkward, resulting in some frustrating moments where I either skipped the level or was content in unlocking just one planet.
The levels increase in difficulty depending on their numbers, but they aren’t required to be beaten in that order. The overworld map is laid out with all of the Momma’s eggs laid out in front of her (at least, I think they’re her eggs). It’s a clever progression layout, but I found them difficult to select when using the Joy-Cons as you press A to select them, but you can also hold A to move the screen up and down.
The game’s story doesn’t take a commanding presence throughout, but it does set the scene and provide explanation for what the Squidgies are trying to do. It’s nothing special, but it doesn’t need to be. At the end of the day, the game’s charm when it comes to the story is its setting and cute cast of character(s).
Graphics / Art Direction
The Squidgy designs are adorable and seeing them transform into different shapes is exciting. That just makes sacrificing them all the more difficult. Regardless, their endearment gives the game a distinct hint of charm.
Despite the background and asset designs being bright and colourful, they tend to get repetitive with a lack of variety. They changed slightly, but never so much that it became exciting.
Music / Sound Design
The game’s music is adequate without a single standout track. The sound effects are cute, or traumatic if they die painful deaths, but they can get annoying when one Squidgy is followed by half a dozen. It is all serviceable to the point where it gets the job done but at the end of the day, it’s nothing to write home about.
Final Score: 74%
Squidgies Takeover is a wonderfully charming puzzle game that tends to excel in some levels but fall short in others. There is a lot of fun to be had here and the Lemmings concept makes you carefully consider each move and retry levels to do just that little better. While it may lack in certain areas and have very minor control issues, Squidgies Takeover is certainly a great time to be had.
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