Squids Odyssey

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Squids Odyssey Game Poster Image
Strange but fun game mixes aquatic tactics and role-playing.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy in this unusual turn-based role-playing game starring heroic squids that players fling about aquatic environments. Most players will quickly realize that sending their squids carelessly against large groups of enemies isn't conducive to success. Tactical planning -- with special consideration paid to variables like enemy weaknesses and environmental obstacles – and precision flings are much more likely to keep your squids alive and effective. Squids Odyssey doesn't teach players much about the real world, but it might just help inspire kids to think through their actions and plan ahead in their day-to-day lives.   

Positive Messages

Kids will encounter a straightforward fantasy story with simple themes of courage, duty, and friendship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The squids are good guys fighting to save their watery world. They come to each other's aid, and even prove themselves willing to die to save one another.

Ease of Play

Kids may be a bit confused at first as they come to grips with the game's unusual controls and play objectives. But they should have their sea legs (tentacles?) by the sixth or seventh mission. The remaining 80-plus levels provide opportunity for them to hone the skills they've learned. 

Violence & Scariness

Players fling cartoonish, anthropomorphized squids through aquatic environments, decreasing the health bars of other sea creatures they come in contact with. One of the squids wields a revolver that shoots pearls. There's no blood or gore.

Language

One occurrence of the word "hell."

Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Squids Odyssey is a turn-based tactical role-playing game with an emphasis on action. Combat is cartoonish and completely blood-free. Players control a rotating squad of squids they fling at oozy, inky enemies to deplete their health or push them over the edge of the playing field. The squishy heroes work to save their world from an encroaching evil. They're sympathetic and brave, displaying friendship to the point of self sacrifice.   

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What's it about?

SQUIDS ODYSSEY puts players in command of small groups of squids working to protect their realm from an invading force corrupting the aquatic world. The heroes confront their enemies -- crabs, lobsters, and other creatures covered in black ooze -- by launching themselves at foes. Enemies are defeated when their health bars sink to zero or when they're pushed over the level's edge. They can also be damaged if pushed into hazards, such as pointy sea urchins. Between each of the game's 90-plus missions players can visit a shop to buy more team members or purchase head wear that boosts characters' vital stats. They can also drop by the squids' base to change party members and spend pearls they've collected to improve individual characters.

Is it any good?

Few games are comparable to Squids Odyssey. Its primary play mechanic -- flinging cephalopods across the sea floor and the backs of giant turtles -- is unique and introduces some interesting tactics. The heroes have a limited number of action points each turn, which are used up depending on how hard they're flung. That adds a new level of strategy to the game -- for instance, you can be sneaky, flinging characters in short bursts so they can hit several enemies at once or push an opponent into a hazard. It takes a while to get the hang of the strategy required, but once things start to click it can be a lot of fun -- and surprisingly challenging, too.

It's too bad other parts of the game don't quite live up to the action. Cutscenes between missions are meant to be funny, but are more often just dull. While it's fun to unlock new squad members -- each of whom has their own distinct character -- and buy and outfit your squids with new gear, leveling up characters is anticlimactic. Huge investments of hard-earned pearls often result in small increases to crucial stats, like health. While it's a peculiar game that could have done with a bit more time in the oven, the creative action goes a long way toward recommending it. Turn-based strategy fans who give it a chance will undoubtedly have a fine time.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about being strategic in daily life. Do you plan ahead? Create contingencies if your plans don't work out? Can you think of any times when you did something impulsively and later wished you’d considered the potential outcomes of your actions?

  • Discuss the ocean and its curious life forms that are shown in Squids Odyssey, many of which seem almost alien. Squids and octopi are apparently quite intelligent. What do you think cephalopods might think about while swimming in the dark depths of the sea? 

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy

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