What parents need to know
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.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
Engagement, Approach, Support
An initial learning hump and middling graphics in the Nintendo 3DS version might put off some kids, but strategy fans who push through this barrier will find a compelling game of turn-based tactics.
The need for strategic play encourages kids to think tactically by planning each move in advance, taking into account map layouts and enemy abilities. Kids will learn from both their successes and mistakes, applying this information in future encounters.
Instructions are provided as needed within the game. The developer has not created a community or forum for players to share and talk about strategies, so most kids will need to work out tactics on their own.
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.
Families can talk 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?