Gamers will be able to play like it’s 1989 with the release of Squidlit Ink.’s monochrome adventure Squidlit. Designed in the style of the Game Boy classics of old, should you set out to save the day?
Players will start their adventures in the humble village of Blipston, one that lies on the outskirts of a “spoopy” castle. A squidlit squid has been sent in as a scout, but the little guy has yet to return. Being the noble fellow that you are, you grab some muffins from the town baker and set off to figure out the mystery behind this castle.
Most of the game follows your typical platformer rules. If you can’t talk to it by hitting up, it’s an enemy that must be inked. To attack your foes, players must jump over it and hit the jump button once more to shoot out some jet black liquid from your underside. This requires some precarious positioning, as players must be over their target in order to hit it. However, all enemies other than bosses go down in one hit, and it is easy enough to line up a shot. Even if players do get smacked around by the sharkerpillars, untznails, wallop polyps, and other mystical creatures, it is possible to take multiple hits with the muffin HP mechanic.
The world of Squidlit was designed to be as close as possible to the titles that have graced Nintendo’s Game Boy. Everything is a pea soup green, and the one button setup errs on the side of simplistic. Some may not like the 4:3 ratio and the dated graphics, but this is a design choice that manages to be stylistic.
Most of the game has players progressing from one area to another, taking down enemies along the way. There are no secrets, no unlockables, and no upgrades – what you see is what you get. Players will occasionally have to take down a set amount of targets or take down a boss in a horizontal shmup style of play, but the game is simple to a fault. Despite this, there are some creative touches with some of the bosses, ones that require approaching things in a different way.
Wrapping everything together is a charming plot full of silly dialog and whimsical elements. Some of it borders on the nonsensical, but the lighthearted nature of both the protagonist and even the enemy forces will lighten up your day.
It’s just a shame that the game is far too short for its own good. We took our sweet time, and were still able to complete it in around 30 minutes. While it does have a low price point, something to encourage replayability would have gone a long way.
Squidlit is overly simplistic by design, which somewhat works against it. Those that don’t mind a short adventure will enjoy inking their way through its whimsical world, but those looking for something meatier might be disappointed.
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