Squidgies Takeover (Switch eShop) Review
Developer Giant Margarita is probably best known for its series of Party-something games. Those are multiplayer experiences best played with friends, but Squidgies Takeover isn’t that at all. Instead, it’s a physics-based puzzle game where you have to deliver the Squidgies to their new home through the use of a variety of interesting power-ups.
Throughout the game’s 80 levels you’ll have to guide your Squidgies to the portal to be re-homed. Squidgies will drop onto the screen and it’s up to you to figure out how to get them to the portal. To do that you’ll need to use the set number of power-ups you’re given and in order. The early levels only give you one opr two power-ups and are fairly simple to complete. You’ll use the touch screen or motion pointer controls to tap on the Squidgies to get them to transform, and you need as many of them alive as possible to fully complete levels. The first level has you place Squidgies that turn into arrows that force Squidgies up a hill to the portal, but ten levels later you’ll have to time turning your Squidgies into metal form to see-saw them to their new home. Most levels have a fairly obvious linear way to complete them, but in others you’ll be able to use the power-ups in a way that obviously wasn’t the intended way to complete a level but it’ll get the job done anyway.
Eventually, you’ll get to the crazy levels which require you to freeze Squidgies in place to bounce them off and change direction, then turn them into swinging Squidgies and fly over gaps to hit down barriers all while avoiding fire and all in one motion. Things can get pretty hectic, and luckily there’s an option to both speed up and slow down the game. Unfortunately there’s no visual indication on the screen during gameplay of how fast or slow you’re going (aside from the Squidgies themselves moving) which can be annoying. Each level has two stages of completion; you can just finish it by saving at least one of the Squidgies or fill up three planets worth of Squidgies to be perfect. The game doesn’t let you know how well you’ve done until you complete a level, as finishing the level with the bare amount of Squidgies will be enough to get the tick.
The game rolls out over the 80 levels in an interesting way as well. If you beat the initial level two more will unlock – the next in line and one much harder one. When you use a new power-up for the first time you’ll get a gem which will unlock a later level that uses that power up. It’s so you can’t skip ahead too far. The main level select screen isn’t linear, so that means if you think you’re going great and want a harder challenge right away you can just jump a few levels. You’ll probably breeze through the game quickly and unlock all the levels but going back and getting the little “crown” on each one will take time. There’s the main goal of getting the required Squidgies home, but then each level has several different feats required once you’ve done that. These range from killing all your Squidgies, not using certain power-ups and more. There are also leaderboards for each level once you’ve completed it once. Unfortunately, because of these leaderboards, the game will nag you to connect to wi-fi or turn off airplane mode if you’re playing away from home.
As mentioned before there are two ways to play the game. You can play the game entirely with the touchscreen in handheld mode. With the speed controls on the right triggers, and reset on the D-Pad you’ll shift from holding it like you would play any other game and then playing it like you might a piano laying down, setting the speed right then performing all the moves gracefully once you find the right path. This is especially so in a later level which requires multiple changes to Squidgies. The other controls are Joy-Con pointer controls which are very similar to World of Goo. I found these controls to work great most of the time, but trickier levels require complex and fast movements. You’ll probably need to slow the game right down or you’ll be starting levels again a lot. Some levels feel like they play better with the touch controls, others with the pointer, so it’s a good thing they included both.
Squidgies Takeover is a wonderfully cute looking game too. While themes across levels are very similar no two levels are the same, and general ideas are often repeated but no two puzzles are solved the same way (aside from the levels which are deliberate call-backs). The Squidgies themselves are super cute, and their high-pitched squeaks give them life. They also give them death too. It’s never fun to see a solution you’ve created to solve a level fail and then watch all of your Squidgies end up in acid or burnt alive. You’ve just got to get these little guys home!
Squidgies Takeover is a delightful little puzzler with a too-cute presentation that hides some real brain-busting ideas behind it. Each of the game’s levels has an original idea and new way of playing, and there are multiple reasons to go back with leaderboards and further feats to complete to fully conquer the game. You’ll have to find the right way to play the game for yourself, but once you do, you’ll be sending all the Squidgies to their new home in no time.
Rating: 4 / 5
+ Each level brings new challenges
+ Looks cute, plays brainy
+ Leaderboards, feats and more to go back to
- Difficulty spikes
- No one control method is perfect for all levels
- More information within levels would be nice