About a year ago, I found myself hooked on a bright, cheery colorful game from a developer called The Game Bakers entitled Squids. The blend it had of artillery, puzzle and even RPG style gameplay helped it stand out in my mind. Topping off the gameplay was a delightful cast of characters, fun and humorous dialogue, a story that leaves the player begging to know what happens next, and a nice handful of bonus levels to keep the player entertained (I’m personally still struggling to get all three stars on the final bonus level from the most recent update).
The reason why I bring up this year old game is because The Game Bakers are releasing the sequel fairly soon: Squids Wild West. I personally got the privilege to be one of the beta testers on this game, so I can already say that the game does a good job of improving on the formula while expanding it to make it feel like a worthwhile sequel, making it the most rootin’-tootinist cephalopod-starring western themed game on the market. To help explain the series a bit better, I decided to get in touch with the creative director and producer of Squids, Emeric Thoa, and ask him a couple questions about the franchise.
Piki Geek (PG): First of all, where did the idea for the Squids series come from?
Thoa: My partner Audrey discovered that we both share a passion for cephalopods one day. Squids are fantastic creatures with 3 hearts and 9 brains, and many other incredible properties (and they can taste good!). We thought they would make great characters for a game. Later on, when I was thinking about the game mechanics for our game, I started with little humans as characters, but I had difficulty to make the characters fit with the control I wanted, and then I had a blast: TENTACLES! That was perfect: stretch and throw. When we tested it with real players, they got it instantly, it was very intuitive. More than a bird in a slingshot actually .
PG: Having the characters head out West stood out in the Squids unique world. Are any of you fans of classic spaghetti westerns?
Thoa: The Squids world is composed of several kingdoms, each of them built upon human objects that have fallen into the oceans. In the first Squids, we explored Steev and Vahine’s kingdom of Aukai, the “Hawaiian” kingdom, and Vesper and Venus’ kingdom of Thalas, the “Greek mythology” kingdom. Our fans love Clint, so it made sense to explore Seawood, Clint’s country. Maybe the next one will be Wakame (I let you guess whose kingdom this is and what civilization this is!).
PG: What new things can people expect from Wild West over the original Squids?
Thoa: Well, regarding gameplay, we have new enemies, new interactive objects in levels such as the explosive lobsters, cannon fish, levers to unlock obstacles… but we also have new maps, new characters, new helmets, new music, and improved menus. It’s a whole new Squids game, a true follow up to the first one.
PG: Do you guys have any plans or surprises for Squids’ future beyond Wild West?
Thoa: We intend to continue working on the game and updating it. If the game succeeds we will for sure want to pursue the Squids adventure. We also have plans for a comic book, but that’s a bit soon to talk about it.
PG: Who is your personal favorite Squid from both the original and Wild West?
Thoa: Of course I have a little crush for Steev, the main character, but I also like very much Sammo. When I ask this question to players, Clint is the favorite but the second place is very much disputed.
So there you have it. If you’re looking for a fun blend of gameplay and story that’s easy on both the eyes and the wallet, I urge interested players to pick up Squids for iOS, Android, Mac or PC. And remember, Squids Wild West is being released on the app store this Wednesday, the 27th of June, 2012. So hop on your seahorse, don the hat of your choice, and meet me at the Saloon in Seawood for a sarsaparilla…or whatever the squid version of that would be.