Capsule Review: Squidlit

A short and simple platformer with an enjoyable 'inking' mechanic that will hopefully be put to better use in a more-substantive followup.

A short and simple 2D platformer that adheres to the technical limitations of the Nintendo Game Boy. Play as a squid who can walk, jump, and “ink” - hitting the jump button again in midair will shoot some ink downward, giving you a bit more air time and attacking enemies. Explore a few levels punctuated by boss fights, defeat enemies, solve a couple of puzzles, and find a couple of secrets.

It’s easy to imagine this game releasing on the actual Game Boy and doing well at the time, but the technical limitations hold it back a bit today. In particular, the low resolution and few colors make it hard to recognize what some sprites are supposed to be, and frustratingly often I tried to attack a friendly NPC to no effect or tried to talk to an enemy and took damage.

The inking mechanics are novel and elegant, but the game built around them is insubstantial (if cute). It’s short (my playthrough was about half an hour) and quite simple, and will be very easy for genre veterans (I didn’t die once, nor feel like I was close to doing so). In the end it felt like a polished proof of concept for the inking mechanics. Perhaps the sequel will develop things further.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished a playthrough of the game. I didn’t dig into the surprisingly large number of hidden achievements.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.