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Pacifistic Squids – Resquid Review

About the game

Resquid is a fresh, “pacifistic” take on the shoot em’ up genre by Rhadamenthe and team. You play as an octopus which instead of shooting and destroying enemies, you shoot bubbles that ‘capture’ your squid friends. You then push them up and out of the way from the chasing kraken who will otherwise devour them.

Gameplay

You play through a randomly generated side-scrolling level with no definite win condition. Unlike regular shooters, the game doesn’t have stages or scoring systems. Instead, the squids you save are uploaded against an online, worldwide score of squids saved; at the time of writing, it was sitting at barely over 10,140 squids.

The download page recommends using a controller, but you can play with the keyboard (which I did). Your squid can dash and shoot bubbles of any three sizes by holding the shoot button. You aim or move these bubbles towards the squids so they can be ‘captured’ inside them (or towards regenerating spiky crystals so you can disable them – or else they’ll pop your captured squids). You then bump the captured squids up the screen to save them.

There is still enough room to run from the kraken.
There is still enough room to run from the kraken.

You must keep saving squids, otherwise the width of the play area will slowly shrink from the left and right sides, leaving you with no room to rescue squids. By saving squids, you get to expand the play area, buying yourself more time. You lose if you get caught by the kraken at any time (by going to the left side of the screen), and you’ll be told how many squids you saved in the game over screen.

While Resquid has an original concept behind it, I feel the execution is the game’s Achilles heel. You can expect areas with several squids, followed by areas with one squid in an unsavory spot, or worse, none. You need to get used to how you control the squid as often times you will be unable to save all the squid you captured and leave them for the kraken. And other than that, the game doesn’t really get harder or faster the more you progress; the pacing remains the same. Add to that the lack of a local high-score table for squids saved, which if added, may motivate me to do better each time. At least statistics such as “Most squids saved in a single run” and “Squids you saved” could help. While I like the idea and how it plays, it needs refining for better replay value.

With a play area like this, the squid is now dinner.
With a play area like this, your octopus is now dinner.

The music is fitting for the dark underwater atmosphere, and the sound effects immerse you in the world – especially the kraken’s eating sounds. The main menu is also a fresh take on the concept, as you navigate your squid to items of interest and use your bubbles to push them up; for example, to quit, you shoot a bubble towards the quit letters and push them up.

Conclusion

Resquid is a fresh and interesting take on shoot-em-ups, encouraging you to save rather than destroy. While the idea interests me and I love it, the execution means replay value is nearly non-existent. That said, don’t hesitate to give it a try, as it’s a small, free download.

You can download the game from itch.io here.

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