Squibble - Hey, Paul the oracle, it's payback time!
Tested version: 1.0 build 561
Latest version: 220.127.116.116
Requires Android: from 1.5
Angry Birds—is there anyone who hasn't yet come across these odd ducks? I bet everyone has, or at the very least those who own an iPad, iPhone, or Android device have. I don't know anyone who hasn't muddled their way through every single level and managed to score three stars in all of them. So, what next? The situation is reminiscent of European football / soccer free summers, or the big black hole after the World Cup.
Speaking of (European) football / soccer: Paul the oracle octopus is dead! Which means that this time he's definitely scr*wed his career over—after the enormous error of his prediction for the semi finals Germany/Spain during the 2010 World Cup. Squibble's protagonist is also an octopus, and he's not doing too well, either! And to close the circle of birds, ducks, and mollusks: Squibble is as much fun as Angry Birds! So what's the gameplay you ask? Read on and all will be revealed!
Features & Use
There's a brief narrative that accompanies Squibble and is told as an image sequence at the beginning of the game. The little octopus lives in the deep blue sea and is as happy as a clam or as a fish in water. Unfortunately for him he's also very curious (and we all know that curiosity killed the cat—okay, okay, enough with the animal idioms) and so he decides to follow a school of fish swimming by. A crazy professor then gets his tentacles on him, traps him in a glass jar, and takes him back to his lab. The octopus is not happy about this turn of events and begins plotting his escape.
Making his escape isn't as easy as he had hoped, however. Lots of dangers lurk along the way: poisonous spiders, the professor's toxic potions that were knocked over at some point, and lack of water. Squibble has to circumvent all these obstacles. The ocean is near and yet so far!
That about sums up the octopus' tale, on to the actual game:
The goal is to help Squibble make his way from the professor's attic all the way out to the sea. In order to get there he has to overcome certain obstacles along the way in a Spiderman-like style (see … below). It's your job to help Squibble get past all obstacles as dexterously as possible. A heart disappears every time he touches a deadly obstacle (hearts are displayed in the left upper corner of the screen). Once all the hearts have been used up the level has to be started over from the very beginning. So, be warned: if Squibble does com into contact with a deadly obstacle every second counts to get him out of there as fast as possible, as every new contact will rob him of another heart.
The water drops are also essential for the octopus' well-being. If you want to score really big you have to collect all the water drops, which happens automatically every time the octopus touches a drop. The more drops you manage to collect the higher your score will be at the end of the level—reminiscent of Angry Birds.
A level has been completed when Squibble makes it to the Exit. He then goes down one floor and thus edges closer and closer towards the sea.
I'm nuts about this game! I find myself playing it whenever I can and it's still as much fun as in the beginning. This app has it all: a cute story, good controls, lots of surprises, and it calls for sleight of hand and a bit of luck. Five stars!
Screen & Controls
At the beginning of the game you are instructed in how the controls work: when you touch the wall the octopus stays stuck to it thanks to the sucking power of his tentacles. The move reminds me of Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four because Squibble's tentacles are super stretchable. This is what makes collecting all the water drops possible. As useful as this move might be—it takes away from the enjoyment of the game. A stretch-limit might be a good idea.
Two other things I found annoying as far as controls go:
- If you start over you have to set up a slot for your profile. Rather than continuing automatically every time you touch a slot you have to tap on „next“ every time.
- There isn't an option that allows you to view your surroundings, so, unlike chez Angry Birds, it isn't possible to have a look around to check out what's going on around you. Sure, you might say not knowing what's heading your way heightens the suspense and that not being able to calmly plan your route is more challenging. I say that it would be nice to have a brief look around to see what the road up ahead is like and what dangers lurk ahead.
Great design! It's cute, it's fun, it's a crowd pleaser.
What a shame the two control downers rob the game of a star; I would've liked to award Squibble five stars, but I can't seeing as the two things mentioned above are quite annoying.
Speed & Stability
Great performance: Squibble runs really well and doesn't crash: that's the way to do it!
Squibble costs $3,56 Canadian in the AndroidPIT App center. The lite version is available both in the Market and the App center.