Squidlit – Squishy Platforming

Hello. My name’s Plip and I’m a Squidlit. I’m no magic Squizard, but I can jump, shoot ink downwards, and move my little squidlit body left and right. That’s all you need to get through life really. Oh, and a healthy supply of muffins.

Thanks Cheflit, now I’m all set. A catapult shoots dozens of muffins into the distance, as they scatter across the upcoming levels. It’s nice to finally see some valid lore for health pickups.

Squidlit is a 2D platformer that’s been out on PC for a little while, and just released on Nintendo Switch. It has a complete retro aesthetic capturing the same resolution and lack of colours as the original Game Boy. Sounds cheap and lazy, right? Nah, it’s actually refreshing to not be overwhelmed with detail. This game has fantastic art direction. Even with these limitations, Squidlit is very expressive and well-crafted. Plip is quite a speedy squidlit with better controls than most Game Boy games I’ve played. The animation only uses a few frames but it perfectly captures your squidlit moving about by kicking up it’s little squid legs. The most important ability of all, however, is the smile button. Sometimes that’s all you wanna do while playing this game.

Hehehe. You don’t need better graphics than this, really. Everything you need is there, from the outlines to the shading, to the cute expressions. The border on the left and right can be toggled on and off as well.

This game doesn’t fall short anywhere really except the length. There’s no save system, but you can probably beat the game in one sitting. There’s 4 main levels and it’s not too difficult. Some of the bosses took a few tries for me to figure out. They are clever and fun, without much raw difficulty. When I first beat the game it was in a 45 minute session. There are speedruns out there finishing the game in 10 to 20 minutes, which is quite similar to a lot of older Game Boy platformers (like Trip World).

The platforming is mostly jumping, with the ability to shoot ink down for an extra “hover” that increases your jump height slightly. You can fire ink many times in the air to continue hovering, but you slowly descend a bit each time. It gives you a lot of control over your movement and makes inking enemies feel quite intuitive. Just jump above them and fire ink. Watch out for the ones wearing hats, though.

Vroooom, pew pew pew! This little squidlit is having the time of its life, soaring through the skies fighting evil. I’ve played Cuphead, I know what I’m doing.

This game delivers little chunks of dialogue that are full of charm, making it worth stopping to talk to everyone you meet. Sometimes you get multiple options when answering a question and something different will happen. Better say the right thing to the guards! You also get a very interesting choice at the end of the game that I won’t spoil, but I loved it.

I had one slight problem with the graphics in this area. It’s almost like they put too much detail into this one part, and while moving it can be a bit hard to tell what is a solid surface. I got used to it very quickly, however. There’s also one song near the start of the game that really pushes the Game Boy sound chip to its limits, in a bad way. This high-pitched carnival style melody is extremely grating and repetitive, but the later music tracks are much more bangin’. The sound effects are also very good, with some impressive insect sounds at night time, and the sound of water pouring out of the Game Boy speakers is very soothing indeed. Wash that nostalgia right over me, aw yeah.

Another odd problem that doesn’t affect the gameplay at all, is that Squidlit does not exist in the Switch activity log. You can still take screenshots and view it on your games list just fine, but you will show up as offline while playing it, with no time or data in the activity log. Not really an issue at all, just something I thought I’d mention in case anyone is wondering if their Switch is broken. Everything is fine. It might even be patched with a bit of squizardry.

Squidlit is short but it’s a lot of fun. I’ve already played through it twice, and for a few bucks it’s more than worth it for such good gameplay. The platforming is nice, there’s a couple of good puzzles, lots of charm, and varied boss fights with a nice squishy story to boot. I’m really happy to have this game on my Switch. There’s even damage-boosting tech if you like speedrunning. A fantastic game that doesn’t offer too much challenge, unless you are trying not to smile.

Now I’m heading home to sleep, good night.

 

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