The long awaited squid game sequel is here! After braving the monochrome Game Boy world of the first Squidlit, we’ve now arrived in the era of Game Boy Color! Now anything is possible with a full palette of wonder and excitement. This game has crammed in so many new things, it certainly earns the “Super” in its title, but does that mean it’s a better game?
Stay true, little squidlit. The game’s scope is much bigger now with a world map that you can traverse by ship with the dpad. The ship’s crew banter helps create the feeling of comradery on a big adventure, as you platform around the deck and share a laugh before your journeys. Much to my surprise and delight, I jumped off the ship and found you can now swim in the ocean.
Swimming? Yay! That’s what squids were born to do. Finally Plip can flex in his native habitat. Swimming is quite basic but combined with the squid’s unique movement, it feels very different to swimming in other platformers. You can thrust upwards, or diagonally left or right. You can also shoot ink blobs underwater to hit enemies. Then there’s my favourite underwater ability; jumping out when you reach the surface with a massive dolphin leap. It’s one of those actions that serves no purpose but feeling good, much like the smile button. Always welcome.
At first you can just swim around the ship in a small harmless area, but there is one main level solely focused on water which gets challenging. Learning to ink underwater enemies can be confusing since you have to swim away from them to shoot in that direction. It’s easy to swim into another obstacle while focused on aiming the ink. A bit of patience actually makes the water level quite satisfying and rewarding. It’s certainly unlike any other water movement I’ve felt before, a nice accomplishment.
The platforming is the best part of Super Squidlit just like the first game, and now we have a new ability to flex with the dash. The dash can be used to knock things over, but you’ll still use the ink blots to attack enemies. Since you can’t really hurt enemies with the dash, it has quite an innovative secondary function that allows Plip to wall jump. Continually banging into a wall with dash will slowly get you up higher and higher.
Go Plip go! This does seem like intentional design since there are collectables in places where it’s required to head bang the wall. It might seem like squid abuse but there’s nothing Plip’s squishy head can’t recover from. This would be a small addition by itself, but it opens up a lot of fun movement since you can combine the ink jump extension with a roll, then roll a second time in the air if you successfully bonk something. The levels seem bigger in scope to take advantage of this, with hidden buttons and scrolls.
I wish the Game Boy Color had more First-Person Shooters.Nobody, ever.
Here we are in a new dimension, controlling Skwit Skwat now instead of Plip. This is where the game gets a little too Super. I appreciate the ambition and sentiment here, but it’s just so awful to play, the game would have been better off without it. Serving more as a tech demo than a gameplay demonstration, these segments are confusing, frustrating, and go for far too long. When 15 minutes feels like an hour, you may as well be in a torture chamber. The worst part is not knowing when it ends.
This mode continually reappears throughout the game and never gets better. It’s the same repetitive enemies and the same barely distinguishable hallways and paths. You’re just trapped here. The controls are clunky, the walls appear to teleport and eat themselves, and enemies stay the same size no matter how close you are. There’s no mini-map and every direction and wall looks the same. It actually gets worse as they introduce an autoscrolling first-person level later that makes it impossible to avoid enemies. There’s an “upgrade system” where you can upgrade your guns when pausing the game, just to warn you that this section isn’t going away. They really went all out to make this as bad as they possibly could.
The self-awareness is appreciated but doesn’t really help my headache. It was bad enough the first time. Then it repeats 5 more times. Thanks to the repetition here and a few other changes, the game just feels more unfocused and bloated than the first game. There’s a lot more text and most of the writing is funny, but it just has very poor pacing. There are some good moments but I honestly struggled to get through this one and started to hate the game about halfway through. The FPS sections really are painful, not just because of the bad gameplay but the graphics hurt my brain and created a dizzying sensation. This should never have been released. I uploaded a Switch video clip here but didn’t embed it in the writeup, because it really can make you dizzy. Watch at your own risk.
I have mixed feelings writing a bad review for this game, because I still respect it and the developers. We definitely need more games and teams like this who focus on gameplay. Unfortunately if a game is bad I have to call it what it is too. I have seen a few other people stream this on Twitch with the exact same reaction to the FPS segments. It’s an idea where someone should have said “no” way earlier in development. At the very least it should have been toned down to a single one-and-done part of the game, not for a full hour of misery. I found it impressive for about three seconds.
You can feel the lack of direction or identity in the game’s story itself. Despite having more content, I found Super Squidlit to be much worse than the first game. I’m usually all for innovation and new ideas, but they have to actually be good. There’s no point making a game longer if you’re just introducing more pain and suffering. I know that’s harsh but that is also the whole point of a review like this. I’m describing my player experience and you can use feedback in a positive way for a third Squidlit game. All the ingredients were there for a superior sequel, but they were mixed and cooked poorly. It’s a shame because the little platforming enhancements and introduction of colour was impressive enough on its own, but you don’t get much time to enjoy the platforming. They also brought back the shoot-em-up parts which are quite fun, but they make up a tiny portion of the game compared to the FPS “showcase”.
Super Squidlit is still a cute game if you’re brave enough to endure these new trials of squidulation, but I just can’t recommend it. Play the first game instead (my earlier review for that is here), it’s a shorter but more streamlined cute platforming romp that has more focused design.