App Reviewed on: iPhone 4s
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Squid Up is a casual arcade platformer in which players control a sticky, jumping squid. In order to save the world, players must help the squid jump and stick to various platforms to reach the top of each level. While the game has a sharp-looking cartoon aesthetic, Squid Up isn't quite as good as it looks. Mostly thanks to slow progression, a frustrating inability to control jump power, and overall derivative gameplay.
To play Squid Up, players tap the screen to make the on-screen squid jump. Inevitably the squid ends up sticking to a rotating platform, and players need to line up their next jump to have the squid hit the next one. Players progress up in order to collect coins and avoid lava that begins to fill the bottom of the screen. The goal of the game is to jump nimbly from platform to platform fast enough to escape the lava, but slow enough to make accurate jumps.
The game itself is fine in its simplicity. I had a good time operating in this structure, even though vertical platforming games can be found in abundance on the App Store. But I did encounter a couple problems that really frustrated me while playing. The first of these problems occurs when players miss platforms and stick to the wall. Because of Squid Up's level design and lack of control over jump power, I found myself bouncing helplessly from wall to wall for a good amount of time before losing enough height to stick a platform and continue, and in some situations the lava would just catch up and end the run. Although both consequences aren't completely unreasonable for failing to hit a platform, both are frustrating nonetheless. Secondly, I saw a lot of cool things to buy in the in-game store, but never really felt like I was making enough coins per run to make the time spent playing worth buying them. Of course this game does support in app purchases, so perhaps it's designed to have players want to just buy the unlocks with cash.
If players find themselves drawn to Squid Up's aesthetic, I'd say it is worth checking out. Beyond the issues listed above it is a perfectly competent game that looks pretty neat. Heck, at the price of free it's hard to argue against someone checking it out. However, just know that the game has a few issues that may cut players' time with it rather short.