Thanks to Squidlit Ink for the review code
Title: Super Squidlit
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 07/29/2021
Last year we found a fun surprise in the form of Squidlit, a surprisingly faithful Game Boy inspired platformer! Now comes Super Squidlit, a direct sequel in which Squidlit and his former enemy team up to stop a new threat: now in color!
In the previous game, I praised how accurate Squidlit was to the original GB hardware, and not just in terms of looks. Sure enough, that same care continues here, as Super Squidlit maintains the same sort of handheld passion from the original, but over the much more nostalgic Game Boy Color line of systems! A lot of familiar sprites return here, but seeing all of them in full color with extra detail is just refreshing enough to make them feel new, and is a lot like the sort of admiration I have for Game Boy colorization rom hacks. Of course, this isn’t the original game, and a bunch of the newer stuff here has a great facelift, from the UI, the towns, the NPCs, and the levels being vastly more impressive to look at than before, fitting the feel of a sequel, along with a bunch of brand new things, most notably, a first person action segment.
Yes, that’s right, this game has first person shooting segments, which look a lot like Phantasy Star turned into an FPS. It’s very weird and honestly super cool at the same time, and the animation in these segments is shockingly smooth considering what they were trying to replicate here. The depth perception is a bit annoying in these portions, but otherwise I still found it easy enough to tell where I was going and what I was looking at, which is pretty remarkable.
The audio front doesn’t have as much to impress on, since like the original, it’s old-fashioned to a bit of a fault, and thus contains a lot of basic, repetitive tracks, and since the GBC didn’t really blow the minds of composers back then (despite some godly soundtracks such as Lufia: The Legend Returns being composed for this system in mind), I can’t say I was expecting a major difference, but I at least hoped for something more memorable. Still, the sound effects work just as well as they did in the first Squidlit, all while keeping to the authenticity of the system.
Just like the first Squidlit game, your main goal is to go through each stage, using your inky jump to take out enemies and make it to the end. But in this sequel, this concept is vastly expanded, with more hidden items to find, multiple pathways, new techniques, and even another character to play as! Right off the bat, the biggest addition next to color comes from the ability to save! No longer a single segment adventure, this game allows you to save anytime you find an open gap to duck in.
The game is not only longer, but also packed with a lot more secrets, even with familiar controls. You can still jump and use the ink attack, but now you gain new abilities, including the ability to charge straight ahead with a dash attack, and there’s tons of hidden items and secrets within stages, ranging from collectible buttons to pages of lore regarding the game’s world, and it’s plenty of fun to go exploring and revisit older levels for full completion. The level designs in general have gotten a lot more complex, with multiple paths and a bit of a tougher difficulty curve now in play.
Also like the first game, Super Squidlit has a bunch of charm with the NPC dialogue and worldbuilding: lots of quirky humor, and plenty of funny dialogue from nearly every character! The biggest smile-inducing moment of the game for me came from when I found a clever way to “restart” the game, which eventually awarded a hilarious revision of the intro. Moments like this and the dialogue that accompanies most of the story just lead to the world of Squidlit further establishing itself as one packed with charm.
As a sequel, this difficulty bump feels rather natural, but I couldn’t help but be a tad disappointed at the move away from the beautiful, kirby-like simplicity that made the first game super charming. Still, the addition of color and the same tight controls as before lead to yet another fun experience, and it’s one that even isn’t afraid to try new things, as Skwit Skwot takes the lead now and then, briefly shifting the game to a first person action game, as noted before: the controls still stick to the simplistic button layout of the GBC, even during these segments, and they honestly feel very cool, if a bit frustrating due to being the toughest parts of the game by far. Luckily, dying in these segments doesn’t seem to send you back much at all, so you can keep trying until you finally clear these. Sadly, the game crashed on me during the first boss fight in this style, which was a big irritation, though I didn’t stumble upon any future crashing errors, and I found these segments to still be generally a worthwhile change of pace.
In conclusion, Super Squidlit was an enjoyable sequel to the original, and adding a save feature and more variety was enough to make an already fun experience even better with the more creative ideas here! However, some of the extra stuff felt like a little too much, since the simplicity of the first game was a big part of that game’s fun.
Nevertheless, games get bigger as they’re followed up on, and with hidden buttons to collect, pages to find, and secrets to discover, this game will take significantly more time to go through than the original Squidlit, leading to Super Squidlit to be worth the asking price. The variety in gameplay, the bigger scope, and continuing the funny and charming nature from the first game all leads to a worthwhile experience that fans of the Game Boy Color should check out, despite some details in need of fine tuning.
I give Super Squidlit a 7 out of 10.