Will the Squids: Odyssey 3DS Release Help Nintendo?
Squids: Odyssey came out for the Wii U a few weeks ago, and I was fortunate enough to review it. Now, The Game Bakers have offered me the chance to see the 3DS edition as well. In Europe, gamers who picked up the 3DS edition can get the Wii U version free, but this offer has not extended out of that territory. Gamers in other nations at the moment need to choose, but which one should you pick up?
Squids originally released on the iOS mobile platform, and it shows it's mobile heritage in the quick, intense gameplay. While the Wii U edition offers gamers the chance to play on a nice big HDTV, the 3DS drops the game back in players' hands for the mobile experience with the added 3D effect. While the 2D sprites don't have much need for three dimensions, the game uses 3D smartly by layering a shimmery top layer of water above the battlefield, and dropoffs for dangerous edges are put in the far distance. The game can be controlled by physical buttons or the touchscreen, swapped or combined on the fly, letting you control this turn-based-lite RPG however you see fit. The Wii U edition offers precisely the same visual when playing on the television, but can pull back and look similar to the original iOS editions when utilizing off-screen play.
The official story on the European release goes like this: Nintendo of Europe offered The Game Bakers the chance to offer any percentage off the Wii U Edition when purchasing for the 3DS, and The Game Bakers chose 100%. There is no link whatsoever to Nintendo directly that this could translate to "cross buy" as many have speculated, but it is true that if this spikes sales in any way, Nintendo is sure to take notice. One thing that would help immensely on this promotion, however, is cross-save. This game is long, featuring two full original games and additional bonus content, so while true fans may not mind playing through the game again and again, your average gamer is going to be frustrated that a game that focuses on 100% perfecting, a la the Angry Birds "3 stars on each level" attitude, and you won't be able to combine scores to maximize your game completion. Perhaps that is something that could be added at another time, but again, that's something Nintendo would be smart to pay attention to.
Also, for fans of the original, the frustration still sits that you have to beat both Squids and Squids Wild West to see the exclusive new content, but PR reps say that there are plans to release that new content on iOS platforms, so you may want to hold tight if all you are an original app fan looking for the new content. Perhaps TGB could insert some secret code that is unique to a system, like how the Professor Layton games unlock content via passcodes created on the same system, to allow iOS players to jump to the new content, but that's just conjecture by this author and in no way set in stone.
So, as of right now, the two editions of the game are their own thing in non-European shops. So which one should you go for? If you are truly sticking with only one, I would say the 3DS one is ideal. The game just screams portable, and while the HD visuals on the Wii U are gorgeous, the subtle 3D effects add a nice flair and beauty to the game as well. With the Wii U, I envision myself plugging through the story, but with it in my pocket, I'll end up heading back to the game to master it. As in most RPGs, your characters level up, so a tough level can be mastered by going back and playing old levels for stat boosts, something I'm more prone to do on a mobile device. But overall, with the right positive feedback from gamers, this could be a chance for Nintendo to make some leaps. Offering cross-buy is something the masses have wanted for ages, but when people are willing to buy Mario 3 twice, Nintendo doesn't exactly have good reason to do so. Cross saves are an optimum idea, as even something as simple as Final Fantasy 1 would be fun to take your save on the road, but with Nintendo's track record for things like Friend Codes, and transferring games between systems when you buy a new one is nothing short of a battle. I have talked to a Nintendo representative, though, and learned that if two 3DS systems had the same downloadable title owned, an SD card could be tossed back and forth, allowing the save to be played on another system. If processed right, perhaps your 3DS memory card could hop into your Wii U for a little data transfer mambo one day.
Squids is a great little game with a heck of a lot of gameplay in it. It would be a waste buying both editions, as even if you like the game that much, you're going to feel as if the storyline is very familiar, and while you can go back and play for extra character levels or stars, you're going to end up seeing the exact same story twice if you buy twice. Luckily, the games are the same price and you can support The Game Bakers with just one purchase. If you have both systems, the 3DS seems to be the best place to get the bang for your buck, but that in no way hampers the Wii U edition from being a quality, fun game.