Review – Squidlit

The amount of indie games emulating the visuals from the NES, SNES, and even the N64/PS1 eras is huge, but you don’t see many games trying to emulate the feel and look from the original Game Boy era. Maybe it’s the fact the resolution back in the day was minuscule, maybe it was the green-ish color pallette. Whatever the reason, Squidlit is the first indie game I’ve ever seen that tries to pass by as a full-fledged Game Boy game from back in the day. It does so with impressive dedication, but at a cost.


Dude, you’re so cool

Squidlit looks like a Game Boy game from 1991. You take control of an octopus (weird, I know, considering everybody calls themselves “squids” in the game) and your goal is to save a nearby castle from evil forces, pretty standard shovelware platformer plot from the day. Everything, from the color pallette, animations, soundtrack, limited gameplay, and severely stretched resolution are all here. The game is as simple as it can be, being your typical 2D platformer from that era. Yes folks, Squidlit tries to recreate the magic of the Game Boy era by being the most generic shovelware that system had to offer back in 1991.


The shooter sections were the best moments in this game

The pallette and the resolution are the main reasons this game isn’t as fun as the developers thought it would be. Not only does the color pallette make everything blend into a huge green mess of pure nonsense, but the small resolution, coupled with the character’s speed and the limited field of view made me feel something I rarely feel in a videogame: motion sickness.

Everytime your character jumps, the entire screen follows suit. It’s hard to actually pay attention to what’s going on at times. It was easier to digest these visual elements back in the Game Boy’s thumb-sized screen, but playing it in a larger PC screen makes things nauseating. Whenever the game had all its focus on one single screen, it was a lot easier to endure. Just like the classic Super Mario Land, some boss battles shifted the gameplay from generic platformer to 2D shooter, and those were, by far, the most entertaining bits the game had to offer.


Laughing in front of death

Squidlit isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not fantastic either. It succeeds pretty well in emulating the feel of being a classic Game Boy game, but it does so by being a legit average-at-best Game Boy game from that era. It could have been much more enjoyable as a ROM hack in order to be enjoyed on a Flash card for that portable. As a PC title played on a screen larger than my thumb, however, it’s not exactly the most pleasant experience. A commendable attempt, though.

Graphics: 5.0

It’s a perfect visual recreation of a classic Game Boy game, but that doesn’t translate very well into a large PC screen.

Gameplay: 6.0

Despite some gameplay hindrances created by the stretched out resolution, the controls are as simple as they can be. You move, jump, and poop ink.

Sound: 6.5

Just like the rest of the game, it is a perfect rendition of the soundtrack of a typical Game Boy title. It’s not comprised of phenomenal tunes, but it’s so legit it’s impressive.

Fun Factor: 5.0

The game is charming and completely devoid of challenge. It’s as entertaining as an average-at-best Game Boy game from that era can be.

Final Verdict: 5.5