Aug 10, 2015
Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Review platform: Xbox One
Release date: July 29, 2015
Since the Xbox One was first announced in early 2013, and many gamers revolted due to policies introduced, the focus on the Kinect peripheral has been massively reduced. Nearly all SKUs come without a Kinect, and while it can still be purchased separately, the emphasis has definitely been reduced, if not removed entirely. While the launch lineup of games for the Xbox One featured many using Kinect, most titles releasing nowadays are either unimaginative, or have game breaking flaws.

Squid Hero for Kinect is a top down game, which allows players to control a squid who is fighting back the next ice age. The squid falls from the sky in the opening cinematic, animated in a cartoon style. The squid must then clean up the ice floating in the rivers, which has formed from this cold climate. While the story is rarely touched throughout the course of the game, it sets the scene for the upcoming mayhem. The game’s story is obviously not a key element of the game, with a focus on the gameplay and the journey while completing the levels.

The game’s tutorial introduces you to the core features of the game, which can be easily picked up by all ages. There are two main objectives of Squid Hero, which are alternated throughout levels, split by checkpoints. Two tentacles of the squid are controlled by the player, which can be used to grab ice in the water. To destroy ice, you must smash and throw the blocks into one another, to dissolve them and fight against the ice age. Some ice blocks are colour coded, and the ice much be matched with the corresponding colour, in order to break it. While the concept sounds dull, this was a great amount of fun, which never slowed the pace down.

When you’re not destroying clumps of ice, another major part of the game is a ‘Turbo Mode’, where the squid suddenly travels at a faster speed through the river. When this is triggered, you must lean left and right with your body, in order to follow the path, and avoid obstacles.

Other small extras, such as saving animals in danger, dodging mines, or even fighting end-of-chapter bosses, all feel enjoyable and unique.

When completing these activities, coins are dropped, which must be grabbed with your tentacles, or swam though, to pick them up. During each level, the game will tally all your coins earned in the current session, before adding them to your total once completed. These can be spent on extra lives, and hats to customise your character. All these can be purchased in the coin store, accessible in between levels. Here, you can redeem coins for these items. Some hats are earned by completing levels, however a majority of these must be purchased. Obviously, ignoring the extra lives, the first item I purchased was a sombrero for my squid.

The Kinect controls for Squid Hero are perfect, and motion is perfectly mapped from your body movements, via the Kinect sensor. While the movement mechanics are unusual from the offset, you soon get into the squid’s shoes, and are easily able to manoeuvre through the stages. Two hands are always used to play the game, adding a new layer of immersion not often attempted.

The menus are also extremely easy to navigate, with large, simple icons to be interacted with. The menu is smooth, and I never found myself accidentally selecting items, like other Kinect titles.

The levels in Squid Hero for Kinect are almost always upbeat, and even when duller moments arrive, the game somehow manages to give the player a good time. The game’s tone is always positive, and never did I feel like giving it a rest. At some points, I would be playing until my arms ached, and still wanted to continue. The movement and gestures can be exhausting, and could even be a good fitness method for a small group. Even though the target audience for Squid Hero is the younger playerbase, even a fully grown man such as myself loved the experience.

For most players, I strongly recommend you pick up Squid Hero for Kinect. The tone is positive, and never did I feel frustrated with my game session. Each stage was enjoyable, and while some elements became repetitive, the experience was never massively affected. The music for the game follows the same mood as the gameplay, with a selection of different genres. The sounds largely contributed to the atmosphere, rather than the gameplay itself.

The levels can become repetitive after a small while, but many children would still love the experience. After you have completed all the chapters, the achievements are the only lasting feature that will offer a large amount of replayability. Most achievements will not be obtained in a single run through of the game, meaning the 1000G can be difficult to obtain.

Squid Hero for Kinect is available now, exclusively on Xbox One, using the Kinect sensor. Many previous attempts to create a fun Kinect game for Xbox One have resulted in a lacklustre final product, and a key element breaks the final game. Squid Hero has been designed perfectly, and even small details such as the precise movement, make the game that much better. The game can be purchased in 29 countries on the Xbox Store, for $9.99/£7.99/€9.99.

Whether you have kids, or just want to have a good time, there is always a part of Squid Hero that most players will enjoy. I would presume this title would be a perfect purchase for a family gathering, group of friends, or even a house party. You may be a child looking to have fun, or an adult wanting to look stupid in front of your friends, Squid Hero will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Our score: 8/10

Magnificent - Excellent on every level, an example to be followed. Raises the bar for its genre!
We welcome discussion, but please present your comments in a respectful manner, otherwise your site access may be permanently revoked.
comments powered by Disqus