The Game Bakers had a surprise hit on their hands with the original Squids. Now they've released an even better sequel, with a fun wild west theme, lots of levels and extras, and cute, engaging graphics. But is it fun to play? Or should the idea of a Squids sequel stayed under the sea?

Having never played the original, Squids Wild West eases you into it's part turn-based strategy/part RPG style of gameplay. You control a team of wily western Squids, who must stop the evil Black Ooze and find their missing friend in the process. You have an assortment of squids to pick and choose from, and as the game progresses you unlock more and more characters. You can equip each squid with various hats and items, and level them up for more health and attack attributes. It's actually pretty cheap to level up your squids and it's a smart way to spend the money you've earned.

Gameplay is quite simple. Pull back on your squid to launch him at your opponent and cause damage. You can bounce your enemy into other enemies and hazards for twice the punishment. Pressing the red icon beneath your enemy will bring out your squid's six-shooters which also do quite a bit of damage. Once you've taken your turn with each of your team members, the enemy gets to attack you. Rinse and repeat until you've beaten your opponents or they've defeated you. I like that the characters aren't constrained to moving left, right, up or down on a square grid like most turn-based strategy games. You can catapult your squid wherever you like on each level.

Squids Wild West isn't a very difficult game. There are numerous power-ups found on each level and your enemy is usually pretty far away from them, so I always collected those first before attacking. Each squid has their own strengths and weaknesses. Some, like Sammo, have powerful stomp moves, while others are eagle eyes with their guns. Mix and match to find the combination that works best for you. If you don't feel like earning all of the unlockable content, you can purchase it but then you'd be so powerful you'd just blow right through the game. Besides, you'll earn plenty of coins and unlock enough content as you progress on your own.

There's an amusing story to go along with the action, and you'll see numerous storyboards throughout the game explaining the plot. The artwork in the background is stunning and each panel is filled with wonderfully detailed images. There are quite a few jokes scattered in (including a nice reference to Pulp Fiction) and the game is very light and isn't meant to be taken seriously (after all, you're playing with cowboy squids). The graphics really pop out at you on the iPad. Each level is very pleasing to look at and every new chapter you unlock has bigger and brighter stages than the chapter before it. The music is outstanding. It's a wonderful orchestra mix, one I wouldn't mind listening to outside of the game. It's pretty cool how sophisticated developers are getting with their in-game music. It really makes a difference and adds a lot of atmosphere to the game.

Squids Wild West was a big surprise for me. I wasn't expecting much but I was blown away by how charming it is. Gameplay is simple, the characters are all fun to watch on screen, the graphics and sound really stand out and there's quite a bit of content for the price you pay. Squids Wild West is a novel strategy game for both kids and adults new to the genre. I recommend you mosey on down to the App Store and download this game, pardner.


App Store Link: Squids Wild West for iPhone & iPad | By The Game Bakers | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.1.0 | 210 MB | Rating 4+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating