Controlling weird fish things that suck and blow air in order to guide weird ball-like aliens to their goals is definitely a unique premise for a VR game so let's see if Brainseed Factory's latest title lives up to its imaginative concept.
Squishies was developed by the same team who created the clever and highly underrated Typoman. In this strange VR game, you use 2 PlayStation Move controllers that correspond to a couple of weird fish alien things. By pressing a couple of buttons on each controller, you can either suck or blow and the goal is to guide a round alien to its exit while avoiding hazards and falling off the stage in order to finish each level. Meanwhile, you'll need to constantly adjust the camera by waving your arms all over and holding the X button on either one or both controllers. Doing this can be exceptionally tiring because you'll find yourself almost constantly struggling to get the right camera angle just to give the alien his next little push. The stages themselves are generally large and elaborate so being able to guide the alien to the next checkpoint can be an arduous journey in itself. With that said, it can also be a rather rewarding endeavour.
One area where Squishies goes above and beyond is offering a ton of content. There are dozens upon dozens of levels within its main campaign and each one can be completed in different ways to earn gold medals and such. For example, if you merely complete it then you get one gold medal while beating it after acquiring all of the collectibles and under the par time will net you a couple more. On top of all that, there are super-hidden crystal eggs to unlock. As you progress through the massive campaign, the gameplay and stage designs gradually become more complex such as via the various fruits that your alien can eat to gain new properties as well as puzzle mechanics like timed switches and other logic-based elements. It's one huge and varied campaign, that's for sure.
As if that wasn't enough content, Squishies also features a level editor and community levels. I began this component by downloading and playing through some community levels and although there aren't many currently, I can easily say that a lot of them are fantastic and totally worth checking out. After that, I tried the level editor out and after becoming accustomed to its menu system which didn't take long at all, I found it to be very intuitive and comprehensive. That being said, I made 2 levels and after saving each one, I got the message "This level seems to be corrupted!" I don't know why that happened but my second level took me what felt like an hour to make and now it's gone forever. I hope the developers are looking into this and will patch it soon because it's a huge bummer.
Although the level editor is intuitive, I wish I could say the same thing about the actual gameplay. Not only is having to constantly adjust the camera annoying but whenever you perish (which will happen frequently), you have to try and find the previous checkpoint which can be very frustrating. Why can't the camera just reset whenever you perish? Why can't the camera follow the alien around instead of forcing you to consistently wave your arms around while trying to chase after it? Am I missing something here? Anyway, aside from the unintuitive camera, the gameplay definitely requires a ton of patience so if you're not the kind of gamer who enjoys carefully inching your way through levels or crafting your own stages then you probably won't enjoy Squishies.
Squishies is one of the most innovative and clever VR games that I've ever played. However, here's hoping that its developers iron out a lot of its shortcomings soon because as it is, it can wear out the patience of a saint.
- + Unique gameplay that rewards patience, accuracy, and careful planning
- + Tons of stages and replay value
- + Awesome level creator and community levels
- - Requires a ton of patience whether you're playing or creating levels
- - Unintuitive manual camera
- - Created levels are susceptible to corruption