Developer: Rhadamenthe and team
Released: January 2019
Platforms: Windows and Mac
Available on: itch.io
Resquid is a fresh, “pacifistic” take on the shoot em’ up genre by Rhadamenthe and team. You play as an octopus, but instead of shooting and destroying enemies, you shoot bubbles that ‘capture’ your squid friends. You then push them up and out of the way from the chasing kraken who will otherwise devour them.
You play through an endless, randomly generated, side-scrolling level. Unlike regular shooters, there are no stages or traditional scoring systems; instead, the squids you save are uploaded to an online, worldwide score of squids saved (currently shows that it’s 160, though I’ve seen it at over 10,140 before). The game page recommends a controller, but you can play with the keyboard.
You can instantly shoot small bubbles or hold the shoot button for bigger bubbles that can hold three squids. You can also dash, which is helpful for pushing ‘captured’ squids up into safety, away from the approaching Kraken. Occasionally, spikes appear, which can pop your bubbles. Bubbles can break these spikes, but they will regenerate later. As you play, the visible width of the screen is constantly shrinking, and you must save squids to expand it and buy some more time. You lose if you get caught by the kraken at any time, and you’ll be told how many squids you saved in the game over screen.
While I like the concept behind Resquid, I feel its execution is its weak point. You can expect areas with several squids, followed by areas without any, or an area with a squid you just can’t save in time. Thanks to the controls of your character, expect not to save every squid you see, but at the same time, there’s nothing special about any squid you encounter. There’s no squid that requires more effort to push but gives you a bigger reward than the smaller ones. I see this as wasted potential for putting the player’s morality on the test, which is a theme of the game that could be made stronger. In addition, the game’s pacing doesn’t go faster or harder as you play, and the lack of any personal statistics makes for a weak replay value.
The music is fitting for the dark underwater atmosphere, and the sound effects immerse you in the world – especially the kraken’s eating sounds. The main menu is also a fresh take on the concept and even acts as an invisible tutorial, as you must navigate your squid to items of interest and use your bubbles to push them up; for example, to quit, you shoot a bubble towards the quit letters and push them up.
Resquid is a fresh and interesting take on shoot-em-ups, encouraging you to save rather than destroy. While the idea interests me and I love it, the execution results in non-existent replay value. That said, don’t hesitate to give it a try, as it’s a small, free download.