Squishies – PSVR Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Puzzle
 
Rating: G
 
Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


User Rating
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Positives


-Plenty of levels to get through, and even more through the community
-Feels tailor-made and natural for VR
-Robust level editor

Negatives


-Requires a very, very healthy amount of patience and finesse
-Despite the developer's efforts, some control issues relating to PS VR persist


Posted November 22, 2018 by

 
Full Article
 
 

Two years into the lifespan of the PlayStation VR, there’s still a healthy supply of titles being released for the headset, which despite its lower-end VR technology is still the best-selling and most ubiquitous system out there. That means there’s all kinds of interesting little games out there, such as Squishies, the latest game from Brainseed, the developers behind innovative platformer Typoman.

The titular Squishies in Squishies are small blobs of cuteness, not unlike little living water balloons, that are completely motionless and helpless without your guidance. Using two PlayStation Move controllers, you can blow the little roly-poly creatures around with bursts of air, or you can suck them towards you – often having to do the two in tandem to navigate tricky areas. Levels are constructed out of simple blocks and shapes, pleasingly appearing as a kind of colourful, updated Marble Madness. It’s all presented in the traditional mould that most mobile puzzle games have established, giving you an array of bite-sized levels split across several different themed worlds, each with a condition for success as well as side-objectives that completionists can go after to earn extra stars, such as finding all collectables.

There’s plenty of levels to get through as well, with 100 spread across the five worlds. If you find one too difficult, it’s also easy to jump into another from the world you’re currently up to, with a cute menu system that has you literally grab menu items and insert them into a futuristic version of a tape deck. I do have to admit, however, that for me the difficulty was always quite high due to the actual nature of the game and its challenge. Blowing and sucking your Squishies (get your mind out of the gutter) requires a fair bit of patience and finesse, as often you’ll need to navigate narrow pathways, steep slopes or other environmental obstacles, where even being a few degrees off with your aim can spell disaster if your Squishies aren’t carefully managed. In fact, it required more patience than I have even when I don’t have a headset strapped to my face.

Brainseed, however, have developed Squishies for virtual reality very adeptly and tried to give the player as much control as possible. At any time you can shrink, grow and rotate the stage, from the size of a small diorama hovering in front of you where you can make large-scale actions, to a nearly full-scale experience where you can micro-manage your Squishies for tight turns. The ease at which you can do this, as well as the frequency in how often it’s useful, make Squishies feel like a puzzler that was really made for VR and not with the technology as an afterthought, which is nice to see and well-executed. However, as is the case with PSVR technology based on a single camera, it can be easy to lose tracking of your controllers at pivotal moments, when you’re trying to manoeuvre quickly with your Move controllers at strange angles, which added to the frustration I often felt.

A robust level creator is also included with Squishies that makes it a cinch to create levels using the same blocks, obstacles and elements seen in the main game. As you progress through the main Story levels, you unlock more and more pieces to use in this mode, which once you get your head around the different menus available, is almost as easy as painting in the blocks you want in 3D space. You can share your levels online with the wider community easily as well, although as of writing there isn’t a lot out there (probably because everyone is still busy with Beat Saber, released on the same day as Squishies).

Squishies takes advantage of the PlayStation VR to create a puzzler that feels like it really belongs on the platform, and couldn’t be done justice using any other tech. However, as a puzzler, for my personal taste, it often felt slow and frustrating, especially when I decided to take on the extra challenges in each level. That said, if you have a lot more patience than I do (which, to be fair, probably isn’t hard) there’s a lot packed into Squishies to enjoy.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.