Guuulp isn’t the king of the sea, but it’s still worth checking out
There are plenty of people who choose not to eat before swimming. Fortunately for us, none of those people happen to be squids. Guuulp is a cute little free game about a squid with an intense hunger. This hunger can only be satisfied by devouring the ocean’s supply of fish. Guuulp isn’t perfect, but it will certainly fulfill any strange desire you have to become the largest squid in the sea.
The premise of Guuulp isn’t difficult; tilt the screen to guide the squid toward some fish. As you eat smaller fish, you grow larger and can eat bigger prey. Touch a fish that’s too big to eat and you take damage. Take too much damage, and it’s game over. It’s a formula we’ve seen before. It was fun then, and it’s still fun now.
It’s simple to understand the gameplay, but developer Tektite doesn’t explain the premise at all. If you jump right in, it’s likely you’ll take a few hits as you adapt to the controls. All the movement is done by tilting the screen in the direction you want the squid to move, but the little guy is somewhat prone to moving off course. Guuulp‘s options menu features four sensitivity levels, as well as a screen calibration option. Unfortunately, these make only a slight difference, as the controls don’t feel as sharp as one would like.
Once you manage to adapt to the controls, there’s a lot of fun to be had. The game is separated into levels, and when you eat enough fish to fill up your meter, you advance to the next level. If you try to eat something too large, you’ll lose some of that meter. If you get hit while the meter is empty, your score will be recorded and you’ll be sent back to the main menu. The first level involves just simply eating little fish. After that, more fish start showing up, including those that are too big to eat.
This is where Guuulp begins to shine. What starts out as a somewhat calming experience quickly turns into survival of the fittest, and avoiding the predators of the sea becomes the top priority. Once you hit higher levels, unique creatures—like anglerfish and sharks—make appearances. The anglerfish are nearly invisible until they turn on their lights. The sharks slowly stalk you across the screen. This is only made more difficult by the large number of fish that fill the screen. Shaking off a shark while avoid a barrage of other predators isn’t easy, but it never feels too difficult or unfair. The game shows leniency by making you temporarily invincible upon being struck, so one slip-up won’t lead to a quick demise.
Guuulp doesn’t offer much in the way of features. The main menu only presents three choices: the game, local scoreboard, and trophies. For a game based entirely around high scores, I was a little disappointed by the lack of an online or friends-based scoreboard. The trophies add an additional challenge, but they end up as more of an afterthought than anything. Because Guuulp is a free download, these minor complaints can be mostly forgiven.
Guuulp doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. It’s not a deep game, nor is it something you’ll play for hours on end. It’s biggest issues are an advertisement in the top-right corner of the screen, and the lack of precision in the controls. However, these are the type of minor complaints that often come with free games.
Guuulp is far from the elite Android titles, but if you want a game you can play for a few minutes at a time, you’ll get just that. They didn’t create the king of the sea, but Tektite released an enjoyable free game that’s worth checking out.