Though the controls can be occasionally inconvenient, this retro-revival manages to Skweek by
For those who can remember back to the long, long ago that is 1989, you might recall a game which went by the name of Skweek, and alternately Super Skweek, which was released for the Amiga, Atari Lynx, SEGA Game Gear, PC, PC Engine, Atari ST, and the Amstrad CPC. Now, over two decades later, Skweek is making a new bid for the spotlight on iOS.
In Skweek, you take control of the titular character as he sets about his task, which is to go from one stage to the next converting every blue tile he finds to a pink one. He encounters some hostile foes along the way, but is far from defenseless, as tapping the screen will allow him to fire a projectile which can deal with the baddies of the boards.
Additionally, Skweek can bolster his attack power by acquiring power-ups, which change the nature of his attack. For example, he can gain a weapon which fires in four directions as opposed to his regular one, or a laser capable of breaking through solid blocks, allowing him to proceed. Other pick-ups include treats, such as ice cream and gift boxes, which grant bonus points, and tiles which can freeze enemies in place or destroy the surrounding area’s tiles.
It’s a fun, simple game which requires a little ingenuity and some light reflex work. Adding to the challenge is the fact that while Skweek can move in four directions, his foes tend to move a bit more erratically, and can go diagonally as well. And you must be careful, for after disposing of an enemy, nearby plants will generate new ones to replace the fallen creatures in short order.
The biggest problem we encountered was that the original controls from the handheld and PC versions of the game seem a little bit iffy here. They aren’t crippling, but can pose a bit of an inconvenience as you try to move about the board and avoid enemies and obstacles.
Movement is made by putting your finger to the touchscreen and sliding it in one of four directions you wish to go. But depending on how far you slide your finger, it can be difficult to quickly change direction, which can be a problem when you’re near a ledge. If you don’t pull far enough away from where you were touching then Skweek won’t recognize your change and keep on going.
This is coupled with the fact that the movement across tiles isn’t quite “digital”– that is, being either on or off. Instead, you can move across the length of a tile incrementally, which leads to instances where you might think you’re far enough on a tile to change their colors, but aren’t, or where you might think you’re safe from a pit before falling right in.
There is also the movement of Skweek while firing. We haven’t played the original releases, but imagine that a Dpad or keys coupled with buttons or more keys would make it easy enough. While holding the iPhone, it seems you’re expected to perform one action at a time – either moving, or firing – and switching from one to the other as needed. It is technically possible to do both at the same time, yet something about it felt a little unnatural, and we quickly reverted back to the either/or scheme.
Though these issues may sound problematic, they aren’t so much that they make the game unplayable. They add to the challenge a little bit, as you must bear the game’s limitations in mind while playing, but can be overcome.
In the end Skweek provides some solid fun, if not quite spectacular, and is well worth a look if you’re into the arcade style of puzzle game.