Finding the magic formula to be the ‘it’ casual game is the Holy Grail all iOS developers are searching for. For every Cut the Rope there are hundreds of misfires and clones that miss the mark entirely. Squeezy, sadly, seems to be one of those misfires due to its terrible controls.
The backstory behind Squeezy is short and succinct. Squeezy is a snake who moves from level to level with a spaceship that perpetually runs out of fuel. Your goal is to traverse a 2D stage, pick up fuel pellets, and fly out of the level. Depending on how fast you get all the required pellets, you’ll earn 1-3 stars for completing the level, just like Angry Birds. The deeper levels require you to kill off enemies to get fuel pellets by squeezing them while avoiding environmental hazards.
Somebody needs a hug!
With a simple premise and fairly limited scope, Squeezy is entirely built around the ‘zigzag’ controls designed to mimic the movements of a real slithery creature. You move by pressing two arrows (left and right) on the bottom half of the screen. Holding a directional arrow will spin you around in a circle, and moving in a straight line requires alternating arrow presses.
These controls are incredibly awkward at first, and they only get slightly better with continued practice and patience. Squeezing enemies against the uncompromising clock requires great precision, and no matter how much time we put in, we never got comfortable with the game. Because of these issues, the gameplay is wholly unsatisfying, frustrating, and boring.
Squeezy at least has a polished presentation. As a universal app, the game looks and sounds great on both the iPhone and iPad. While the art style will not win awards for originality, it’s executed very smoothly and consistently from the menus to the different levels. Comparing the mechanical aspects of the game to the visual and auditory experiences highlights a curious contrast that we struggled to process.
It’s never fun taking a game out to the proverbial toolshed. Squeezy is hamstrung by a horrible design decision to shoehorn in obtuse controls for the sake of being different. We don’t begrudge the attempt at trying something unique, but this game isn’t easy to pick up or fun to play. Keep it moving, folks: Squeezy is all style and no substance.