Squishy The Suicidal Pig

Because I spent fourteen U.S. pennies on Tomi Maarela and Elias Viglione’s Squishy, The Suicidal Pig, that’s why, and I am darn well going to get my money’s worth and produce a review. Actually, let me back up. I snagged this one on a weekly sale because it had Steam Trading Cards whose value added up to more than the cost of the game. And I had the “fun money” available to flip them for a three to four cent profit. (For more details on the basic sickness and stupidity that goes into this mentality, check out my Steam Trading Card Primer.) Then a weird thing happened. I played it. It was a very early level, and I found myself stuck for a couple of minutes on what I assumed was a platforming puzzle. For some reason, I had this idea in mind that I needed to push a crate over a timed fan, flip the switch to have the fan turn, and blow the crate skyward, jump on the crate, and then jump again to land on a ledge. I spent about five minutes trying to work on this solution, figuring that just over that ledge was the end of the level. Then it finally clicked. The goal is death. I maneuvered the pitiful pork pessimist directly under the floating crate right before the fan turned off. *Splat* Dead. Level complete. I don’t know why this solution eluded me so well.

Maybe my judgement was clouded due to being irate at the attitude of avian creatures.
Maybe my judgement was clouded due to being irate at the attitude of avian creatures.

From there, I began to appreciate this title. Yes, it is a cheap, throwaway title, with a cheap, throwaway premise. After watching his parents carted off to the slaughterhouse to become tasty, tasty bacon, our hero, Squishy, is distraught. In a fit of depression, he uses a guillotine on himself. (I really wish that he hung himself so I could make a “pulled pork” joke.) He wakes up in Hell to be informed by the Devil that he is now damned for the sin of suicide. But, the Devil is a sporting chap. In striking a bargain, Squishy is provided with multiplelives. If he can throw all of those away, he will be reunited with his parents in Heaven. I said the Devil was sporting, not logical.

What follows is an entertaining puzzle game with platform elements. At first, it is rather easy, what with its simple and responsive controls and straight forward level design. After the ramp up period, though, the puzzles found herein become challenging. There was one in particular where I found myself needing to create an almost Rube Goldberg-esque contraption with crates and disappearing blocks in order to gib myself. These are really the best levels. There are others where you are simply trying to bypass a series of impediments in the way of a spiked pit at the end of the level that don’t inspire the same amount of stupid joy. All said, I would say roughly half the levels are actually fun to figure out; the other half can be a slog.

I find myself undecided on some of the more blatant concepts this game copies. I lean more towards a thumbs up.
I find myself undecided on some of the more blatant concepts this game copies. I lean more towards a thumbs up.

Another strike against this humble title would have to be the graphics. I will admit that they are thematically great. The juxtaposition of the bright cheerful colors against the dark goal of the game is great. The problem is that the art itself is rather amateurish and pedestrian. The best point of comparison would be flash games from the late 90’s.  They are functional, but man, they aren’t good. I could just be getting jaded, though.

All said, this is a fairly entertaining value. It’s certainly worth picking up next time it’s on sale. The time spent playing per price paid ratio isn’t bad, and the gimmick itself does help it stand out a bit. In the end, though, I am left remembering the old Mad Magazine board game. It was like Monopoly, except the goal was to lose all of your money. Simply switching the goal to the opposite of the norm isn’t enough if the play style itself doesn’t match. When this game is at its best, it provides a unique twist on the puzzle/platformer genre. As it is, I can’t help but feel that this one could have used a little more time for contemplation before leaping off the building.

3/5

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After being bitten by a radioactive chimney sweep, J.M. Bohn and his trusted friend, Baron Stacheforth, took to the streets to reenact Mediatonic’s Foul Play. (No theater would have them.) The results were…less than ideal. His current whereabouts are unknown to keep his loved ones safe. Love/hate mail can be sent to jasonmbohn@gmail,com.

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