Squishy the Suicidal Pig – What We Think:
It’s not often that the main goal of a game is to kill yourself. Platforming and puzzle solving all in order to find the one contraption or one device that will end your life. It all sounds morbid but thankfully Squishy the Suicidal Pig from Panic Art Studios (makers of Hero Siege) is a lighthearted game, even if its premise is unnerving.
Squishy is a pig who lived on a farm with his parents. One day the farmer took his parents away and transported them to a slaughterhouse. Squishy was left devastated and decides that the best way to reunite with his parents in animal heaven is to kill himself. After he ends his life he finds himself in hell greeted by the devil. The devil makes a deal with Squishy by challenges him to kill himself thirty one times in order to be reunited with his parents in heaven.
Pork n’ Bleak
The game’s setup is unconventionally disturbing, to say the least, but thankfully the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Squishy The Suicidal Pig has a charming, throwback 2D platformer feel, it’s easy to just roll with the dark tones of the game throws at the player and not feel too uncomfortable. It’s colorful and its soundtrack is very reminiscent of the early Playstation games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. It all aids in creating a familiar yet fun tone which overshadows the game’s darker side.
Killing yourself in this game is easier said than done. Dying in other platformers is commonplace, in this game it’s rare. Levels themselves are designed in a way that death comes more from specifically designated, scarce environmental hazards instead of spontaneity from deadly enemies. You’ll spend the entire time figuring out how to finally reach an exploding box or a spike filled pit.
This mixes up the established norms of the genre and alters your mindset when you start playing. As I surveyed levels in the game I would actively look for hazards that could possibly kill me. It’s a unique experience to say the least. Dying is rarely the main goal in a video game, in most games it’s the main source of tension. You soon learn, however, that dying in this game is not as creative as its namesake promises. Killing yourself feels very limiting because – instead of organically giving players the tools to think of clever ways of killing Squishy – the game relies on strict, familiar puzzle-solving, mixed in with challenging platforming, in order to reach a chance for demise.
With every strictly designed level and and simplistic puzzle I got through, I started to recognize how lackluster the game’s level design is. The game feels more repetitive than anything else with its generic puzzles that involve activating switches, moving boxes, or going through teleporters. Since most levels base themselves around light puzzle solving, this makes levels feel more like a nuisance instead of something enjoyable.
The challenge in this game comes mainly from challenging platforming sections generously scattered throughout the game. In order to mix things up the game will require that you stay alive in certain levels to obtain keys in order to unlock more levels. These levels are difficult and they appear often. What makes things more challenging is Squishy’s inability to run and double jump. These levels rely on a lot of timing and precision-maneuvering around environmental hazards. They are undoubtedly better and are more engaging than the puzzle platforming levels. Even though they can get frustrating, overall they are more enjoyable thanks to added tension of dying and that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finally get through one.
There is a clear divide on the two different experiences this game gives you: One moment you’ll be nonchalantly figuring out a simple switch puzzle, the next moment you’ll be frustrated by how precise your jumps have to be so you don’t fall into that endless pit of doom. I felt that blending these two experiences together didn’t work; it’s as if the developers wanted to make two different games but decided to combine them both. The game would have been better if it focused either on offering a tough platformer or a puzzle platformer, instead of trying to do both.
Squishy The Suicidal Pig is an average platformer. It had the potential to be so much more fun to play thanks to an interesting gameplay premise, but it’s brought down to mediocrity by bland level design. If you’re itching for a challenging 2D platformer to play, this game has got you covered, but don’t expect the moments when you’re not precisely jumping between floating platforms to be very exciting.
Watch the trailer for Squishy the Suicidal Pig below: