XBLIG Review: Septipus: Tentacle Apocalypse – A Septipus for the Rest of Us

With a title like that it’s hard to tell what the game is about.  Tentacle Apocalypse?  The anime fangirl inside of me approaches cautiously.  Will the dear player be assaulted with bouncy, cute girl breasts being wrapped up by a slimy tentacle or two… or ten?  I think the developers were having a bit of fun when coming up with a name for this game, especially when you find out what the plot really is.

All told via stained-glass windows and god-like music, Septipus is the most well dressed, seven legged squid to ever live.  Complete with a top hat and monocle, this villainous creature only wants one thing: the perfect look to complete his dapper image.  A mustache, of course!  Meanwhile, the town of Follicles takes great pride in hair care, its citizens having the most glorious locks to ever been primped, curled, straightened, dyed, and other fun hair terms.  Septipus sets his sites on the unsuspecting village and makes his attack, stealing all of the hair in all of the land.  How dastardly!  How diabolical!

H-how bald!

Enter our hero, Smiley, an angry man’s man out to seek vengeance against the fiend who has stolen the fair locks of the townspeople.  With the help of the spirit, Bumper — a fallen warrior who tried to face Septipus before — the stage is set for Septipus: Tentacle Apocalypse.  So no; no dirty anime thoughts here, just tentacles that drip with slick, thick drops of ink that… wait, where was I going with that?

The tentacles lurk in the shadows, so venture carefully, my friends!

This game is not at all what I expected when going into it.  It reminds me of N+, that game with the little shadow ninja trying to make his — or her — way through a giant maze as hip hop style music plays in the background.  Smiley traverses through a maze of levels, represented by a beefy emoticon that grunts and spouts lines like “Take that!” or “Oh yeah!”  In the cutscenes the man is pretty built, but he actually doesn’t attack anything except for breakable walls and Septipus where he gets a gun — finally.

The art style for the game is pretty rad.  The game is played on this neat little television that reminds me of steampunk, the wall behind it a rusty blue and brown.  The only thing of color is the T.V. itself and everything outside of it, but the screen — and gameplay — is in old, retro black and white.  The music is also surprisingly epic.  It makes you feel like you’re on a really important quest, like you’re playing some grand RPG full of dungeon crawling and intense battles.  And hey, if the villain has his own choir, he has to be a big deal right?

The most stylish tentacles that have ever tentacled.

Sing with me, “Seeeeeeptipuuuuuus.”

There are some let downs with the game.  I realize it’s an indie game and it’s only a buck to purchase it (80 Microsoft Points) but it’s just too short.  I was done with it in an hour, and unless if I missed something there’s no in-game achievements, no mode to increase difficulty, no sort of time trials or anything like that.  You start with 99 lives and there’s only 27 levels to play through.  Granted, I lost quite a few lives because I kept going too fast, but once you’re patient and take your time the stages aren’t that hard at all.  This goes for the stages that are pitch black, if you go slowly you’ll clear everything pretty quickly.  The “final” battle is kind of a mess.  Suddenly, you’re thrust into a horizontal shooter where you’re blasting bullets at the giant squid.  I’m not sure if you can die in said battle because I was certainly being hit by ink but it didn’t seem to phase me.  I also have no idea how I kept changing guns, I don’t recall running into any power ups or anything.  There’s no tutorial in the game, but if you hit the “X” button a screen will come up with helpful hints.  In general, you use the analog stick to move and push “A” to speed up.  In the final battle, the trigger buttons fire.  That’s it.

I also have issue with the story, or rather, the sort of lack of one.  I’m really fond of strange stories — I own all the Katamari games, Suda 51 is my best friend, and when I make friends it’s to max out my social links — and this one had a weird plot.  I thought it was amusing, but I also don’t think the developers took it far enough.  For example, Smiley mentions “being a smiley, like his father before him,” which, to me, opens up a bit more plot.  Also, what exactly happened to Bumper?  Who was he before all of this?  Was he an emoticon like Smiley and the villagers?  Maybe he was a Frownie, or a Stick-out-your-Tonguey, or… something?  And Smiley is upset because Septipus zombiefies his friends… how about a bit more on that.  Did he reunite with said friends at the end of the game?  How did he feel about having to fight them in those dark caverns?

You blink and the game is over, making you want more.  You want many more stages, more obstacles, more everything.  You want to be able to tweak the difficulty to something harder, or maybe have something in the stages that you can collect for points, there’s just so much more that could’ve been put into the game to make it last longer, especially since you start off with 99 lives.  This is probably a good thing for the developer because maybe it will encourage them to make a longer game.  A dollar for an hour’s worth of entertainment?  Eh… I’d say it’s worth that.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fun with it.  Good music, an amusing story, and pretty fun gameplay.  I definitely got my dollar’s worth with this one and I think you can too.  It’s the perfect game to spend those leftover points on, so hold onto your hair and take out that stylish, moustached squid!

Final Rating:  7/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On:  Xbox 360
Time to completion: 1 hour
Achievements:  There are none
Price Bought at:  Nothing
Current Price:  80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price:  The price it’s at now
Why you should buy it:  If you have 80 Microsoft Points and nothing to spend it on, this will entertain you for at least an hour, maybe less.  It’s fun, and the squid has a top hat.  A top hat!
Why you shouldn’t buy it:  If you’re looking for something more challenging, long-term, and have a dislike for maze games with floating, angry emoticons.

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About Briana Lawrence

A geeky girl that's cosplaying as an adult -- sort of -- I've been into video games since I watched my mom save the princess in Super Mario Brothers when I was six years old. A couple of years later, anime would be added in my on-going list of geekery when I discovered a certain vampire hunter who had a hand that talked to him. I'm currently living in St. Paul with my wonderful partner who feeds my nerdtastic needs of anime conventions, watching Persona 4 on Hulu, and trying to beat the crap out of people like Nightmare or rolling up things with a katamari ball. The both of us cosplay together and do artist alley tables, selling the crafty things we make like plushies, woodburned coasters, shotglasses, and other things. The two of us recently purchased a house together, took a room, and painted it with Pac-Man, Sonic, Portal, Star Fox, Katamari, and other gaming gems before we combined our massive game/anime/action figure collections. Up next? Painting our bathroom in an underwater mario theme! I would say I need professional help, but I'm a lost cause at this point. Besides, all men, women, and zombies are created equal!