I’d Like To Be Under The Sea
HIGH Strong visual style, music and attention to detail.
LOW By-the-numbers gameplay.
WTF Underwater politics are wild.
I rarely dive deep into the history of the games I review, though I’ll make an exception this time. To truly understand what makes a title like Save me, Mr Tako significant, we need to talk about Nicalis. This publisher is probably most known for bringing projects like Cave Story, The Binding of Isaac and Ikaruga to modern Nintendo consoles.
It has since been revealed that the publisher has issues concerning the use of slurs, mistreating employees and ghosting their own devs. In the case of Mr Tako, developer Christophe Galati was not able to implement a patch since the game underperformed by Nicalis’s standards, leading to its delisting from digital storefronts.
Now, thanks to Limited Run Games, Save me Mr Tako is back and now dubbed The Definitive Edition. Featuring a host of tweaks, polish, and even some bonus features, it’s the most complete version of a delightful 2D platformer that was released back in 2018. Our original review can be found here.
Taking place in the middle of a great war between octopuses and humans, players control Tako. His allegiance to his own kind is called into question when he’s seen rescuing a human woman from drowning. The story is surprisingly emotional, with some great points about the futility of war and diversity making their way into the dialogue. While I would have liked deeper exploration of these themes, I respect that such a charming-looking game put such effort into building a world and crafting a decent story.
Played from a 2D perspective, SMMT is clearly inspired by GameBoy games of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and especially by things like HAL Laboratory’s Kirby’s Dream Land. Tako can run, jump and shoot ink from his mouth. The game’s 8-bit visual style is gorgeous and feels like it was ripped straight from Nintendo’s handheld. The ability to change color palettes with the bumpers on the Switch is a nice touch, as it even includes the original Gameboy’s pea-green.
The controls feel tight and I liked the simple gameplay loop even though there isn’t much to differentiate it from the other throwbacks that have seen release in the last couple of years. Essentially, Tako’s ink freezes enemies, allowing him to create impromptu platforms to get to hard-to-reach areas. Light puzzles also make their way into the levels, asking players to push buttons in order to open doors in maze-like sections.
As someone who loves old-school platformers and plays most of them, I have to be brutally honest and say that this one lacks flair in comparison. However, what really got me was its sense of style. It understands what makes games of the GameBoy era great in terms of visuals and music, and even includes a music player. The Definitive Edition also boasts a few accessibility features, like a hint system and unlimited lives. These things are appreciated.
While the gameplay is fairly standard, this version of Save me Mr Tako still ended up feeling like a win — it’s great to see the developer release a more complete version of the game after being denied by the original publisher, and I think anyone who enjoys small indies or throwbacks can appreciate that.
Disclosures: This game is published by Limited Run Games and developed by Christophe Galati. It is available on Switch and PC. This copy was obtained via publisher for review and was reviewed on Switch. Approximately 15 hours were spent in singleplayer and the game was completed. There is no multiplayer.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E for Mild Language. The game isn’t violent at all and nothing depicted is objectionable either, thanks to the 8-bit aesthetic. The story is a bit heavier thanks to talk of war, but I think its safe for kids.
Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are not present in the options menu.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: The dialogue comes via text, but the subtitles cannot be adjusted or resized. The game is fully accessible as no audio cues are needed for play.
Remappable Controls: No , the controls are not remappable.
He has a knack for talking about movies and games he‘s passionate about. If anyone ever needs an expert on Jim Jarmusch, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Donkey Kong Country, or Kanye West, he’s your guy. Don’t say we didn't warn you, though.