A lot of the puzzle games in the Play Store that can challenge seasoned players may have deep themes, be brutally simple, or take themselves too seriously, but the way-too-cute Squeelings takes things in a different direction entirely. The titular critters arrange themselves in patterns that you have to figure out how best to act on by hugging one Squeeling and letting their happiness infect all of the others, but the wave stops whenever it hits a grumpy Squeeling. A grumpy Squeeling who’s hit with a happiness wave will scream, and that scream will cause a countering wave that scares the happy right out of the other Squeelings, and travels much faster than the original wave. It’s up to you to use your limited number of sad, huggable Squeelings to cause just the right waves to cheer up all the grumpy ones in a given level.
One of the cool things about this game is that you’re playing two distinct difficulty levels at the same time, and you can’t just chicken out and play the easy way. Clearing a level is usually pretty easy, even for those who aren’t too experienced with puzzle games. It’s mostly a matter of trial and error, along with the slightest glimmer of spatial reasoning. Each level has a threshold of hugs; clear the level at or under that number, and you get a coin. You can simply play through a group of levels as easily as possible, but then you can’t access the next group. You’ll need coins for that. This means that even the most passive players are forced to forge a deep appreciation for the unique game mechanics.
Those mechanics aren’t limited to sad and angry Squeelings, either. There are tons of Squeelings that do different things, scattered throughout some of the levels once you pass through the tutorial. Two examples include large green Squeelings that shoot happiness in a vertical column, straight through any grumpy Squeelings in the way, and large grumpy Squeelings that have to be hit with happiness twice in order to cheer up. You’ll discover more as you progress.
This game comes from a team consisting only of indie developer E McNeill, a VR wunderkind with three highly-rated games to his name, and industry veteran Jake Sones, now the head of Shovelware Games. Squeelings was created a while back with a number of planned features, but McNeill ended up sidetracked by his VR ventures. Recently, he decided to polish up Squeelings and release it as it was, without any monetization features and missing just a few of the planned features that he was going to add before release.
Thus, you get a premium puzzle game for free, with no ads or other interruptions. While it’s a bit threadbare on features, the core gameplay is more than enough for Squeelings to hang wth some of the best puzzlers the Play Store has to offer. Naturally, this all means that you can play it offline, as well. Thanks to the simple graphics, you can play it on just about any device.
This puzzler’s innovative dual difficulty system isn’t terribly different from other games that reward you for good performance, except in that it’s implemented in such a way that even the most casual players must challenge themselves in order to progress. If any single feature in this game gains traction in the wider mobile gaming scene, that’s probably going to be the one.