Review: Death Squared (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: Death Squared (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Death comes for us all in the end.

Death Squared is an action puzzle game that centers around robots, explosions and cooperation. The game follows an AI tester named David who is tasked with watching these little robots utilize their AI (where YOU are essentially the AI controlling them) to get through puzzles. There’s a lot to like here and the challenge ramps up relatively quickly in this engrossing puzzler.

Death Squared has two modes accessible from the start of the game - Story Mode and Party Mode. The Story Mode consists of 80 levels. In this mode, you are controlling two small robots trying to reach colored spheres which represent the goals. Party Mode ramps the challenge up and has you controlling four robots through 40 different stages. And if that’s not enough, once you clear these, you’ll have access to even more challenging stages in The Vault.
When playing by yourself, gameplay in Death Squared has the player controlling the two little robots via the left and right joysticks. For Party Mode, players control four robots. It’s the same concept, except to control the additional robots, you must press L or R while moving each stick to control the additional robots. Throughout these modes, players go through puzzles by utilizing color specific switches (corresponding to the color of the robots), pushable blocks, and sometimes try to avoid deadly lasers or other hazards. All of these additional elements keep the puzzles fresh and challenging.

It does takes some time to wrap your head around the controls. Even after playing the game over long sessions, I would still occasionally push the wrong stick plunging one or both of my robots to their explosive deaths. Death Squared is about trial and error and having a little bit of patience, i.e. you aren’t going to blow through most of these stages without dying. Speaking of death, you will die. A lot. Thankfully, there is virtually no penalty for death as the game puts you right back into the mix immediately after blowing it.

The visuals and audio in Death Squared are nicely done. I really enjoyed the simple, yet cute design of the robots and the ambient music playing throughout the stages. The voice acting between David and his computer, Iris, was fun and playful and occasionally had me giggling. The level design is pretty great and the drab, gray levels fit the tone of the game perfectly.

With another person accompanying you through the levels, it’s easier to focus on the puzzles themselves rather than have to mentally juggle controlling the two robots at once. Communication is absolutely necessary to get through puzzles while playing with another person. The same challenge still awaits, but having a friend come along for the ride certainly helps. Couple that with the fact that the Switch is a multiplayer machine out of the box, as long as you have friends (locally), you can easily hand over a Joy Con and jump into the action.

Death Squared is a solid game. The visuals and overall experience are endearing and the controls, while difficult to master, are well done. If you are a casual connoisseur of puzzle games, the complex controls might scare you away - this holds true for single player. Multiplayer really makes things simpler and focuses on cooperation in order to get through the levels. The ability to play on the go and to turn the game into a multiplayer experience easily through the Joy Con is a huge plus that makes cooperative play even more attractive in the Switch version. My only gripe, and it’s not a huge one, is that there is no online play or leaderboards. Regardless, if you have an itch for a fun puzzle game on Switch, Death Squared might be what you’re looking for.

Final Score: 8.0

[Review code provided by the publisher]

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