Death Squared offers a fresh perspective on the cube puzzle genre. Remember games like Edge? Death Squared is a more multiplayer focused take on it and the end result is a product that is as hilarious as it is fun with friends.
You will take control of a set of cubes in Death Squared which works best on the Nintendo Switch with its dual Joy Cons controls. Each player can control one of the cube with their Joy Con and work together to solve puzzles, some of which are tougher than they look in the game. Your objective in each level is to reach the corresponding pads for each of the cube that should signal the end of the level.
The main obstacle in your way are the numerous hazardous and the physics laden controls which means you can tip over the edge with a wrong movement, making the experience all the more thrilling. There are multiple levels to choose from in Death Squared but the game offers three different modes to the player including story, party and vault mode.
You can play Death Squared solo if you prefer to challenge yourself but honestly it is way more fun to play it with a friend. It is also less challenging this way since it is harder to focus on two different cubes so you can easily make a wrong turn and end up getting killed. This occurs less if you have a friend take control of the other cube however it is possible that you still end up getting him killed, which can result in some hilarious situations.
The standard story mode offers just 2 cubes for you to control but you can also bump the number up to 4 cubes at a time. Of course controlling these 4 cubes will require you to have atleast 4 friends that can take control of each cube individually. If you want extra challenge, you can attempt to move all the 4 cubes yourself but it will take a while to do so in some of the more tought puzzle since you have to carefully plan your move.
The game will start relatively easier letting you ease through the levels but as you progress further, you will unlock even more challenges like the laser beams. Some of the challenges require you to use the other cube to reach a difficult to reach area so unless you are able to synchronize the movement of both cubes, it can be a frustrating experience.
The game has a good replay value since it is a fun party game with friends but talking purely about the content featured in the game, it won’t take you long to finish it all since there are 80 story levels, 40 party levels and 30 vault levels for you to attempt. The developers have also promised more puzzles to be added in a future update so atleast the game might have some sort of post-launch support.
One of the aspect of Death Squared that I enjoyed was the subtle touches to the visuals like the faces on the cube displaying emotions all handled through the controller. It makes for quite an interesting experience to be honest. While it lacks the charm of a traditional party game, it still stands out on its own thanks to the die hard nature of the puzzles. You will die again and again just to learn from your mistakes so it is not wrong to call it the Dark Souls of puzzle games, not because of the difficulty but more because of the gameplay loop.
Death Squared is easily one of the best puzzle game that I have played this year although it is not without its faults. The biggest is perhaps the controls which can lead to some unfair deaths. The 4 player party multiplayer is also restricted by Joy Cons so if you don’t have an extra pair, you can’t really play enjoy it as it was intended. You can still try to attempt it with two players but it works best with a full party.
Death Squared Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game about cooperation, communication, and robot explosions.
It is rare to see co-op games these days especially one which also fully integrates puzzle aspects into the mix, thankfully Death Squared is aiming to be one of these, and it feels fresh and innovative in the current gaming landscape.