“I really cannot recommend Death Squared enough; no matter what kind of gamer you are.”
Death Squared is a delightfully fun indie puzzle game. Developed by the creative team at SMG Studios, Death Squared is both exciting and challenging, combined with a sense of wit that I haven’t experienced in its genre since Portal 2. If you have played that game, you will understand just how high a praise that is…
The basic premise in Death Squared is to manoeuvre either a pair or a foursome of special test cubes through a series of puzzles laid on in a lab. The backstory, subtle as it may be, is very reminiscent of the first Portal game, and arguably it is equally as fun to play through too. The organisation putting together these tests is attempting to create intelligence within these cubes, and your little crew turn out to be the best test subjects to date. The witty duo made up of the game’s scientist-turned-narrator and his advanced AI assistant makes for fantastic, natural-feeling banter which helps keep the already light experience an upbeat one. The subtle but lively design of the game’s aesthetics add to this friendly, harmless feel as well, with bright colours, quirky characters and glossy textures forming a brilliant backdrop to every new level you attempt to beat.
The casual style of play in Death Squared makes the game as chilled as it is fun. There is no time limit to play through each level, and your deaths do not count against you. For those who are interested, your times and deaths on each level are recorded by the game, but there is no more incentive to master these elements than there is punishment for failing. The game clearly expects you to mess up at least moderately frequently; otherwise it wouldn’t have been named Death Squared!
One thing which is for certain about the gameplay however is that it is best enjoyed with friends. Any level of gamer can enjoy this simple puzzler, with only directional movement being required in terms of controls. Whilst it is possible to manage two cubes at once on a single controller in the story mode, the action is much more exciting and engrossing if enjoyed with a partner. If you are lucky enough to have three friends to play with, the game offers a four-player party mode too, which can be equally as fun as the main game if you have the right crowd to play it with.
The one downside to Death Squared is that if you play through levels and levels of the story mode in one go, it can begin to feel repetitive. This is nothing to do with the level design or the story being at fault. The level structures are varied frequently, with the addition of elements like buttons and lasers, plus others which I shall not spoil for you here. The story also never ceases to be funny as you play through it, with hilarious little skits breaking up the action briefly on occasions. This feeling of repetitiveness is simply down to how basic the game is. You don’t hit this wall until about 30 levels in, but when you do reach it you quickly realise the limitations of spending over an hour moving cubes about, and that it might be time for a break.
On the plus side however, even once the game has reached this stage of uniformity, there is a sense of joyful anticipation about returning to it again later. Despite its basic premise and design, the game really has a pull factor centralised around the fact that it is good fun and easy to play. It is not too tasking, being very easy to pick up on the fly for ten minutes or to play for longer over the course of an hour or two. It is a nice aside in a market saturated with numerous heavier going and less upbeat titles, which is what makes Death Squared such a joy to sit down with. Oh, and to make things even better, you can even customise your cubes with moustaches and lightning bolts; just another element put in place to make you smile!
I really cannot recommend Death Squared enough; no matter what kind of gamer you are. Just as the Portal games could be enjoyed by any and all, Death Squared offers a very similar appeal and experience. The casual puzzler has been developed with a fantastic sense of wit, a simple and effective premise and control scheme, and a welcoming and relaxed style of play. I highly suggest that you grab a friend, spend a bit of pocket money, and simply have yourself some good, clean fun with this fabulous little indie title.
Death Squared Was Review on PC vis Steam, the game is also avialable on PS4 and Xbox One