Death Squared (Switch eShop) Review
Death Squared is a perfect example of a game that just makes perfect sense to be on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a co-operative puzzle game and because of its clean design and easy-to-learn-hard-to-master design it’s perfect to take anywhere and play with another person but it works just as well at home.
There are 80 levels in the main story mode of Death Squared. The game takes an interesting narrative approach by putting you in control of the blocks, but the only voices in the game refer to the action you do on screen, chastising you for dying or praising you for not dying. The game’s story is set over a typical day for David, an AI tester (that’s you he’s testing) and his AI assistant called Iris. They play and riff of each other and it’s quite funny. David is voiced by Rice Pirate of internet fame, who is someone the younger members of the Vooks team assure me I should have heard of. It’s good quality banter that adds another element to the game.
On the surface the game’s premise is a simple one; get each coloured block to its corresponding goal. The first few stages are quite easy but things soon ramp up as more and more different mechanics like lasers, spikes and elevators are introduced to you. There’s little explanation as to what’s going on. Instead, the game will simply teach you what you did wrong by killing you. You’ll die frequently and, don’t worry, it keeps a tally on how many times you die in the top right so you know how bad you are. If you’re playing with more than just one player, should any of you die – you’ll have to restart. The game also tries to trick you with its colour-coding mechanics. Lasers of a certain colour get absorbed by its matching block, but your block has to be the opposite colour to the transparent bricks on the playing area otherwise, you will fall straight through. Teamwork and communication are key if you’re playing with someone else, but if you’re playing alone, your own dexterity comes into it.
Outside of the story more is Party Mode which features stages more suited for three or more players; you really need someone to play these ones with, and The Vault game mode is the same. The Vault contains levels which the developers say are too hard or unfair to fit into the story and that would be an accurate description – you can’t even access them until you’ve finished the game. The Switch version of the game features seven exclusive stages and more are also planned to be added later.
The game is controlled with just the analogue stick. There are other buttons which activate lights or make you wiggle, but otherwise, it’s pretty easy to pick up. Jumping into a later level with someone who hasn’t played before probably isn’t advised; the game’s controls are easy, but the game itself is pretty hard. Being a physics-based puzzler, the game does misbehave sometimes when moving around, but these events are few and far between.
The only downside, possibly, depending on what type of person you are is that the game is all very the same. There are different challenges in levels and no two levels are really alike, but to sit down and try and play the game in a chunk did get tiring. Luckily for you, the Switch is portable so you can blast out a couple of levels wherever and whenever.
Aside from the great voiceover work, Death Squared’s presentation is fairly minimalistic. Its graphics work fine and allow you to focus on solving puzzles, but the atmosphere comes from the subtle soundtrack and the voiceovers, which sadly is lacking in the Party Mode and Vault variations.
Death Squared is another game on the Switch that’s not easy to play, but it is fun. Like other puzzlers on the console, it’s not dependent on playing with other people but you’ll get the most out of it if you do. Anyone can pick up and play this game, but they’re going to swear and complain when they do, both at the game and the people they’re playing it with.
You die a lot
Voiceover work is funny
Play by yourself or with mates easily
Tonnes of content
You die a lot
Tiring after a long session