Review: DEATH SQUARED For Nintendo Switch

Death Squared is a puzzle platformer by SMG Studio that can be played alone or with friends. I took some time to check the game out on Nintendo Switch, and while I didn't opt to play with  many friends, I still had a solid time. 

Story

Your player controls 2-4 robots who seek to complete puzzles for the Omnicorp corporation and whatever they have planned. Your efforts are narrated by "David," and his A.I. "Iris". The two will praise you when you're doing well, and berate you when you're doing poorly...which will be often. Other than that the two exchange dialogue that often times is a humorous bit referencing something about how Omnicorp is a terrible place to work or something in pop culture. It's always amusing, and there were even a few times I let loose an audible chuckle as I worked my way through an intense puzzle.

Gameplay

The game can be played in either a single player or multiplayer experience, and it's equally as hard either way. When playing single player, things can get a bit disorienting as each joycon controls a specific robot. I've fallen off the map or died many times because I was looking at the robot I wanted to move, and instinctively moved the left stick only for my other robot to go sailing off the map.

Puzzle solving and controller confusion isn't the only things that make this game difficult though as Death Squared notches up the difficulty real quick introducing instakill lasers, spikes, and other obstacles that makes this one of the most challenging puzzle games I've played in a long time. I think so far my record death count for a single level is 30, and my overall death count in the game is well over 300. I know that because the game keeps a running tally on my failures at all times.

While difficult, I've found this game really thrives in a Switch setting in a way that Xbox or PS4 cannot. The ability to pick up, choose a level, and pop out all in the span of fifteen minutes is perfect for the on the go nature of the console...or when I get pissed off and need a break. When I do get frustrated, sleep mode ensures it's ready to go right when I boot it back up, and I love that.  

**btw this video shows me beating a level I've already completed...it took me a long time to figure this level out**

Graphics

The simple block aesthetic is nice, and it's not like this game needs to be cutting edge to get the job done. No real complaints on graphics, although I guess I would've liked to see more assets for customizing the robots beyond what was offered.

Sound

Background music is subtle and although it doesn't switch up much, the minimalism keeps it from becoming grating on the ears. The voice acting in this game is top notch which is a good thing because they talk...a lot! This game would've been a chore if the voice acting wasn't on point so good on them for taking the time to get it right. 

Replayability

Considering I've sunk an easy 15 hours into the game and I still have 30 our of 80 puzzles to complete in single player mode and haven't even cut much into the 30 additional multiplayer levels...I'm more concerned about finishing the game than when I get back into the game. Ultimately this game will give you a completely different experience with a friend than it will alone so that by itself is incentive to pick this one up again when you buy it. 

What Could Be Better

There are some instances where I feel like the puzzle is difficult due to the fast actions I have to complete with slow moving blocks rather than the difficulty of the puzzle which can feel unfair at times...having said that I can only really think of one instance where that happened, so it's not a huge issue. 

Final Verdict

If you're a fan of puzzle games and need a time killer for commutes or just something on the couch between long gaming sessions, Death Squared should be a Nintendo Switch purchase. 

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