Death Squared is a puzzle game that required cooperation, communication, and coordination, otherwise, you’re going die…. A lot. Which I have managed to find out quite quickly. The game also likes to keep a tally of your deaths. It shows you during the puzzle the number of overall deaths, and when you have completed a puzzle it tells you how many times each block has died.
Whether you’re playing on your own or with friends the game is immensely fun and I thought very challenging at times. Some of the puzzles I was able to look at and think ‘OK, I know what I’m doing here’ and then other times I just looked and felt like I wanted to shut the game down. But through perseverance, I managed to keep on with the game and managed to get through a fair few of the levels.
I have only played this in single mode and found that the level of difficulty was just right. There was a level of frustration in there that should be included in puzzle games like this, but also, there was a difficulty that was just right and each puzzle flowed nicely to get to the end.
In the story mode, there are 80 levels with another 40 for party play. Which is a lot of content that is included in the game. There are also 30 vault levels, which are described by the developers as too hard for the main game…. They are right.
So depending on how easily you get on with the puzzles, there are a fair few hours available here for you to play and rack your brains over.
I love the whole design of the levels, each one made up of squares (surprisingly) in which you have to move a red and blue square to their respected square, which is indicated by a colored circle (which totally messed with my world). Some levels are a simple as just moving about here and there, swapping around and you’re there. Other levels are more complicated with electric lines which will cause one of the blocks to disintegrate, or there’s gun. Yup… Guns. Fricking Laser guns! However, these fricking laser guns can be blocked by its counterpart block, which is one way of getting around them. SHIELD ME!!
The further you get through the levels as said previously, it gets more complicated. A lot more elements get thrown into the equation, such as objects, sneaky blocks that come out of nowhere so there will always be an inevitable death if don’t see them first. I do believe my death count is now around the 60+ mark, which I’m not ashamed to admit as you can see how much this game is designed to test and more often than not frustrate you. But that to me is what the game was designed for, it’s not meant to be a stroll in the park, and I think that’s kudos to the developers, they’ve done their job here.
There was one frustrating thing with the game and that was the controls. One stick on the controller would control the red box and the other the blue box. However, pretty much every level the boxes would be on the opposite side to the thumb stick that controlled them, so 9 times out of 10 I would end up moving the wrong box, which in turn would probably mean that I would end up dying and have to start the level again. When that was on a particularly long level that’s taken me a while to figure out it can get rather rage inducing. Especially if it happens when I’m right at the end and I can see that beautiful colored circle within touching distance. But again, this has probably been done intentionally to provide another level of fuckery for the player.
I have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of puzzlers, I tend to find them overly frustrating, but I have to admit that this was a refreshing change from the norm. Death Squared with achievable while keeping you hooked in.
The narrative and voice over I felt was simply brilliant as well, it added some dimension to the game, that what you were actually doing was an experiment between human and AI as well as bringing a little bit of humour to it, the only sort of humour that human sarcasm and AI bluntness can only bring with it.
Good game, well designed and wonderful narrative.