Death = Death. Death Squared = An awesome puzzle party title with plenty of death. If my calculations are correct… our review should be booting up in 3… 2.. 1.
Death Squared is one of the latest games to hit the Nintendo Switch eShop, and there’s something unique about this one. Death Squared offers 3 different game modes including: Story, Party, and the mystical Vault. These different modes all share the same concept. Your goal is to control cube shaped AI robots. Successfully moving these robots onto their matching colored circles will complete the level. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong.
In the regular story mode you control two separate robots. Each Joy-Con is responsible for moving one of the robots. This requires a lot of coordination to move both robots around each area safely. The story behind these robots are very simple, and entertaining to say the least. The entire story mode revolves around David Valenzuela a normal man who works at a company called OMNI Corp. David’s wonderful voice acting is done by the talented Rice Pirate. You learn more about OMNI Corp as you complete stages, but it is well worth paying attention too. The voice acting is funny and David has hilarious conversations with his computer, IRIS. David is a testing technician for this company and works with IRIS to test these AI robots.
So essentially, you play the role of these “AI robots”, and you make them look good by completing each stage. In story mode you control the red and blue colored robots, and their colors play a big role in the puzzles. As a side note, story mode can be played with 1-2 players, and party mode can be played with 2-4 players.
In regards to the puzzles, they start off quite easy and they quickly get difficult. There are a total of 80 levels to complete in the story mode. Some of these can be extremely frustrating and difficult, but there are also plenty of enjoyable levels. The levels have a lot of variety to them and require some creative thinking to complete. On the downside, I found myself dying, A LOT. Many of the levels require some dying in order to figure out the correct way to complete the level. I wouldn’t say this makes the game terrible, but it can be frustrating at times. There are also no hints whatsoever, so your best bet is to keep trying different methods until you find a way to complete each level.
Throughout these levels, you will find all sorts of hurdles standing in your way of completing the stage. These hurdles include: spikes, lasers, and even by falling off the map. These dangerous items can be avoided by successfully utilizing buttons, boxes, and more. Most items in game are color coded. For example, many levels in story mode will have red and blue lasers. They can be activated or deactivated by various methods, but red lasers can’t hurt the red robot, and the same goes for the blue robot with the blue laser. This makes many of the puzzles later on VERY complex. Each puzzle you complete keeps track of the fastest time you were able to finish the puzzle in. The game also keeps track of how many deaths each of your robots has had, which is depressing. This pretty much sums up the entirety of the gameplay and the simplistic yet captivating story mode, but there are a few other modes I would like to explain.
Party mode is a true party! Party mode follows the same gameplay in the story, but now you can play with a friend. This adds a whole new complexity to the game with 4 robots on the screen. Communication is the key to completing the 40 completely different levels in party mode. Also, depending on who you’re playing with, you may find your so called ‘friend’ purposely killing you. This game taught me that I can’t trust my beloved brother. It took us way longer than it should have to complete the party mode, but it was mostly enjoyable minus a few frustratingly difficult levels.
So, what’s left to talk about? The legendary… vault. The vault is only unlocked once all the story mode levels are complete. There is also a separate vault unlocked only after completing party mode. These vault levels are even hard than the levels found in story and party modes. I will keep the details on the vault levels a secret, but best of luck with completing them.
Death Squared has a lot of good content to it, and it is a great fit on the Nintendo Switch. These are the kind of games the Switch needs more of. Death Squared has wonderful co-op for story levels and in party mode. It requires constant communication and trust in your team. I preferred to play Death Squared with friends rather than playing along, but both were very enjoyable. You can also customize your robots with cute little stickers which is awesome. Some of these stickers are hidden throughout the maps as secrets, so keep an eye out for them. In regards to negatives, Death Squared does not have many. One of the few critiques would be the difficulty. If you can’t handle dying hundreds (or thousands) of times before successfully completing story mode, then you may be frustrated with Death Squared. I found the difficulty enjoyable, and loved the challenge. There were some small buggy issues with framerate drops, but they were minimal and did not affect gameplay.
For $14.99, Death Squared offers a great amount of gameplay and challenges. If you enjoy puzzle games and playing splitscreen co-op then it is hard to go wrong with Death Squared. There is no difficulty adjustment though so patience will be a must. I highly recommend this game for any Switch owner looking to pick up a challenging game for you and your friends.