Review Death Squared | SMG Studios is not known for making console games. Now they bring us a couch co-op puzzle game to the Xbox One. Is it worth your time and effort? Let’s find out.
- With 80 puzzles in two player story mode and 40 in four player party mode, each followed by a growing number of experimental puzzles in the vault, you can be sure to spend a lot of time in Death Squared.
- The difficulty feels well balanced, there are some easy puzzles in the beginning but you quickly end up having to think and experiment. It doesn’t ramp up in a linear fashion, after one that gave you trouble, the next puzzle might feel a bit easier, which is an excellent choice, nobody likes to be stuck for too long.
- There is no time rush in levels, parts of the level only move if you do, so it does a great job at giving you time to communicate with the other players.
- The voice interaction between David the operator and Iris the AI in story mode is just brilliant. The operator’s voice acting is very natural and believable, there are some very funny lines and jokes in there. Especially with every level having its own unique lines.
- The music is nice and relaxed, offering a nice contrast to the heated debates that will occur sooner or later.
- Playing the 4 player party mode brings another dynamic to the game compared to just two player. I’ve tested this out with one of the four players barely able to use a controller properly and it still worked out.
- You can play part of this game by yourself. In the two player story mode puzzles you can control two bots, one with the left stick the other with the right stick. This is difficult, but not impossible to do. As an experiment I completed the first 40 levels solo. However, you are really missing out on the fun without a local player and you can’t do the party puzzles by yourself.
- The puzzle levels are all expertly designed but the way this game works means there is no Endless mode or something similar that you can frequently find in other puzzle games. SMG Studios have said they will add more puzzles to the vault for free, adding to an already sizable catalog.
- This is meant to be a couch co-op game so it might seem unfair to list this as a bad point, but I do feel that including the option to play with friends online would be perfect for this game, especially if your co-op partner isn’t available. It would help fix the only real drawback of this game.
- There is no way to change the settings from the pause menu. If you want to change the volume of music or voice for instance, you will need to back out to the main menu.
Score: 80% | The overall presentation and sheer volume of puzzles make Death Squared great value for money. If you’re into puzzle games the only thing that can keep this from being must buy is the lack of a local co-op partner as there is no Xbox Live co-op play. You can play the story mode puzzles by yourself but it’s not quite the same. But if you do have a co-op partner and maybe even if you don’t, this is a great puzzle game you should definitely check out.