Navigating two little square robots around a vastly changing game board is a bit abstract. At the core of the game, Death Squared is a fun puzzle title that challenges the mind and makes you use strategy and coordination when playing with friends to avoid being blown up. It sounds simple enough, but Death Squared provides co-op craziness with loads of fun without becoming stale.

Throughout the game, the goal is to guide your characters, small cubical robots, around the playing stage. The difficulty comes with hazards, traps, and transparent colored cubes that are part of the level and are intentionally set to kill you. As one colored cube touches a plate with a button, it could activate a certain movement of boxes that pushes the other character off the edge or, it could trigger spikes to violently pop up on various cubes in the field. These obstacles really require quick thinking and problem-solving in order to successfully clear a level. To add an even more challenging aspect, there are lasers that track the different robots and kill on contact.

Death Squared’s story mode is made up of 80 levels that slowly ramp up in difficulty. Story mode can be played alone or with a friend via controllers or keyboard. Once you begin the Story Mode, the player is greeted with a tester and an AI. This machine/human interaction has significant callbacks to Portal. This time, however, the tester is a 3rd party named David, and the AI goes by Iris. David is an unseen observer, assigned to watch the AI and report on their success or failure regarding the completion of the tasks. While observing the character AI (the player), David tends to make sarcastic remarks and commentary on the progress of the little robots. Iris is unmoved and tends to respond to David only in short quips, ignoring any of his attempts to bring comedy into his mundane observation job. This banter continues throughout the story mode and provides just enough guidance to be a lighthearted tale. Once you finish the single player, however, there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to play again.

The game mechanics get a little tricky and for a title that is meant to be co-op having the ability for each player to have their own controller is essential. As mentioned before Death Squared can be played using a keyboard or console controllers. If playing Death Squared on the keyboard, one player will utilize WASD while the other player focuses on the four arrow keys. While possible, this is obviously not the optimal setup and controllers are an easier option. Should you not have a co-op partner, however, both characters can be controlled individually by the right and left joysticks of the plugged in Xbox or Playstation controller. This, as well as trying to use both WASD and the arrow keys as a single person, will be sure to lead to a few deaths as well. Somehow it’s rather difficult to control two different characters with two different sets of buttons. After the first hour or so of gameplay, however, I was able to differentiate well enough for it to not be a major setback.

Unfortunately, this lighthearted take lasts only the 80 levels of the story mode. When moving to 2 and 4 players, the commentary goes away, which is disappointing. In co-op mode, the most enjoyable aspect of Death Squared shines. Getting to work through puzzles with friends and family is clearly what this game was made for. There’s a dark joy that comes with intentionally killing your co-op partner that starts with a hearty laugh. However, this game can put some strain on a friendship too. When things aren’t going very well, and mistakes are repeatedly made, tensions tend to run high. This means that just as great fun can be had, good communication needs to be in place between all parties.

As much fun as the game is, the majority of the fun lies in the co-op atmosphere. It really pushes to bring back local couch co-op and for some this is great. However, the disappointing part is the lack of online multiplayer. While it can be fun to sit with friends, the reality of the situation is most players will not get the opportunity to enjoy the game as it should be enjoyed because of this missing piece that removes at least half of the available game, and for many, this can be a deal breaker. The game itself, however, does deliver some challenging puzzles in a fun and entertaining way and can provide hours of fun for yourself or with friends.

Death Squared Review
The Good
  • Fun Story Dialogue
  • Challenging Puzzles
  • Simple to Understand
The Bad
  • No Online Co-Op
  • No Story in Co-Op
  • Low Replayability
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Bobby C
Director, Editorial/Reviews

Bobby C is a veteran FPS and adventure gamer, starting with the NES and Super Mario Bros. The game that really started his love for the FPS Genre was Goldeneye for the N64. Since then, the love grew. From casual, to semi-pro COD with Modern Warfare 2 and 3, and back to casual, it’s a bad week when there isn’t at least 15 hours of games played.