Death Squared by Sydney-based SMG Studio is a cooperative puzzle game in which the main objective is to maneuver two cube-shaped robots, one red and one blue, to their respective color-coded areas to complete a level, which admittedly sounds pretty rudimentary at first. The catch however, as the title of the game suggests, is that the routes to reach those destinations are usually laden with various deadly hazards and traps. Not only that, but also these lethal obstacles on each level can be controlled by the player or players: simply moving a robot could cause lasers to target the other robot, specific platform spaces to shift, or spikes to appear out of nowhere. Essentially, Death Squared takes a very basic concept and molds it in various, interesting ways.
In the case of solo-play, the player will need to exercise a fair amount of left-right brain coordination, having to utilize a control stick on each Joy-Con to guide each robot to its target without getting obliterated. Like most puzzlers, trial and error is a large part of it, so you’ll likely be finding yourself more often than not falling off ledges as you try to figure out each level. Still, with both the control scheme and premise being very simple, Death Squared can make for an easy pick-up-and-play session before something like Breath of the Wild. The content is challenging but not unfair, unfair difficulty being a consistent pitfall among many other puzzlers.
Death Squared was released for the PC on Steam back in March, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was originally a Nintendo Switch title, a testament to the game taking full advantage of the system’s capabilities of seamless transition between solo and cooperative play. Simply sliding off a Joy-Con and handing it to a friend automatically adapts the control scheme for cooperative play, with each player controlling a different colored robot. Coordinating with another human being carries its own slew of challenges but it definitely brings a distinct and immensely enjoyable experience altogether. With four-people-play, the chaos increases exponentially and Death Squared becomes a solid Nintendo Switch party title.
Death Squared is not only polished in its gameplay but also charming in its personality. David, the narrator and scientist who oversees your every so-called experiment, provides well-voiced and witty commentary that pokes fun at whenever the player makes a mistake. Think GLaDOS from Portal, but more lighthearted and sympathetic. It definitely encourages trial and error gameplay, as players can look forward to listening to snippets of charming banter after their constant failure.
At a mere $15 on the eShop, Death Squared is one of the standout indie titles on the Nintendo Switch console, offering an impressive selection of content: 80 story levels, 40 party levels, and 30 additional hard-mode levels after the first two modes are cleared. Death Squared is a must buy if you’re looking for a colorful, clever puzzler or just an all-around solid party game. One of the main attractive features of the Nintendo Switch is its ability to allow for instantaneous co-op play anywhere, and it feels like Death Squared was made for it. If more indie studios embrace this aspect the way SMG Studio has, then the console has a very bright future.
Watch the Death Squared Nintendo Switch Video:
To learn more about Death Squared, please visit the game’s official website.
Death Squared is now available for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac on Steam.
Related: Death Squared Review for Xbox One