There are plenty of puzzles out there which means that it’s necessary to come up with ideas that can make a new puzzle game stand out. Death Squared seems to have a couple of ideas that could make it stand out.
Death Squared has a similar concept to Portal in that various tests are conducted within a controlled environment. However, the twist is that players control little cubes who are being tested by someone in a lab who is also being monitored by an AI.
In a way, playing through Death Squared feels similar to playing a far less complex version of Portal. Not that the many puzzles that this game has to offer are that easy to solve. They get progressively harder and make great use of the concept of using both cubes to solve them.
What can get tricky is having to guide both cubes as the puzzles get more complex with the likes of lasers that can only hurt one cube, when the laser is activated. The reason for this is that each analog stick is used to move one of the cubes. This makes it quite easy to forget which analog stick is controlling which cube when under pressure to make quick decisions. At least there are no real consequences when one of the cubes falls off the level grid or falls victim to one of the many deadly traps. Instead both of the cubes are placed back at their starting positions and the staff members and/or AI might make some snarky comment.
It works out for the best that players are not heavily penalized for getting the cubes destroyed since the puzzles are enough of a challenge without adding further obstacles. What might have made it easier to not get the cube destroyed would have been the option to change the level’s view. There are some levels where solving the puzzle requires moving the cube behind other obstacles and this makes it difficult to see where they are and also quickly get a good look at the whole grid.
Each of the cubes also has different costumes and it’s possible to change them in the pause menu. Not that it makes it any easier to always remember which cube is being moved by each of the analog sticks. The banter between the human technician David and the AI in charge of the testing also makes it more enjoyable to play through the levels.
Those fortunate enough to have pals to play games with in the real world can also play through the whole of Death Squared together. It makes it less confusing to solve some of the puzzles when playing with a second player. There is also a mode that lets up to four players work together to solve puzzles.
Some extra challenges are also available for those who preserver to the end of story mode and its many levels. Not that completing the story mode is an easy feat and it should keep fans of the puzzle genre entertained for many hours.
Death Squared is an interesting puzzle game full of clever tricks that will amuse those that don’t give up from the frustration of accidentally killing the cubes on many occasions.