We managed to get our first hands-on with Death Squared, one of the featured games in this years PAX Indie showcase. Death Squared, developed by SMG Studio, is basically a co-operative puzzle game for 2 or 4 players but can also be played with just one player. So Chris and I teamed up for some co-op and tried it out for a few rounds. The goal being to get our blue and red cubes to their respective blue and red targets.
A simple objective… at least at first.
Each puzzle offered a combination of different challenges, like a moving target or lasers when the players move their cube in any direction or spikes that would activate on specific squares when one player gets on their target before the other. The amount of teamwork necessary caught us a little off guard with both of our ‘every man for himself’ rushes for the target usually resulting in failure. So if you wanna succeed you’re gonna have to communicate or fail over and over again. Our last puzzle was particularly ruthless and after a small hint from developer Patrick Cook we finally got it done. Though I am proud to say that we somehow managed to solve a puzzle by swapping places on a single square tile, which is apparently something the developers didn’t quite realise was possible, a cheap tactic but hey we did what we had to do.
Cook informed us that there were a total of 22 levels for 1 or 2 players with a further 14 for 4 player co-op. Each series of levels that were generated in the PAX build of the game was randomly selected from a pool of these levels. How many levels will be in the final product and how the levels are selected are still to be determined, though according to Cook it takes around 2-4 hours to create a puzzle and given he’s been working full-time on the game for 3 months now I’m sure many more maps will be made available. It is also important to note that the single player mode of the game uses both sticks to control each of the squares separately and 4 player mode can be controlled with both sticks with only 2 players. Multiplayer as well as a level designer may also be featured, though currently it is not in the game.
Death Squared is set to release sometime during 2016 though there’s been no time frame for when exactly during the year we can expect it to launch. SMG Studio is releasing the game on Steam and there a plans for both a PS4 and Xbox One release but as of yet these versions of the game are not developed.