Death Squared is set to become my go to choice when it comes to cooperative experiences. It’s a game that perfectly describes the phrase “looks can be deceiving.” Before getting my hands on with the game, I watched players attempt to solve the various puzzles in the demo. It seemed easy enough, but after grabbing a controller, I realized how wrong I was. I played with another attendee of PAX East who happened to be passing by when my demo session was about to begin.
Instead of immediately starting to complete a puzzle, we decided to take a look at the environment before making a move. Each player controls a colored square. I was red and my partner was blue. The goal of each level is to make it to the designated space that corresponds to your square’s color. Coordinating with your teammate is key to success. In one of the levels, I saw the trigger that I needed to press, but it revealed a row of spikes that killed my partner, sending us back the beginning of that puzzle. This time, we knew exactly what needed to be done.
Another level had a turret shooting a colored laser beam that connected to each character respectively. The red square could not touch the blue laser and vice versa. To solve this puzzle, my teammate and I needed to navigate through the level very slowly so that we would never crossed paths. While this particular level can probably be finished fairly quickly, we kept telling each other when to move in order to ensure victory.
The final level of the demo was indeed the most challenging of the bunch. It involved multiple floors, lasers, spike strips and even elevators. It took us about 5-6 attempts to finally understand what each lever and pressure pad did to the environment. Every death not only made us stronger, but it also helped us to develop an effective strategy. Eventually we were able to finish the puzzle.
Death Squared is a cute puzzle game that wonderfully captures the cooperative experience. It’s a local co-op game that requires constant communication. My teammate and I laughed plenty of times and breathed sighs of relief when stressful situations were solved. There is also a four player cooperative mode that I watched a few others play that adds to the tension and requires even more in-depth puzzle solving. Those three puzzles that I played were enough to get me excited for the full release. I can’t wait to play, laugh, scream, and probably argue with some of my closest friends. Death Squared is out now for Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. Be on the lookout for my review soon.