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Here’s co-op puzzle Death Squared in action

2/8/17
Co-op games are so much fun, especially when they demand shared logic and putting brains together. What I really like about Death Squared is that it's challenging, but in a way that can be understood by anyone from a hardened puzzle fan to kids and grandparents.

As far as I can tell, no matter how convoluted the puzzle, you'll get there in the end. A lot of the puzzles are about metaphorically pulling the lever and seeing what happens and figuring out how to take advantage of that along with your friend.

In that respect, it owes a lot to Portal 2, one of the greatest games of all time, and a two-player co-op delight. Other great working-together games include Spelunky's co-op levels, Chariot, Don't Starve Together, Rocket League and Towerfall Ascension as well as any number of shooting games that demand repelling waves of attackers.

Levels in Death Squared start off pretty easy and then they get to the point where it's not immediately obvious what the answer is. The puzzles make a lot of use of transparent colored cubes that only one person can traverse, as well as lasers that will kill one of you but can be blocked by the other.

So there's a lot of running and fetching in order to figure out the exact right path. I'm told that siblings are especially good at this game because they are used to working together. But it's a really great way to connect with someone, so long as you're not the sort to get frustrated with other people's mistakes.

Also, the controls are not mapped to the grid, so you’re sliding around and can easily fall off the edges. Given that some of the puzzles call for really careful, coordinated movements, this demands care and precision.

The robots have a story if such a thing appeals. And you can listen into them squabbling and accommodating one another and giving some context to these robots.

If you are especially dexterous you can play in single-player mode, but it's definitely one of those “rub your tummy while you pat your head” things. I certainly found it uncomfortable. There's also a four-player party mode which looks a lot of fun, and total chaos, but I haven't played it.

Death Squared is made by a company called SMG based in Sydney, Australia which tends to specialize in fun mobile games but is now moving to PC and console as well. This game is out on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on March 14.

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