'Death Squared' PAX East Impressions: Couch Co-Op Is Fun And Frustrating

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'Death Squared' is at PAX East, and brings some great couch co-op gameplay SMG Studios

Death Squared looks to be the most fun and frustrating experience playing games with others since Portal 2. Creating a system of puzzles that slowly escalates in difficulty, teamwork is imperative to making sure everyone succeeds.

Playing Death Squared at PAX, either two or four players each take on the roll of a cube-shaped robot. Using a complex series of trial-and-error, players must work together to end each level by getting the right colored cube onto the same colored circle on the ground. This sounds easy enough, but gets to be much more complex very quickly.

Each level’s rules are different and need to be figured out to complete them. For example, in one level, moving your character may also move around some other blocks on the level. This will force the second player to adjust to the movements you are making, while also probably causing his or her own effect as well. This gets even more complex when four players are added to the mix.

Teamwork is key to completing each level in Death Squared, which means you are going to need to be patient and communicate with your friends to achieve success. If one player jumps ahead a few steps, it often causes a domino effect that results in one or more players dying and the level getting restarted. Thankfully, Death Squared is only local multiplayer, so if one of your friends stops playing nicely, you can smack him or her in the face.

This all feels very familiar to the co-op campaign of Portal 2. While Portal certainly is more complex, the feelings of working together and experimenting with ways to complete levels is very similar. However, Death Squared is made with non-gamers in mind, so the entire game can be completed with the left stick on a controller.

There will also be a story element to Death Squared’s two-player campaign. The first few levels will present a light-hearted story about robots, but developers have said the tone shift to be a bit darker as players move through the campaign.

Death Squared will be coming to PC, Xbox One and PS4 on March 14.

So what do you think? Are you excited about a new couch co-op game? Do you have a group of friends you think you can work with enough to solve some puzzles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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