Death Squared Review – Nintendo Switch

Death Squared broke me.

Now, I don’t mean broke as in a “made me break stuff” kind of way. Rather that on multiple occasions Death Squared reduced me to a near-blubbering mess of a person struggling to comprehend just how I’d solve the puzzle facing me. Yet eventually I’d overcome it, but that fleeting euphoria would last as long as it took for the next level to appear. I’d even go as far to say that there were definitely times where it invoked memories of another isometric problem-solving game from my past, one that also featured two characters who drove me head over heels insane at the best of times…

Reminiscence aside, Death Squared is a 2017 3D isometric cooperative puzzle game from Sydney gamedev SMG Studios. It’s based around an incredibly simple concept: Move your AI ‘bots from point A to point B. That’s it! Sounds easy in concept, right? Once you start throwing lasers, moving platforms, and needing to coordinate moves into the mix, suddenly you’re heading towards ‘broken’ territory. As an added bonus Death Squared is as couch co-op friendly as it gets, meaning that it’s another delightful game to play with people you don’t want to have to like for much longer.

While Death Squared can be enjoyed with up to 3 other people, I opted to spend the bulk of my time slogging through the 80 level single player story mode. I started out simple enough – move from the starting point to the round circles that serve as the goal. As the levels progress, more and more elements are introduced that forced me to use the tricks I’d learnt in a completely different way. The progression feels natural, and I never found the difficulty being artificially ridiculous just for the sake of slowing my progress down. There are times where it does feel like a struggle to push through lots of levels in a single sitting, with my 20 minute bus ride each day feeling like an optimal playtime before I started feeling broken and needing to stop. Your mileage may vary here, but it’s something that is negated by the more people you have to play it with.

Trying to enlist some celebrity assistance

So what about the story you ask? It revolves around a slacker named Dave (Voiced by Rice Pirate Mick) and his virtual assistant IRIS (also voiced by Rice Pirate Mick!). Dave’s a level 1 supervising technician at a futuristic robotics company who has one job: to monitor the AI Test ‘Bots (you!) as they go through their paces. Mick’s delivery and timing on his lines is fantastic, and really sells the banter between the two. This all plays out in the background as you work through the story mode along with the odd company email load screen, and complements the mode well.

When I’m Sixty-fouuuur

It’d be harder if the controls were unwieldy, but beyond a couple of times where I did something dumb and found myself getting stuck on the geometry, the twin-stick control method works pretty well. Left stick moves the Red ‘bot, while the right stick moves the Blue ‘bot, and this setup even plays into the puzzles in later stages. This can make for some rather tricky times when playing solo, as my brain would often assume the left stick corresponded to ‘bot on the of the screen, only to have the other one suicide off a ledge. I even tried giving one of the Joycons to my 5 year old, but he proved to be more frustrating than trying to just do it myself. To him, watching the colourful square dive off the edge and explode was the absolute height of hilarity! The edge detection on the platforms can be a little touchy at times, as I’d find a bot tumbling to its doom despite swearing I had ample space to maneuver. These moments were rare though, which is reassuring for a game that involves some fairly precise movements at times.

Booooom

One thing I’ll say is that this is a game that feels more at home on the Switch than any other platform I’ve seen it on (which is to say, Death Squared is on pretty much everything!). Given the Switch ships with two Joycons by default and the “pick up and play” nature of the system, this makes Death Squared a really good first game to grab if you’ve just gotten the console and want some co-op games to play. Add a pro controller or two into the mix, and there’s a party right there!

Did I mention it’s also only $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop (and slightly higher on other platforms)? Given there’s a good 8-10 hours of play in the story mode, and many, many more hours in the Party or super-hard Vault, Death Squared is definitely worth checking out.

Death Squared was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Played story mode to completion, and ran through a handful of the Party mode levels. Review code provided with thanks to SMG Studios.

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blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Co-host of the Press Play On Tape Podcast. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

Follow Aaron Clement on Twitter and Instagram

 

 

If BioShock Was Made In 1998

If BioShock was made in 1998…

Source: 98DEMAKE on YouTube via Laughing Squid

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

NFL Blitz Turns 20

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

From the first time I played the arcade version of Midway’s NFL Blitz at a movie theatre arcade, I was hooked. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the colorful, over-the-top football game in arcades. And yes, that makes me feel old too.

Before there was Madden, there was Blitz if you were an NFL fan and gamer. Blitz wasn’t as technical and stylized as a year of Madden, but it was just as fun and competitive to play with your friends. When Nintendo 64 released Blitz, the game was so different than any other football game on the market.

Blitz had a blown up exaggeration to it with the humorous violence when you tackled an opposing player. The explosive crunching sounds and the streak of light behind the ball when you threw it deep elevated the gaming experience. The graphics and play popped off the smallest of television screens.

The “late hits” after plays were a bit much; so much so, it’s one of the reasons, along with some of the graphic collisions, the NFL almost offered to refund Midway’s licensing fee. I’m sure the NFL was pleased when they saw the early numbers of units sold.

Everyone I knew who had a Playstation or Nintendo 64 system owned Blitz. Like Madden or Goldeneye, playing Blitz was a happening at a friend’s house. I can’t count how many times in high school I participated in an NFL Blitz tournament. No money was ever involved, but a friend had to wash my Jeep after I humiliated him in a rout.

On weekends, I would play an entire season (usually with the Cowboys or Broncos) in a single day. And I loved the pitch play. My go-to-play was always “Da Bomb,” or the pitch to my running back down the right sideline. The reverse pass play was always a must on a difficult drive as well.

As much as I’ve enjoyed years of Madden, I think I have fonder memories of playing Blitz. It wasn’t as formal as Madden, but the action was just as enthralling and challenging. When you scored a touchdown against a really good opponent, it was just as gratifying as when you scored in a competitive Madden duel. And, I would know, I’ve played against some exceptional Madden players.

Twenty years ago, Midway created one of the most enjoyable football games ever. It still holds up, and when I play it, I’m flooded with bittersweet memories of close wins and crushing defeats.

I hope, somewhere in a lively arcade, kids are still playing and discovering a version of NFL Blitz.

source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

 

Coyote Peterson Finds ‘Pac-Man Of The Sea’

“On this episode of Beyond the Tide, Coyote and the crew explore the tide pools of the San Juan Islands in search of bizarre marine creatures… and OH BOY do they find them!

From Sea Lemons to Giant Purple Sea Stars almost everything they discover is truly and amazingly unique. 

To top it off they also find the largest species of Chiton, the “Gumboot”, in the world which is a creature so bizarre it hardly looks as if it’s even alive! However it does have a striking resemblance to one of the most beloved video game characters of all time. 

Get ready to meet the Pac-Man of the Sea!”

(Start watching at 13:26 to jump straight to the Pac-Man creature).

Source: Brave Wilderness via Laughing Squid

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

Super Captain Toad Cake

They say that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but we say to hell with that!

Press Play On Tape podcast host and resident ausretrogamer contributor, Aaron Clement, showed us his son’s birthday cake which his awesome wife, Kel whipped up this past weekend. Kel’s Captain Toad cake was a work of art that looked too good to eat, but damn too delicious to let sit there for good looks. We may need to put in our request with Kel for our very own cool cake!

Oh yeah, just in case you didn’t know, the Press Play On Tape crew has formally joined the PAX Aus Classic Gaming Area, so we are looking forward to getting our nostalgia on with these very cool peeps!

Top of the world!

Mmmmm, M&Ms!

Oh wow, Kit Kats too!

Boss Fight Books: BOOM SHAKALAKA

BOOM SHAKALAKA! Boss Fight Books latest collection Season 4: Creator Access Edition has conquered Kickstarter!

With the successful crowdfunding now finished, we can’t wait to read about Final Fantasy V, Shovel Knight, NBA Jam, Star Wars: KotOR and Postal. If you missed the Kickstarter, don’t worry, just keep an eye out on how to order this collection on the Boss Fight Books website.

These books are making us drool in anticipation, but it is Reyan Ali’s chronicling of Midway’s arcade hit NBA Jam, that we are most looking forward to reading. With inside information on the game’s creation and interviews with key development people and industry leaders, this tome will definitely be a slam dunk!

source: Boss Fight Books

 

Iconic Movie Cars In 8-Bit

Everyone loves a nostalgia trip. They take you back to a time once forgotten, and with these awesome gifs, done by car leasing company Select Car Leasing as part of a quiz, you’ll get that two-fold, with these legendary movie motors, re-vamped into an iconic, old-school 8-Bit style.

First, we have everyone’s favourite time-travelling vehicle, the DeLorean, Marty McFly’s mode of transportation to go back and forward through time in the unforgettable Back To The Future films. The DeLorean, which had to reach 88 mph in order to time travel, is actually back in production, being pieced together in Texas, rather than in Northern Ireland where the original was produced.

This Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is probably more famous for the epic ice chase/battle it had in the James Bond film, “Die Another Day” than it is as a standalone classic bond car. Going up against Zao’s Jaguar XKR, the two cars had possibly the greatest one-on-one battle of the Bond franchise, flipping over missiles and crashing through ice walls, with the baddy meeting his demise after being impaled by an ice chandelier.

The guys at Select Car Leasing couldn’t do work on iconic movie cars without putting at least one Batmobile in. Here is the first Batmobile that hit the movie theatres back in 1989 when the first Batman film arrived starring Michael Keaton as the caped crusader.

Not all of movies’ most iconic cars were restricted to driving on the road you know? Here we see the Spinner from the classic cyberpunk film, Blade Runner that featured Harrison Ford as main character Rick Deckard. These flying Police cars were used to survey the general public from the skies and will be seen again in the upcoming remake, Blade Runner 2049.

And finally, another motor that could take to the skies, possibly the most iconic car in movie history, the amazing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This vehicle looks fantastic but according to lead actor Dick Van Dyke, saying that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was “a little difficult to manoeuvre, with the turning radius of a battleship”.

You can see more awesome 8-Bit movie cars by taking Select Car Leasing’s quiz here, which includes vehicles such as the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, Mad Max’s Interceptor, Herbie and a really cool transforming Bumblebee!