Square Off review
Square Off is an arena deathmatch style game in which you must defeat the evil aliens to save humanity. Pesky aliens always attacking earth, why cant we be friends? Read on to find out why.
The story mode can be played either as a single player or up to four players locally in a co-op game. Your character, a Square, travels through six locations including a laboratory, mountain and jungle ultimately ending his journey in the alien mothership. Each level is split in to five waves, the first four tasked with destroying a number of aliens per wave then the final fifth wave to destroy the boss.
Enemies come in various guises, the green aliens are the cannon fodder and will be your main opponent which are spawned by alien craft that can also be destroyed. As the game progresses new enemies are introduced such as helmet wearing green aliens that have more health than the standard aliens, brown aliens explode when shot and deadly aliens with guns. The enemies are ruthless and can continue to spawn until you destroy the alien craft, the gameplay can quickly change from attacking patterns to run for your life and defend if you are not careful!
You start with a simple pistol which unless you are really overwhelmed by the aliens can usually manage to keep things under a degree of control. You also start with a limited number of bombs which attract the enemies towards it and blows up with impressive results. To really help keep the aliens at bay a number of weapons can be collected from dead aliens including a three way pistol which is a godsend and a rocket launcher that is very powerful but its ammo is in very short supply. Crates can also be destroyed which contain useful items including health and speed ups. The choice of weapons each have their own advantages and disadvantages and there is some basic strategy to when they should be used.
The story mode can be completed in under an hour if you play only the first five waves on each level. This is however not a negative point as I think this is simply a way to unlock the later levels to add some more gameplay. The main game is the survival mode which you select to play after completing the boss instead of continuing to the next level. In this mode you continue playing the current level with additional waves which increase in difficulty. This mode is all about trying to beat the number of waves and the highscore which can be viewed in the highscore tables.
There are also three multiplayer deathmatch modes to play with up to four players. Unfortunately there is no CPU AI to play against so I was not able to spend a great deal of time playing as I only had a friend available for a short period of time while reviewing the game. The first mode is To The Death, an elimination game with the survivor being the winner, Frag Race is a kill count game with the first to reach the specified number of kills being the winner and finally a Time Limit game where the winner is decided once the time limit has been reached. With two players we had a bit of fun but I would imagine with more players this would be great.
From when you get to the games menus you will instantly compare the game to Castle Crashers, Square Off takes a lot of inspiration from the classic and the presentation and the graphics style are very similar. It is not a bad thing, Castle Crashers done it very well and Square Off keeps up with it. The graphics look great with brightly coloured cartoon style graphics, decent animation and each levels location design fitting well, it all looks very professional! The music is done well with a number of tracks to listen to throughout the game, they act more as a background theme so they don’t feel to repetitive as you play. The sound effects are also done very well with plenty of gun noise, explosions and satisfying speech when you gain multiple kills.
Square Off costs 240 :MSPoints: which is great value for money. The story mode will keep you busy for an hour or two, the main draw of the game is the survival modes which have many hours of gameplay. The co-op and multiplayer modes are an added bonus if you have friends to play with. The game is great fun and a good challenge so it gets a thumbs up from me.
You can find more information on Square Off as well as download the trial and full version of the game on the Marketplace.