An XboxHornet review by WDesm
“Cartoony Charm in a unique Twin Stick Shooter”
When I booted up Square Off, I couldn’t help make a mental comparison to Castle Crashers – everything about the first few seconds, from the cheesy intro to the character select screen, complete with completely-identical-yet-differently-coloured heroes, ringed of that cheesy cartoonish vibe not seen since Castle Crashers, Earthworm Jim, or Comix Zone.
Square Off is a 1-4 (local only) twin stick shooter. The game has a small collection of static maps, and ever-enlarging waves of aliens spawn in. To aid in the fight, occasional power-ups can be gleaned from fallen aliens, or in power-up boxes. The gameplay is smooth and nearly-constant, as a good twin stick shooter should be. The near perpetual stream of power-ups makes combat enjoyable, and the sheer threat of exploding yourself in over-aggressive grenading keeps combat fast and furious. And, if you get bored of the “story” mode, there are challenge modes and endurance modes, all 1-4 player, guaranteeing that you’ll be able to enjoy the continued frantic action in a variety of ways. Of course, much like the reference to Castle Crashers above, Square Off works best with four players. Sadly, the game lacks online play, because the only thing better than crowding four players on a couch, is yelling at people in an Xbox Friends Party. Or wait, was it supposed to be the other way around? …Either way, the lack of online functionality is a missed opportunity.
Overall, Square Off is an excellent choice for either the competitive twin stick shooting lover, complete with online leaderboards for promoting your own awesomeness, or the more general gamer, looking for a hilarious, fun, and accessible 4-player game for you and your friends to jump into. Don’t hesitate to give this one a try – it shows a great deal of polish and promise, and could easily survive as a “full” XBLA game rather than an XBLIG all-star.
Game Score 9/10
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