After I spent just a little bit of time with Gnomic Studios’ Square Off, it became clear to me that the independent developer had a few objectives in mind while working on the dual-stick, survival shooter. Square Off was created with the goal of keeping the player engaged, showcasing a fun and quirky atmosphere and granting a fun, quality experience. Gnomic Studios met all of these goals, and I can’t put the game down.
The goal of Square Off is simple: Use your square character, referred to as an “Avenger,” to fight off an opposing alien invasion. To assist you on your mission, you are equipped with a jet pack for travel and an arsenal of weapons that you pick up along the way. As you progress through the game, you're challenged with increasingly difficult waves of aliens to exterminate.
Playing through the traditional campaign and completing each level grants your Avenger access to the survival mode for that level. In survival mode, your Avenger is faced with wave after wave of enemies and the game becomes less about killing a certain number of aliens and more about racking up huge combos. So far the game has kept me satisfied, but I would like to see more levels added to the game in the future, especially when I am paying a few dollars to own the last two levels.
When it comes to presentation, "polished" is a word that comes to mind. The beautifully-presented, cartoon-style animation fits perfectly with the quirky campaign and gameplay. The sound and music are also extremely well done, which will likely come as a relief to players used to the average mobile game. Square Off combines a sleek presentation, colorful levels and excellent sound effects to provide a very pleasant and addicting experience.
Alongside a strong presentation, Square Off combines a well-executed play style. Utilizing a traditional floating dual-stick shooting control system, Square Off makes sure that it’s the game that’s challenging you, not the control system. The shooter also provides a clean heads-up display and an innovative weapons cycle system, allowing the player to focus on the gameplay and not on the controls. While I did encounter a few accidents with the floating dual sticks, these mishaps were kept to a minimum.
The Good: The presentation quality, innovative control system and addicting survival mode make Square Off a tough game to put down. The availability on all major mobile platforms is a huge plus.
The Bad: The seven levels are fun to look at and offer great combat environments, but I would like to see more added to the game soon.
The Verdict: Square Off combines a polished look and creative animation style with one of the most responsive dual-stick shooters I have ever played. Go download it now. If you’ve ever played a shooter on your mobile device and you haven’t spent any time with Square Off, you need to make Gnomic Studios’ addicting game a priority.
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