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Game Info:

Delta Squad
Developed By: Eskema Games
Published By: Ratalaika Games
Released: November 1, 2019
Available On: Linux, macOS, PlayStation 4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Twin-Stick Shooter
ESRB Rating: T for Teen: Blood, Violence
Number of Players: up to four players offline
Price: $5.99

Thank you Ratalaika Games for providing us with a review code!

Delta Squad, by developer Eskema Games, is a 4-player co-op twin-stick shooter. You’ll get the option to play as one of four military personnel: the infantry, the medic, the engineer, and the heavy. They each have their unique primary and secondary weapon, as well as stats pertaining to health, attack power, and movement speed. The goal is to complete the five levels that can be chosen in any order, using points earned from killing enemies to further upgrade your stats.

I do like that levels can be chosen freely as it does give Delta Squad a bit of variety compared to other twin-stick shooters, but the issues are almost immediately noticeable once you begin playing. No matter what character you choose, you move excruciatingly slow around the semi-open environment. This might be the slowest twin-stick shooter I’ve ever played in my life. I can’t understand why the characters move so slow as I’m sure if they doubled the movement speed it wouldn’t even break the game. When it comes to controls, there are some strange parts to it. Aiming with the right stick is very sensitive so it’s hard to aim accurately (at least with the Switch’s default Joy-Cons) with no options to decrease the sensitivity. Other oddities are with dodging and reloading. Tapping the respective button instantly does the action but with shooting your weapons, the triggers have to be held down for at least half a second before.

 

Delta Squad
Highlights:

Strong Points: Get to choose any of the five levels in any order
Weak Points: Controls are too sensitive; shooting feels delayed; annoyingly difficult; slow movement; repetitive mission structure; softlocks sometimes at the very end of missions
Moral Warnings: Military-grade violence; zombies; enemies bleed when killed

Going back to the mission structure, it is semi-open because you’re free to go anywhere in the level, but you have to follow the compass highlighted around your character to your objectives. The objectives range from tasks such as defending civilians, killing zombies and other enemies, disabling radio towers, and so on. I started to understand why the levels could be chosen in any order after playing through most of the five levels. They share nearly all of the same missions and this leads to the experience feeling mighty repetitive. The enemy variety is pathetic, mostly consisting of zombies that only exist as fodder, gunners, stationed turrets, and tanks. Despite the characters being different, they all feel the same as their secondary weapons are all bad and their primary guns only have varying speeds of firing except for the engineer who has a shotgun.

Delta Squad also manages to be a difficult game for all the wrong reasons too. In the levels, you only get one checkpoint and that is when you enter the sublevel within to fight the boss and accomplish one more mission. Beyond that, you have three lives to complete somewhere around nine missions, and your little army dude is made out of tissue paper. Even on the easiest difficulty, the opposing force will tear through you in only a half-dozen bullets or so. Turrets and tanks can and will shoot at you off-screen before you even notice them and due to how sluggish your character moves, you may not even dodge them in time. Even if you push through, there’s a fairly high chance you’ll softlock at the end of any level after defeating the boss and I can’t understand why it happens. As it forces you to restart from the beginning, you may have just wasted anywhere between 20 minutes to hours.

Delta Squad
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 38%
Gameplay - 2/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 2/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 83%
Violence - 4.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In contrast to the gameplay, the music and sound direction is competent. Nothing groundbreaking or excellent, but it manages to be the best thing about Delta Squad. It’s an ambient soundtrack according to the developers and seems to take inspiration from similar war-based media soundtracks. There is also basic voice acting with grunts and one-word phrases such as “reloading” and “mission complete.” When it comes to the graphics, the camera is too zoomed out to see much detail, but the environments are kinda dull as it reuses a lot of textures, as well as plenty of levels just flat out missing textures in general.

When it comes to morality, there are a few things to point out. As mentioned before, there are zombies in the game. When killed, they burst into a green mist (although the zombies bleed red). As for the opposing military, when they die, their bodies linger for a bit in a pool of their own blood.

I never ended up finishing Delta Squad and I put in an honest effort to do so. A combination of baffling design choices such as a strict checkpoint system, multiple softlocks, boring mission structure, and being way too hard than it needs to be, left me extremely annoyed. I don’t exactly get joy out of trashing on something that a person or a team has created as I know how difficult and daunting creating something and having people critique it can be, but with how many things are designed, it makes me wonder if Eskema Games even played the game they are trying to sell. I’m sure it might be better with friends, but just because something is better with a group doesn't mean it's good. All I know is that as a solo experience, Delta Squad is a miserable time that I can’t really picture anyone enjoying.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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