Killsquad – Preview
Follow Genre: Top-down action crawler
Developer: Novarama
Publisher: Novarama
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Killsquad – Preview

Good: nice environments, short bursts of action
Bad: Needs more content and overall game progression
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

During the E3 in 2019, we got to see some footage from Killsquad, for all the PC gamers out there. A little bit of time passed since then, and by the 16th of July, the game got released for Early Access on Steam. Curious as we are, we decided to check the game out and lay down the good, the bad, and the hordes of enemies that are heading our way as we are typing. Better get your murder songs ready!

In Killsquad, you don’t get any story. Instead, you instantly load up a lobby where you can choose a ”contract” a.k.a. a mission and you can start playing that missions solo or with a team. Team members can be either a friend who owns the game or strangers who join very easily. Each of you can choose one out of four characters, which have a set of four different skills each, the fourth being your ultimate that you unlock when you reach level six. Your character does not only decide what skills you have but also your weapon. One has a blade for close-quarters, the other an energy gun that is better for large groups of enemies, etc.

The first thing that’s noticeable about Killsquad is that the graphics are already tight, despite the game being in Early Access. Especially the special attacks from friend and foe, and the environmental attacks that you will have to dodge as they wreck the map are very nice. It looks finished and smooth, with proper animations (which the screenshots don’t properly tell you, so we will add a gameplay trailer at the bottom of this preview), even though the game has plenty to improve. The same goes for the character design that doesn’t look all too regular at all. The playable models as well as the enemies. There’s just something about Killsquad that feels like a breath of fresh air.

The music that will accompany you during the game is a bit of a mix between orchestral and atmospherical. It can be compared to soundtracks used by the Halo series or World of Warcraft in a way. Sometimes cautioning you for what the level has in store for you as you ignore those warnings and rampage your way through to the ending. The voices and attack sounds match the brutality of the visual spectacle pretty well, though since the game doesn’t have a story, the voices don’t tell you anything except battle cries. It partially feels like a small piece of missing in-depth gaming, but since the Early Access stays pretty shallow anyway, it’s not something to shout about right now.

As you picked a character and a mission, you will probably be playing a game somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes long. The gameplay is somewhat of a mix between the dungeon crawling that Diablo has, and a more high-paced arcade action type of gameplay such as Helldivers where you have to dodge a lot of stuff and beat the crap out of everything. There are two melee characters and two ranged ones for now, though the empty roster spaces suggest there will be more in the future. These characters feel slightly different, with the main concern that the ranger characters seem to do a bit more damage. The missions are pretty self-explanatory and simple. Go escort a car, go protect a charging EMP-type of antenna, go traverse a booby-trap filled dungeon. Whatever the case, you start at one side of a map and end at the other, during which you fight hordes of enemies and stronger boss-type creatures as well.

Every time you start a game, your character is level one. By killing enemies, you get experience points that allow you to go all the way up to level 10 and upgrade some skills, Also, some enemies drop DNA which you can use at a rusty machine to slightly upgrade your health, armor, and others, but only for the mission you are currently doing. It’s a system that works for now, but at the same time, it feels a bit flat. Since there is no extra or random element added to the skills that you can upgrade, you will probably find yourself choosing the same upgrades every time, at some point just making it feel rather futile since you will lose them after each mission just to start over again.

Missions eventually, once completed, earn you credits. With credits, you buy new weapons and gear to make your character stronger. At least, that’s what it looks like. Your characters have ”Vector scores”, which is something like gear score, an accumulated number of points indicating how strong your gear is. However, it’s all very simplified. There is no (visible) attack damage or armor. All you have is your weapon, a support item, and a prototype item. All of these give you a slight buff, and you can also upgrade most items with components you find as you play the game. Upgrading also seems futile though, at least at early levels since you will quickly buy a new weapon to increase your vector score. A higher vector score allows access to higher, more difficult contracts. It’s a working system, but very plain in its essence. Perhaps in the future, some type of overall progression and explanation will be created to assist you in seeing the bigger picture of the game. But for now, Killsquad is what it is in Early Access.

Conclusion

Killsquad is far from bad, and actually rather fun to play as you watch the visuals unfold and shoot your way across a map full of action, in short, fast-paced games. There’s still a lot to possibly improve to make the game more fun though. Essentially, the game laid down the bare essentials for players to enjoy themselves, and the product is practically finished. But a clearer character growing system, more variation in the contracts and skills, and whatever else the developers can think of would be a nice addition.

 

 

 

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Killsquad - Preview, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

2 Comments

  1. […] action RPG Killsquad launched back in July and has been doing pretty well ever since. We even previewed it ourselves, but today we’re here to announce the Halloween event that starts this week. […]

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  2. […] Now that Black Friday has arrived it’s the perfect opportunity to join the intergalactic hunt. The game features both single and multiplayer co-op fun. It’s available on Steam Early Access with plans to launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2020. Killsquad has a special Steam Autumn Sale promotion. From Friday, November 29th until Tuesday, December 3rd, players can get both single and 4-pack digital copies of Killsquad with a 30% discount. You can find our preview right here. […]

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