We are a big fan of twin-stick shooters at the Retro Faith offices. Our gushing over Xeno Crisis was well deserved and we have another for review on the Switch. Delta Squad, from publisher Ratalaika Games, was released in November 2019 and boasts 50 missions over five levels. You can play on your own or join with up to three others in co-op. Are you up to the challenge of taking down a powerful overlord and save the earth!
You start the game learning of a new foe that is threatening after the events of Fullblast. The story takes a firm backset, you will not really care why or how you are fighting a horde of foes. The general idea is that you are up against some zombies and some mercenary type soldiers. You can access all the levels from the start and this means the story is even more pointless as there is no chronology to proceedings.
You have the choice between four different unit types. Each has their own skills to combat your enemies with varying strengths and weaknesses. Although we have not tried the multiplayer it seems as though playing with your friends would help this game come alive. Having a four player co-op with each of you picking a different unit would cover all the bases of skills. Playing on your own and only having a quarter of the skills does make this a difficult game but not impossible.
Controlling your unit is straightforward. As with any twin-stick shooter you move with the left and aim with your right. The triggers are used for main and secondary weapons. The controls are responsive and the added roll to avoid attacks is useful. You can see everything around you clearly as zombies and mercenaries descend from all sides. The stages are mostly residential with streets and buildings to move around but they rarely have any variety.
You will notice as you start playing Delta Squad that the camera is quite far away. We had trouble distinguishing the different enemies but this does not affect the gameplay. You move fairly slow and with purpose although the action is quite fast. It is surprising how quickly the zombies start filling the screen and a quick trigger and good aim is needed. You also have to take on gun towers that can kill you quickly if not dealt with.
The action in Delta Squad is quite bland. The missions you are tasked with are basic and become repetitive quickly. We found that by simply moving around and killing everything in sight made the mission objective a mute point. Apart from the need to reach certain checkpoints you never really feel you are achieving anything. The gameplay leaves a lot to be desired but it is solid and the game is well built.
Visually Delta Squad is polished with detailed objects and lots of colour. You will be impressed considering this is a budget title. Your bullets are defined and the effects let you know when you are on target. The one criticism we have is the lack of variety in the levels, although they look decent they all look familiar. It would have been great to see some themed stages to break up the gameplay but one level feels like another as you progress.
The music score does not fit well with the game although it is clear and has depth. You will appreciate the tunes but it feels as though the developer is attempting to parody 80’s action drama but not succeeding. The music just seems out of place. You will not get any joy from the sound effects either as they are weak and do nothing to bring the action to life. You will be forgiven for thinking all the sound and music was meant for a different game.
We really wanted to like Delta Squad as it has all the elements needed for a budget twin-stick shooter. However, many of its positives are brought down by poor execution. You will not understand the purpose of your mission even though zombies and mercenaries with big guns is a great concept. You will struggle to identify your enemies even though the graphics are sharp and colourful. The gameplay is quick but very repetitive.
If you are a fan of the genre and are looking for a quick blast you may get something from Delta Squad. If you want a game with a more involved story or gameplay variety you can skip this. Delta Squad had a lot of promise but just falls short in some key areas. It does a lot right but you will notice a few holes that no amount of zombie zapping can forgive.
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