Ready up; Delta Squad is here. If an old-fashioned arcade shooter is what you’ve been looking for, fret no more!
Step into the shoes of four classes—infantry, heavy, engineer and medic—each with their own weapon and throwable, sub the med-kit for the medic instead of an explosive. Lives and throwables are finite as players move from objective to objective to progress through.
There are five stages in total, as well as an endless survival mode, all playable solo or in local four player co-op. Objectives range from killing a certain number of enemies, to disarming bombs and bonus objectives of collecting coins around the map. The game converges on the final goal of stopping a dictator from controlling a zombie virus.
The story is very 90’s, and does not take itself too seriously.
Delta Squad controls nicely, but can only be played with a gamepad. Additionally, movement speed is rather slow despite the large maps. This would be fine, except a compass around the character points to the seemingly random drop boxes that fail to offer the next objective.
Traversing the maps just to see what comes next more than anything else does get tedious at times. Its saving grace comes with the frequency of enemy spawns and the hunt for the coins keeps it from getting boring.
Combat-wise, each gun type feels different enough to warrant trying out each class and seeing what works best for you. Enemies vary from slow zombies to different types of soldiers, each with their own kind of firepower. Turrets can catch you off guard while moving, as can the occasional tank.
The key to Delta Squad is to dodge and move your way out of incoming fire as best you can, and bullets are highlighted to make sure you can follow their path. It feels in part like classic Gauntlet games, bringing about a swift sense of nostalgia.
Additionally, the cartoon graphics emphasize this feeling, as does the big, military-style music that plays. After becoming acclimated, it becomes great fun and is even more so with companions to play alongside.
That said, it is not without its frustrations as several bugs showed up during gameplay. Once, a boss did not load after a death and restart from a checkpoint. There was nothing that could be done, so the entire level needed to be restarted. Another bug caused the game to not load the next objective at a drop box, also meaning that a restart was needed.
However, it is important to remember that Delta Squad was developed by a two-person team, so it’s a miracle that it works as well as it does the majority of the time.
The variety of elements and two game modes, as well as a co-op feature, are also considerable bonuses with this same consideration. It’s a nice game to pick up and play for a little while, but perhaps not an extended amount of time given the amount of repetition.
Lastly, with all parts combined, Delta Squad is, overall, an enjoyable experience. It’s not for everyone, but it fills a niche that few modern games do.
For the price, it’s a perfect addition for your house’s next multiplayer game night rotation, especially if you miss the 90s top-down action era.