7
Our overall verdict "bronze"

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If you have the reflexes of a snail that has dallied in a pool of superglue you may well be in trouble when Leap Game Studios release their reaction puzzler Squares onto the European PS Store. Take my advice, the best way to approach Squares is to take up residence on your favourite sofa, tell all around you to keep ‘stum’ and hope that brain of yours reacts like it’s twenty years younger.

Squares consist of 91 quick-fire rounds that must be completed within the time frame allocated. The game starts by teasing you with simple tasks of tapping squares, changing them from blue to grey or swiping cubes in specific directions, all pretty harmless. As you progress things take a turn as the squares appear in multiples and also shrink in size. To rub salt into the wound the timer zips to zero in the blink of an eye. Oh and I forgot to mention the orange squares. One tap on one of these blocks and you’ve been Tango’d, and it’s game over. Because of all these brain-testing obstacles levels only last a few seconds and will require a good few attempts just to gain a one star finish. Lucky for you there is a handy restart button which is probably the button you’ll be hitting the most when you first get to grips with the game. Failed levels can be jumped into and retried immediately which keeps everything snappy and slick.

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We’ve not had a game recently making full use of the Vita’s hardware. Squares fills this gap. Later levels will see you pinching both back and front, tilting and wobbling the handheld in all directions, swiping and generally getting into mischief. Squares really is super fun and makes you think and act fast. It’s a taunting challenge – your brain and concentration levels may only stomach an hour at a time but that hour will be a rewarding one. It’s a game to jump into, get stung, quit and return to later. I can’t see many getting 100% completion unless you’re super human or Japanese. Finishing every level with a 3 star finish? I don’t think so, but the challenge is there.

There’s no problem solving or guess work in Squares. It’s a straightforward gruelling puzzler that simply requires lighting fast reflexes. Brain tells finger what to do, finger fails. Extra content includes leaderboards and a level editor to allow players to create their own levels which hopefully can be shared through the PlayStation Network in a future patch.

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Conclusion

Leap Game Studios have given the Vita an intelligent fast-paced release. Squares is a first class reaction puzzle game. Its no-frill minimalist and addictive approach works so well. With a small replay value after completion the only incentive would be to gain a two or three star finish. Fun and crazy-fast, Squares is a rounded puzzler.

Lizard rating 7/10

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