Killsquad is an action RPG that takes its inspiration from World of Warcraft, Helldivers, Destiny, and Diablo III. It also combines some MOBA elements in the characters’ progression, similar to the ones you would find in League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and DOTA 2. The game tries to preserve the classic isometric look with the hack and slash feel. At the same time, it is a twin-stick shooter. The gameplay is much more arcadish when compared to the traditional ARPG titles out there. That is because there is less customization and more on the action. Since the game does not have a story mode, it makes the conditions of fighting a war straight to the point. So if there is no story, then what is left of it? Well, you get to play as a badass bounty hunter and your main purpose is to raid the planet for all of its precious resources.
When you are playing solo for the first time, the game starts off very slow due to lack of good gears. Once you have plugged in close to 12 hours of gameplay, that is when the fun factor kicks into high gear! But why does it take long to level up? Well, the answer really boils down to building credits (or as they call it in-game cash), which involves a lot of grinding just to get the necessary parts to survive the extraterrestrial wilderness. That’s all part of the solo experience but you can expect a way different scenario when playing the coop component. With coop, you can play up to four people online. It is far more exciting to play with others rather than doing the raids all alone. Everyone can bring their own style of play, help each other out, and come away with an awesome conquest in the end! But the biggest setback to the coop mode is the lack of local option where a few of your buddies band together on the same screen.
There are four main characters to choose from: A Gunslinger, A Russian Tank, An Assassin Nun, and A Medic with an affinity for plasma blast. Melee characters are much stronger than ranged characters – they have to be because they absorb much of the beat-down to compensate for their lack of reach. All four characters possess great arsenal of attacks. But what makes these characters unique from each other is the synergy (or the special support) they contribute towards the raid party. Each character’s active affix provide varying degrees of fun in the field. Since the enemies are tough, team chemistry plays a critical role in whether your party lives or die trying. The scary part is that none of these characters have gradual health regeneration. The absence of such self-healing agent affects melee characters the most because they are always in the heat of battle. The best way to restore health besides the usual drop-box on the field is health-related modifiers from passive equipment.
There are only a handful of maps available and these maps represent the different planets you pick as the ultimate battlegrounds. Although they are pretty linear to say the least, these maps feature a good amount of space to be able to roam freely without feeling claustrophobic. We have noticed that they do not have a lot of visuals to them but as long they work as intended, that’s all that matters. There are a few other items that players need to know more about the game. Mission raids are called contracts and vectors refer to your characters’ rank upon levelling up. You raise your vector by purchasing new weapons and gears. As you increase your vector, you unlock tougher contracts. Contracts are divided into three types of difficulties: Recruit (vector 1 – 30), Veteran (35 – 90), and Special Ops (vector 120 – 150). Of course, you cannot just enter a contract if you do not meet the required vector status.
Your in-game skills is maxed out at 10, your ultimate is unlocked at level 6, which is triggered by Y button on the Xbox 360 controller. You also get other special powers and these can be activated using the digital pad. Some of these skills have a loooong cooldown timer, which means spamming them won’t help you strategically win the game. While your vector stays with you in terms of individual progression, your skills do not – they go back to basics whenever you start a new contract – this is one of our biggest gripes in the game: skills reset to entry-level. As far as the contract goes, the mission follows the same pattern: fight through hordes of pesky aliens, find the big vermin, and then pulverize the hell out of it by any means necessary. This concept is actually a good thing if you’re a casual player – you just want to go in and out right away after raiding the planet. Along the way, you will pickup ores and other materials to further upgrade your weapons and gears – that is the RPG side of the game.
In the graphics department, the game has great lighting effects and good design on the hostilities you face in various planets. We like that the content loads fairly fast. We like how the controls are very smooth, making it easy to maneuver around, especially with the gamepad. The combat is impactful and gives some sense of satisfaction when killing the boss. The sounds, however, could use some more umph to accentuate the action. Killsquad is designed to be a cooperative team approach and that is where this game really shines. As expected with an Early Access build, there isn’t a whole lot of customization you can do here or content for that matter. But it’s a great start in the right direction for developer Novarama. The developer seems to be receptive to the feedback from players’ suggestions. They have finally added option to alter the default keybinds and ability to chat. So far, the game has taken the best of ARPG’s has to offer and wrapped it into an engaging raid experience.