I knew Killsquad is my kind of game the second I saw it. I could tell just by how passionate its developers are that it’s going to be one of the best experiences of Gamescom 2019. I wasn’t wrong.

Killsquad is an isometric co-op shooter by Catalan indie developer Novarama. You and your friends play four bounty hunters and work together to complete contracts. Contracts are 30-minute missions with procedurally-generated maps, enemies, and objectives.

Because they are procedurally-generated, contracts will adapt to the number of players in your party. If you’re a group of four people, you can expect more high-level enemies and harsher conditions than you would’ve encountered if you were only one person playing.

It was essential to Novarama that each contract can be completed in 30 minutes or less. One of the studio’s guiding principles was that players should be able to progress in the game even if you don’t have a lot of time on their hands.

Killsquad Zero

Right now, there are four different characters to play: Troy the Gunslinger, a DPS that excels in neutralizing threats from afar, and the one we chose to play as at Gamescom 2019; Kosmo the Revenant, who takes the role of the mask-wearing, hammer-wielding tank; Cass the Warrior Nun, a high-damage, high-mobility assassin with little health; and Zero the Sawbones, a medical robot that heals its teammates and stuns its enemies.

Novarama is planning on adding a bunch more characters in the future, but for now, these four create a balanced team, complement each other and should fit any play style. Each role requires different expertise, and missions are built in such a way that encourages players to combine the different characters, though you can still have a team of all Zeroes if you want.

In some ways, Killsquad is very similar to MOBA titles. The isometric point of view, the slick animations, and colorful attacks are a clear reference to one of the game’s inspirations – Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. But you can also see the genre’s influence in the gameplay. Hero abilities all have cooldown periods and are mapped to the same keys as in a typical MOBA game. You also level up mid-mission and can improve your existing skills and even purchase new ones for the duration of the contract.

Killsquad co-op

We chose to play as Troy because he is the “entry character.” The developers compare him to the Demon Hunter in Diablo 3, and after playing him, I can see why. He is nimble and has a balanced set of abilities that focus on both damage and crowd control. I especially enjoyed combining Gravity Shot, a bullet that creates a miniature black hole that sucks all nearby enemies into one clump, and Strong Shot to fire an energy wave through them.

I was surprised at how fun the game can be even when playing alone. Combining the different abilities, molding your character to fit the type of enemies you face, exploring the map to find hidden caches felt rewarding. Of course, playing with other people is where the game shines, but it looks like going into a short contract by yourself won’t be a drag.

I can see myself returning to Killsquad quite often for a quick session or two with a friend or two. The action is there right from the start, and you always make progress, even if you, like me, die to a level’s final boss.

Killsquad is available on Steam Early Access since July 16, so you can already play it if you’re into games like Diablo 3 or other action RPG looters that emphasize the action part.

You should also know that Novarama is planning on adding a new game mode called Colosseum of the Unseen. In this mode, you’ll battle waves of monsters in a huge arena. There will be special prizes that are exclusive to this new mode, which is an excellent reason to at least try it.

Killsquad will officially launch on Steam in 2020, and a console version will follow on a later date. The devs did mention they are working on a way for players to transfer their account and characters between platforms, so you’ll the freedom to choose where you want to play.

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