Kratzen
Proudly presents…

Bomb Squad Academy” Review

with ♥ from Froge
Synopsis

Release date: .
Developers: Systemic Games
Recommended age: Everyone.
License: Copywrong’d.
Download: https://systemic-games.itch.io/bomb-squad-academy

Verdict: 3/5 stars. It’s a rare puzzle game that is exciting to play. That alone is worth looking at it for.

Introduction

Content warning for sudden flashing lights and ridiculously loud noises. Those who cannot stand these things may turn their speakers down without losing any gameplay. The rest of us should go to Hell, as in “we should be going to Hell after we get a heart attack for the fifth time”.

Bomb Squad Academy is a big boy’s game for smart people like me, which is why it was over faster than it took me to eat a bag of salted sweet peas. You play as the disembodied cursor who has to use applied knowledge of electric engineering in order to defuse a bomb, even though the game tells EE students, standing for “Eels Everywhere”, to sit down and take a breather before they blow up. And then you blow up for flipping the wrong switch.

Seeing as I’m not an engineer, except for on my resumé when I’m a “Front – End Static User Experience Design and Engineering Dev – op” to hope I get rejected enough times so my mom will let me join clown college, I don’t care too much about the mumbo – jumbo the developers are selling about such things as “current being water” or “electronic boards function”. If the developers cannot appreciate the beauty of the hand – cranked PC powered by a water wheel and twenty billion gears, then how can I trust them to describe something as complex as sounding a buzzer?

They Call Me Cuban Pete

One of the cardinal rules of reviewing games is that the more the critic makes fun of the game, the more they like it, unless they’re making fun of it for being an artistic miscarriage. In reality, I’m doing this to fill up the word count, as it’s one of those basic experiences which could have fit into a 5MB browser game instead of a desktop game twenty – one times that. Indeed, one could recreate this game using pen and paper, paying somebody to blow an airhorn into your ear when you get the wrong answer. That’s how Little Louis lost his hearing, actually.

“Who’s Little Louis?” Oh, you ignorant little moos

I could go on and describe the fundamentals of game design, but then it would be pedantic things like “level design is an important part of games”. And here I thought we should create levels completely devoid of any meaningful content, but the success of Gone Home proved otherwise. In all seriousness, and to avoid turning into an episode of Extra Credits, I have to give my full respect to the developers for setting out to create a puzzle game that’s actually unique in this day and age, where the collective obsession with Portal made us all think no good idea could ever exist again. That might be true at Valve, but not for these guys. Maybe not on Kratzen, seeing as I’ve trash – talked four different entities in one paragraph.

“What’s Extra Credits?” Alright, you know that guy in your college who takes one course in game theory and thinks he’s this psychologically manipulative mastermind who points out every flaw in the human condition despite being common knowledge to everyone over twenty – five? He bought a voice changer and started a YouTube channel. Yes, James, hidden areas do encourage exploration. Thank you for your brilliant insight.

The game is a bit buggy. I got stuck on two tutorials because the text boxes didn’t appear, meaning I had to exit in – and – out. The “options” and “credits” buttons on the main menu brought up a menu saying they weren’t implemented yet. Would it be so hard to change one flag and remove the options before release? And what’s with Linux and buggy Unity games? Is the most stable operating system in the world having troubles with an engine made from dried mud and a few wet pebbles? Alright, I realise OpenBSD is more stable, but I don’t consider it an operating system more than I do a twenty – year satanic ritual.

That would be a good game right there: try to install BSD. I kid, of course; nobody knows how to install BSD, which is why it’s one of the Millennium Problems.

Conclusion

The actual puzzles are a bit like popcorn chicken, in that though they can be solved on the first try with careful deduction, they can just as easily be analysed through the brute – force of flipping all the switches over and over until you get the result that doesn’t end your miserable life. Among other reasons, this is why I no longer go to KFC.

It’s true that they are well – designed, having graphics with a level of polish — completely unnecessary polish — that is rare for any indie game, though all too short. Perhaps I could have done better and bought the the full game instead of the demo? No, of course not; that would be supporting the cancer that is Steam and the copyright regime which the developer so selfishly enforces through explicitly setting their license to “all rights reserved”. But what do you expect from someone who worked for Bethesda, the gangrene of the industry? You were supposed to destroy the evil - not spread it!

As the flame that burns brightest lights the biggest house fire, so too does it burn out faster, unless you’re next to the neighbours, then it’s all up in smoke. This game cost me fifteen minutes of my life, a very enjoyable fifteen minutes, though you know what they say about puzzle games. Play them once, and they’re only good for cheating in mystery tournaments. Play them twice, and you might have autism.

I would like to thank the developers for making a game that encouraged me to never get into either explosives or electronic engineering. In the first place I would die. In the second place, it would make my water wheels obsolete. Nvidia users will never have to worry about housefires thanks to revolutionary advances in water – cooling technology, which is to dump buckets of water on the thing. AMD users can also take the opportunity to go boating in their new computer, until they crash due to not having drivers.