REVIEW: Bomb Squad Academy

I guess you didn’t need that arm after all

Steam: Released
Type: Single-player
Genre: Puzzle Simulation
Developer: Systemic Games
Publisher: Systemic Games
Release Date: 28 Mar, 2017

At Bomb Squad Academy, learn how to defuse bombs as you go level by level. Your instructor being very positive and eager to teach you the works of all the different concepts separated by eight different chapters. You’ll be graduating in no time.

With the goal for players to understand how to defuse bombs, at least in-game, is very important that you nail a tutorial or that it can be understood by most of the players. Sometimes this will come before and hope that it can be remembered throughout the game or be optional if the player does not want to play or read through it. Bomb Squad Academy takes a different approach. The first thing you do in a chapter is tutorial levels in a school like way. This works well with how it was tackled. You are immediately introduced to this happy teacher showing you the ropes. Each on a tutorial circuit board, you are able to click, turn, or cut with no way to fail as it is not attached to a bomb. It doesn’t try Backing off at the right time so you can prove that you learned that certain concept. I never thought there was too much tutorial bombs in a row and understood everything after. There was one that I did have to go back and redo, but it was due to a simple misunderstanding of a component.

As you pass the tutorials, the real thing is presented to you. Each level starts with the cheery teacher encouraging you before the bomb is revealed. The music changes to a tense theme as you try to complete a bomb before the timer goes out. All you have to do is either take away the power, or deactivate it by lighting up the disarming areas. The ticking of the timer staying in the back of your mind as you constantly look over as you try to deactivate it. Having to look over where the power will go and directing it’s path with switches and dials. This is of course complicated by other components to trick you up such as wires directing power to other areas or AND and OR gates standing in your way. As each bomb uses logic and each board is constructed carefully, it does not seem like it was unfair. Pushing and cutting at random is not the way to go, especially when dealing with the be complicated ones.

You are mostly left alone with these bombs with the occasional notes to offer subtle hints such as “Closed Loop” or to give some humor. Let the timer go out and you are dead. Redirect the power to the detonate area and you are dead. There is not any consequences as you do get to start over, but there is a loud bang and a white light to symbolize an explosion. Your instructor also steps in with a dark but witty sayings after, “Too bad, you killed yourself, and everyone”, bring the teaching setting further. The upside is that you do get a chance to see how you messed it up. Letting you not make the mistake again and plan for what you will do next.

What is interesting is how there are multiple designs for bombs. Simple ones looks like it’s on a wrapped and duct tapped item while others have more of a outwards appearance of cylinders being together. Whether it be two, a few stuck together, or what suspiciously looks like a dynamite bomb. As the game acts like it is a school, it is cool to see that it brings in different designs to prepare the student to see when they do a real bomb.

The game will generally take at least over an hour to complete as it is easy most of the time. But the developer has said there are more things to come. More components are being thought up to put into the game. A circuit board editor is going to be worked on. Letting the players make workshop bombs and letting the developer make more boards faster. A random generator is also being thought up and trying to see if the feeling of a carefully constructed game can stay true. This is very encouraging to see how the developer wants to try and tackle hard goals and gives a lot of potential to Bomb Squad Academy.

Overall

+ Great way to show players how each component works with separating tutorials
+ The school vibe is handled well and persists throughout
+ The logic behind each is understandable to the player no matter how hard

– Can be too short for some to consider

Bomb Squad Academy is about defusing bombs by going through a logic puzzle. The way it keeps this learning area is great and works well in teaching the player. Giving a sense of urgency as each bomb has a timer ticking down as you try to deactivate it. However as the content can be finished in one to two hours, this can turn people away despite how polished and great this game is. There is a lot of potential for more content to be added to an already great game. It may even teach you something about electronics no matter how simplified it presents this. You can download the demo here if you want to try it out before deciding to buy as well.

Written by
RipWitch
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