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Squad Busters review – “Fast-paced and fun in the Supercell tradition”

  • Squad Busters, Supercell’s first game in over five years to hit global launch, is out now!
  • But what did we think? Take a look at our review right here
  • Does it live up to the hype, and is it worth your time?

Well, it’s finally here, the one, the only, Squad Busters!

Yes, after months of waiting, opinion pieces on what this tells us about Supercell and their expectations for the game, it’s finally out. But, and here’s the potentially one-billion-dollar question for both us and Supercell, is it any good?

Well, that’s a complicated question, and it requires a complicated answer. You may be wondering why it took us a day or so to get this review to you, and that’s because we wanted to give a proper answer. Is Squad Busters worth your time? Absolutely. Is it worth your money? Well, that very much depends.

But enough of the preamble, we all know what we’re here for, so let’s jump into the first Supercell game to hit global launch in more than half a decade with Squad Busters.

Squad Busters Gameplay

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Overview

Squad Busters’ big selling point is that it’s a huge crossover, featuring characters big and small from across Supercell’s games. That includes those such as the Barbarian from Clash of Clans, Colt from Brawl Stars and, naturally, the Goblin. Because what game would be complete without a goblin?

Your goal in Squad Busters is to duke it out with other players in matches where you collect gems and ‘bust’ enemy squads to be either the last team standing or (usually) the highest-scoring player.



To do so you need to collect gold to open chests, finding more characters until they merge to form a stronger version of themselves. We’ll go into it in more detail below, but essentially it’s like a MOBA mixed with an RTS mixed with a merge game.

The gameplay

How to describe Squad Busters? Well, I always felt somewhat iffy about the typical “MOBA RTS” description I gave in my previous articles. But at the same time, that’s as descriptive as you can get while also adding in ‘battle royale’; Squad Busters really is a mix of many different genres. A typical scene in Squad Busters

First off, the basics. You control a single character to begin with, moving around the map, killing enemies and exploiting resources (such as chopping down trees) to get gold. You use gold to open chests and pick new characters, or duplicates of existing characters in your squad. 

When you have enough characters, they merge to form a more powerful version of themselves. You’ll need certain characters for certain tasks (Greg, for example, is used to chop down trees) and you’ll have to contend with the overall task of acquiring Gems to win the match and fighting off other players to win.



So yes, it’s basically a super-combo of various mechanics. You don’t have direct control over your characters in combat, you simply park them up and watch them hack away, shoot or chop at each other and resources. You collect power-ups in order to use bonuses like bombs, healing or Turbo to rush around.

It all feels very eclectic, but it does work well together. You’re always anticipating your next character and the power it’ll give you, you’re always rushing to find and battle more enemies, and strategy can often give way to the headlong rush for the finish line.

Graphics

The plaza in Squad Busters

In terms of visuals, Squad Busters is perfectly readable on a smaller screen. Admittedly unless you’re focusing quite closely, your squad will tend to blur together as a cluster of models, but you can at least read quite well just which ones have evolved and which haven’t – facts which are vital for when you need to pick your battles against enemies and other players.

Ultimately they can be summed up as pleasing, and very much what you’d come to expect from Supercell, who tends to shine in terms of design. It’s difficult to unify this many contrasting models and characters, but Supercell has done an admirable job, and all the characters feel like they fit naturally together.

Sound

Character selection in Squad Busters

One of my few complaints, and a good example of why we put off this review until a day after launch, was sound. Initially, on launch, the sound in matches was lacking, but this seems to have been fixed quite quickly. Now instead of ominous silence, there are plenty of cartoonish crashes, wallops and slashes; all coupled with a pretty upbeat if panic-inducing musical score to signal the near-end of a match.

If you’re not a fan of repetitive announcers then the Squad Busters voice-over is probably going to get on your nerves very quickly. Not only that but unlocking a new character has the odd decision to voice-mix the announcer’s lines, hence why you get reads like “CLASSIC! EL PRIMO!” in a strange case of auditory whiplash.

What I liked

If there’s one thing you can say about Supercell, is that if you put down the preconception of what mobile is like (which you sort of have to do if you write about it) then their games are pretty much universally inoffensive and enjoyable. I’d hesitate to call them the Nintendo of mobile, but they’ve definitely got the cartoonish aesthetic and simple but refined gameplay part down.

Squad Busters does everything right to be a good mobile game. It’s simple to figure out, even if you ignore the tutorials, it’s colourful and easy to read, and it offers the simple pleasure of numbers and power increasing. The graphics are pleasing, as is the sound, and overall it feels like there’s an equal amount of skill, luck and progression that goes into your victories.

Squad Busters game modifiers

What I didn’t like

Put it this way, if you don’t like Supercell’s style then this likely won’t sway you. Once the initial veneer wears off, there are some frustrations that start to show. For one, it can often feel as if you have little control over your tactics, as you essentially have to halt and wait for your squad to off enemies, which brings the usually frenetic attempt to gather resources grinding to a halt. Squad Busters Greg

Add onto that Greg, my nemesis. Greg is essentially required to get reliable access to gold from the abundant trees, which only he can chop down. This means getting Greg early on, or worse not getting him at all, can be the difference between victory and defeat when you can effectively steamroll other players with your abundance of chest-borne Barbarians.

Conclusion

Squad Busters Finish Screen

Coming out fully formed, Squad Busters really does feel like it’s worth the wait. But it’s not exactly a radical reinvention of the Supercell formula that’s sure to bring in even mobile-sceptic players. Yet if you’re hungering for a new, faster-paced take on Supercell’s well-known lineup of mascots, and want something that hits the sweet spot of strategy and mindless fun, Squad Busters more than delivers.

Squad Busters icon

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