Sep 22, 2017 Last Updated 8:58 PM, Sep 22, 2017

Bomb Squad Academy Review

Published in Strategy
Read 822 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Systemic Games, a small independent Maryland-based game studio, hit Steam Greenlight with the puzzle-simulation game Bomb Squad Academy in late 2016 and after a successful campaign, readied the title for release. Systemic Games founder, Jean Simonet, is a seasoned developer who worked on such titles as Fallout 3 and Skyrim, and originally created Bomb Squad Academy, which was an entry in the 1GAM game jam.

With the theme of “30 Seconds,” the electronics enthusiast knew the concept was sure to blow up.

Bomb Squad Academy is exquisitely implemented, and Systemic took a great idea and created fourteen tutorials and fifty-five bombs of increasing difficulty. In the beginning, you spend your time understanding the basic electronics of the bomb. Here, you encounter switches, buttons, toggle knobs, and wires leading to timers and detonators. These are pretty straightforward, but as you move onto dealing with logic gates and capacitors, the boards quickly become more involved. The timers build suspense, which increases the intensity of solving the puzzles. At the end of the day, that’s what the title is: a puzzle thinly disguised with a neat theme. It’s not incredibly realistic, though. For starters, you don’t actually die from the bombs, which could be a relief or a disappointment, depending on how your Monday is going. Systemic Games is a team that knows its craft and is comfortable balancing realistic simulation with enjoyable puzzles; in a comment-section feud with an angry fan who complained about the lack of neutral wires to complete circuits, Systemic Games responded that while logic gates typically require their individual power source, they decided to leave those out so the puzzles would be more manageable.

It’s clear from the setup distribution of the components across the academy sections and the layout of each puzzle, which includes the bomb package underneath, that significant time and attention was given to each level. One of my favorite things to see is the detail of the thought. The small details excite me, like when you cut a wire and it doesn’t sever at a general point but at the exact point you aimed your cursor, which was incredibly satisfying.

As you progress, the timers shorten, the boards complicate.

While you may fail once, there’s enough time that you get through each explosive without too much frustration. Of course, there’s a detonation, but each time it elicits more of a face palm from your own actions than from poor game mechanics, a rare find in the genre. There’s also little in the way of consequence – you have an unlimited amount of retries, though I would suggest players fail a couple of tries at least, if only to read the fail text which is quite amusing at times.

8

The Verdict

Bomb Squad Academy is more fun than it is challenging. Negative feedback, other than the bomb blowing up (of course), is thin, but you get an unlimited amount of tries and can even review what you got wrong before restarting the puzzle. As such, very few will take you more than one try. This is a fantastic puzzler with a playtime nearing two hours and which hits Steam at $6.99: it’s cheaper, and more entertaining, than catching a flick.

Joel Hendershott

You merely adopted gaming. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see 64 bits until I was already a man". I've been gaming since the early days, playing everything from commodores and Atari to Current Gen. I'm a flip-flopper of the worst kind, constantly jumping back and forth between consoles and PC. I can play most any games, but RPG's, racing games are my jam. I also enjoy the simulator games far more than any one man should. One day I decided to not just play larger than life characters but attempt to be one myself and jumped into training for Strongman and powerlifting. Now the biggest struggle in my life is do I spend more time on Games or Gains?

Related items

  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 Review

    With Divinity: Original Sin 2, Larian Studios creates a title that brings together the best aspects of table-top and classic roleplaying games. The graphics, along with the score and voice acting, are painstakingly detailed and are truly awe-inspiring. Every decision you make, from character creation to dialogue, will affect your experience, giving you a slightly different playthrough every time. This is not a game for the casual player, however. The sheer size of the game and the difficulty of some battles will require dozens of hours and have you loading quicksaves time and again. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is primed to be on many all-time favorites lists; few, if any, have succeeded to this degree.

  • Another Lost Phone: Laura's Story Review

    Another Lost Phone is truly a masterpiece in its kind, setting a bar in both creativity and meaning that will be hard for future installments in the genre to match. In addition to being one of the most innovative vehicles for a puzzle-based story to be released in a long time, the story is immensely engaging from the moment you unlock the phone. Accidental Queens have now issued a challenge to game designers everywhere: use your art to tell stories that need to be told.

  • Professional Offroad Transport Simulator Releases December 6

    Fat Dog Games, a Polish independent game publisher, has announced the premiere of a popular transporter-type game, Professional Offroad Transport Simulator, produced by Dev4play. The game will be out on Steam, December 6.

More in this category: Algotica - Iteration 1 Review »

Latest Shows

The Search Inter…

Embark on a journey of discovery and inspiration in The Search - a story-driven puzzle-adventure set in a mysterious world where art comes to life! In an unknown world, you'll sear...

Children of the …

The OPN interview with Jason Kim, Cardboard Utopia. Children of Zodiarcs is a story-driven, tactical RPG set in the fantasy realm of Lumus; a world divided by affluence and poverty...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Total War: WARHA…

Sequel to the award-winning Total War: WARHAMMER, Total War: WARHAMMER II introduces a breathtaking ...

FIFA 18

Score incredible goals in FIFA 18 as new movement and finishing animations unlock more fluid strikin...

Blood Bowl 2 - L…

Blood Bowl is a brilliant iteration of a quality, fully-realized tabletop title with tons of replayability. Expensive? Yes. Niche? For sure; some people will be like “WTF? Fantasy ...

XCOM 2: War of t…

War of the Chosen adds so favorably to the original XCOM 2 experience that fans should consider it near-perfect as well as essential. Although some features in XCOM 2: War of the C...

Life is Strange:…

Life is Strange: Before the Storm plays like a cutscene with a point-and-click element that is a joy; no button combinations or consulting a grainy minimap: Daedalus himself design...

Neofeud Review

Neofeud's futuristic, Bladerunner-like world, its thoughtful dialogue that's entirely voice acted, and its fresh point-and-click puzzles make it a title worth trying — as long as y...