Fuzz Force Spook Squad is available on PC. A copy of the game was provided for Gideon’s Gaming by the developer, for the purpose of review.
You can find a video version of this review here! Fuzz Force: Spook Squad Review (Rogue-lite Dice-builder) – YouTube
Fuzz Force Spook Squad is a rogue-lite dice-building game about doing a little ghost-busting, and I gotta say. Busting makes me feel good! Deck builders are pretty common these days, though that’s not a complaint. I absorb card games like Google absorbs failed ideas.
Dice builders are a bit rarer and for good reason. Cards tend to have static values. While dice are obviously more random and much more difficult to implement in a way that makes for a fun, unique, and interesting dice-building game.
Fuzz Force Spook Squad takes the concept to task in a way that’s amazingly simple to pick up, and fiendishly deep under the surface. It plays much like a board game. That should be no surprise since there’s a print and play version on the developer’s website.
The game is not a simple digital clone of the developer’s tabletop concept, however. It features an impressive degree of polish and attention I rarely see within the genre.
Fuzz Force Spook Squad is aimed at more casual players of the genre. For that reason, I almost didn’t review it. I’m the opposite of a casual player. I play most games on harder difficulties and shallow games don’t hold my attention.
I went with my gut though, which usually just leads me to a night of bad gas and a toilet full of regret. So I opted to review it anyway, and I’m very glad I did. Fuzz Force Spook Squad succeeds as a casual entry point for the genre because it’s insanely simple to pick up and understand without being shallow. My own inelegant babbling is going to make it seem more complicated than it is.
Like a D6
You pick a character and explore a game board while battling ghosts in turn-based combat. Your character’s weapon has three main dice slots for attack, shield, and charge. Each character also has a stat in each category for a second dice that always rolls the number equal to the stat.
At the basic level, you choose what action to perform and roll the dice. Attacks to deal damage, shields to defend yourself, and charge to regain battery power. Anyone can pick up the game and grasp its simplicity in under ten minutes.
The sheer ease of its accessibility does not mean that the overall game is lightweight. There’s a ton of strategy to think about thanks to crisp and clean interconnecting mechanics that are always clearly presented to the player, with handy tooltips if you forget anything. A solid interface can really get my tail wagging.
Your dice can be upgraded with bigger numbers. They can also have special effects on some of thier sides, such as granting extra shields, inflicting poison, and more.
You need to manage your battery level and health, neither of which refill after combat. It is important to learn when to use your weapon’s special attack as each one is different. Whatever you roll on a primary attack or shield dice, deducts that much energy from your battery. An empty battery makes your main dice worthless.
Using the charge action not only lets you regain some battery power but always adds your charge stat to your next roll. This can allow for a bigger attack, stronger shield, or more powerful charge.
You have to balance the scales between having dice with large numbers, mixed with your ability to recharge your battery while also factoring in any bonus’s a dice could roll. For example, you might have an attack dice that grants you the ability to dodge attacks on three of its sides, meaning you can get away with not using shields as often.
You also pick up ability modules, and you can have three equipped at a time. These can boost your stats or have abilities such as granting you a healing potion after a battle. Choosing which ones to equip has a dramatic impact on your strategy, especially when you factor in four playable characters and multiple weapons for each one with drastic differences between them.
The enemies you fight do a great job of making you think about your actions. I had one run going as Dotty where I felt unbeatable. I had an upgraded dodge chance on both her attack dice, this meant I was avoiding two or three attacks after most of my rolls.
That run ended because I fought an enemy that reversed the targets of status effects. That meant THEY got the dodge I rolled instead, and I hadn’t prepared myself for or adapted to it. My poodle went from handing out a pounding, to taking a licking instead.
You always have to factor in enemies’ special abilities. You might have a really good build going that focuses on using your charge stat to power up attacks, but if an enemy can drain your battery and smack you with it, you’re gonna have a “ruff” time. Each fight is a fantastic game of tug of war.
Each of the three stages has a different variety of enemies, mini-boss, and stage boss. While they are all well designed, the game could use a bit more variety, especially when it comes to boss fights since they are always the same. It’s a small cone of shame on an otherwise dashing title.
Deciding how to tackle the board is very important. Every ghost you defeat grants you a module or a ghost jar. You can spend ghost jars in shops for dice, modules, and upgrades. Each time you leave a floor, you get a boost to HP and Battery power based on how much you cleared. The more you opted to clear out, the better. You can choose to spend that extra HP and Battery power on your stats instead, which is another clever scale to balance. There’s a large risk versus reward factor when it comes to whether or not to clear a stage or move on with weaker stats and it’s a satisfying one.
Each run also bombards you with push your luck mechanics. Every fight offers you the ability to spend health or dice to roll two random effects, and not all of them are good. Yet, fighting a boss with a boon, such as status immunity can be a huge bonus.
Each chest you find offers you the same choice to gamble on what’s in it. This is important because it can land you powerful new dice. But you chance-taking damage, or worse, fighting a mimic.
Mimics are incredibly punishing since they only provide standard fight rewards, and you get nothing else from the chest. This is one of my few issues with the game. Mimics should certainly be a kick in the teeth, but they show up a bit too often. I rolled them all the time, and to some degree, choosing to take that chance feels necessary to get the best dice.
Either way, Fuzz Force Spook Squad is a game full of non-stop easily digestible, but important strategic decisions in battle and when exploring the board.
A Miniature Touch
Besides incredibly tight-knit game mechanics, Fuzz Force Spook Squad is full of little details that really showcase just how much care went into the game. The tabletop presentation is very detailed and captures the feeling of playing a board game. You can even see board game bits off to the side of some stages. One small neat touch is the fact that every enemy figure you defeat gets placed to the side of the board.
The enemies themselves are represented by plastic-looking miniatures but they each have an identifiable personality. The Ghost token floats ominously, while the wolf bounces around like an excited puppy. There is an impressive amount of life in each one, despite being presented as a game piece.
Your characters are fully animated and once again full of small details. Finn throws jars like a Pokeball to capture defeated ghosts, while Dotty pulls it from under her floppy ears and slaps it like a baseball.
The characters alongside the various environments give off a very cute whimsical aura. It’s difficult to be in a bad mood while playing Fuzz Force Spook Squad thanks to its warm presentation and upbeat music. It’s definitely more Scooby-Doo than Supernatural.
Most games would have a flat menu for swapping equipment, but Fuzz Force Spook Squad opens up panels and chambers of your weapon to slot in modules and dice. It’s just an incredible amount of detail for a small game that doesn’t matter much individually. But when they are taken all together, it makes for a very strong and polished aesthetic that I really appreciate.
Fuzz Force Spook Squad manages to be thrilling to play, strategically satisfying, and simple to learn. It’s a dice game all about randomness, but every step of the way it asks “How do you want to do this?”
A lot of similar games fall into a pit of simply being too random. Luck is the deciding factor in winning rather than the player agency. Fuzz Force Spook Squad somehow manages to slap down enough dice to make Laura Bailey blush and still make how you bend that luck to your favor the deciding factor.
Luck can never be truly removed from the equation. But you are presented with so much choice that failure is rarely ever from dice rolls alone. Everything is in your hands from which character and what weapon, to how to handle each and every aspect of the game. How much of the board do you clear? How many fights can you take on? Do you take what’s in the chest or roll for something better? Do you roll for discounts in the shop or not? How do you spend your ghost jars? What modules and dice do you take?
The mimics show up too often, and the enemy variety will certainly wear thin sooner rather than later. But it is not to the degree that will make you want to put it down before clearing the game with every character and weapon. That is a great many hours of playtime for the price.
Dice are a powerfully addictive mechanic when done well, and Fuzz Force Spook Squad is definitely the pick of the litter. The sheer elegance of its gameplay is only matched by its polish and attention to detail. It’s no surprise that I’m going to hound you to pick it up. If we get enough paws to hit play, maybe we will see a full-fledged board game someday.
You might also enjoy my review of another dice builder. Circadian Dice.
- Elegant but deep dice mechanics are easy to pick up, but hard to put down
- Four characters with multiple weapons for a variety of playstyles
- Charming presentation and upbeat music makes you feel good when playing it
- Fantastic attention to detail with animations, menus, and atmosphere
- It is a game about wits and wagers and does both really well
- Well-designed enemies really make you think
- Mimics show up often enough to be frustrating rather than punishing
- Enemy variety is on the thinner side, especially with bosses