Square Enix hits the mobile space again with Deus Ex Go, the next in its swiping puzzle series. Accompanying the release of Deus Ex Mankind Divided, the game puts you in a standalone story as the badass Adam Jensen, and challenges you to stealth and strike your way through over 50 levels of high tech infiltration. With a promise of new puzzles each week and content that unlocks in the main game, is it worth spending a bit of coin on?
The Go series so far has reworked Hitman and Tomb Raider into puzzle-lite form, and brought us a unique perspective on the original franchises. Deus Ex Go continues this trend by picking the core experience from the latest game, and distills it into bite sized chunks that are perfect for playing on the go. By swiping or tapping on the screen you move your mini-Jensen from point to point, with the aim simply being to get from the entrance to the exit. Whether you choose to stealth from beginning to end, or straight up attack the guards, is up to you in the beginning – much like its big brother console and PC outing – but rapidly loses the options and forces you into specific solutions whether you like it or not. This isn’t a bad thing as the individual levels themselves serve to alternate between stealth, assault and even hacking as your journey progresses.
Jensen’s motivation in Deus Ex Go is to investigate the apparent hostage taking of billionaire Sasha Novak. Bringing in the characters of Jim Miller and Alex Vega from the main game are a nice touch to tell two opposing viewpoints throughout, but the real focus is on uncovering why someone would want Novak dead. Starting at his mansion, then sneaking and fighting into security firm Ironflank’s sprawling HQ, the levels are all designed to gradually introduce the elements needed to overcome multiple obstacles and enemies. From the off you’re taught that Jensen can move one space at a time, and that enemies who see him in line of sight will immediately cover themselves in dermal armour and charge. To balance this you’ve a cloaking field good for one move that lets you go undetected and get the drop on them. Just as you’re getting the hang of this, hacking-lite makes an appearance and has you re-routing power lines, or taking over turrets. The complexity of the puzzles builds nicely, and arguably these are the toughest to appear in the Go series so far.
If things are too tough and you can’t figure the solution out, there’s the standard hint system that shows you one move at a time how to finish the level. Two are available from the start, and more can be purchased, and I strongly suggest saving the free ones until you’ve got past level 40 at least – beyond this point there are some real head scratchers to get to grips with. In the higher levels, new mechanics are introduced, though not necessarily explained, so it’s worth paying attention to what’s flashing at you on screen otherwise you’ll miss what you need to make it further on. It’s easily possible to get through the whole of Deus Ex Go without spending additional cash on the hint microtransactions, and I’d recommend that after buying the game (unless you really, really want to), don’t spend any more. The asking price is just about right for the game as it is. If you must have the answer to a puzzle and have used up the original hints, there’s a well known video sharing website that will have the solutions somewhere…
Beyond the Story mode there’s a weekly updated set of challenges that reward successful completion with Praxis kits for use in the main game. Finishing the story gives two kits, doing the weekly challenges gives up to two more, and they’ll help with Jensen’s augmentation progress in Mankind Divided. Big watch out though: they do NOT transfer to the PS4 version of the game. This is not mentioned in the app itself, which is a huge misstep by the devs. After spending a frustrating 30 mins trying to access my bonus Praxis, I ended up in a forum to get the answer. There is a note on the description of the game in the Google Play store, but it’s hidden beneath the fold. On the iTunes store I can’t find a mention of the lack of PS4 support at all. Whatever the reason for the bonuses being restricted to Xbox One and PC, it should be made much clearer, and disappointingly, it does impact on the motivation to keep playing the weekly challenges given that the Praxis are the reward.
For those familiar with the format of these titles, Deus Ex Go is a nice extension to the series, and offers a decent length mobile experience in the story and weekly challenges. There’s even a suggestion of additional content and game mechanics to come. The lack of linking to the PS4 version of the game, at the moment at least, is pretty much the only thing that lets it down. What you’ll be getting is a slick and interesting story coupled with the augmented world of Deus Ex and simple mechanics that hide tricky puzzles. It’s a hard game not to recommend, and whilst Adam Jensen might never have asked for this, it’s one I’m sure he’d enjoy.
An Android review copy of Deus Ex Go was provided by the Square Enix PR team, and the game is available now on Android and iOS for £3.99/$4.99.