The Puzzle Is In The Details In Deus Ex GO

Mobile and tablet spin off games often go horribly, horribly wrong, but Square Enix seem to have cracked how best to adapt their treasured franchises for the touchscreen. Hitman Go’s success and critical acclaim was soon followed by Lara Croft Go, and this is, in turn, being followed by Deus Ex Go, to tie in with the upcoming release of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

As with the previous Go titles, it strips back the main series’ gameplay and mechanics down to their very essence, before melding them with a turn-based puzzle format that is common to all three of these games. You’re given a character piece and have to swipe on the screen to shift from one node to the next, avoiding or countering enemies and obstacles on your way to an end objective.

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The magic comes from distilling the source material down to its essentials, though, from the art style to the characters and various abilities. Adam Jensen is just as much as badass in Deus Ex Go as we know him to be from Human Revolution and Mankind Divided. He’s an augmented human being with tons of special abilities at his disposal, from grandiose takedown moves to invisibility and expert hacking. It’s no different here, and over the course of the game, you’ll gain three particular augmentations.

Invisibility is pretty self explanatory, giving you a couple of turns in which to pass through an enemy’s line of sight undetected, and it’s something of an essential tool in some of the early levels that I played. The EMP blast will take out any electronics or enemies within its radius, for a more brute force approach, while remote hacking will let you turn enemy turrets and robots to your side.

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However, there’s another layer to the hacking – quite literally – which is focussed more on manipulating the level around you. Where you move along the paths between nodes with Jensen’s character piece, accessing computer terminals reveals that there’s a second, potentially very different web of connections underneath. Tracing a route from the computer to an object in an environment lets you activate it, so that you might close an open hatch in the floor that’s blocking your path. With multiple obstacles to trigger, your paths from different computers to their targets cannot cross, forcing you to optimise your routes. It’s a very nicely thought out and implemented addition to the game.

You’ll also be able to play around with the level design for yourself, as Deus Ex Go will have a level editor added a little after launch. One of the things that the team behind these games realised was that, while they were adding more content when they could, it simply couldn’t keep up with the voracious demands of the players, who would finish a new level pack in a day and move on again. With public level editing tools, Deus Ex Go never has to end, even if Square Enix Montreal’s own additions remain relatively sporadic.

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Nothing is going to be left off the table for budding level designers, with the natural ability to set out your puzzle, pick which augmentations will appear, and so on. Beyond that, you can customise the look and feel of the level and its dressing, if you so wish. It’s common sense that, before you can publish the level, you’ll have to be able to complete it, just to show that it’s possible, before letting the world do their damnedest to complete it quicker than you and top the leaderboards.

On the one hand, Deus Ex Go is more of the same, but when its predecessors were so well received and the developers have perfected the art of distilling and adapting a game series’ core idea, that’s hardly a bad thing.

The real question is, what Square Enix IP will they get their hands on next?

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3 Comments

  1. Sounds good! Lara Croft Go felt different enough to Hitman and Deus Ex has a slightly different angle too (hah!), I like how the format evolves with each theme. Level editing sounds great, though I imagine most will end up easy or mega-bastard hard. I reckon Squenix will go for Final Fantasy Go at some point, let’s hope they don’t wear the idea thin though.

  2. Loved Hitman Go and I’ve just started Lara Croft Go, which is even better! Let’s hope they can make it 3 for 3!

  3. So the audience aim for by this franchise now are mobile gamers? Well done!

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