Genre: RPG, Platformer, Cyberpunk
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 24/07/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Developer Dreadlocks brings a 2D open-world cyberpunk adventure to the Nintendo Switch but is it worth your time? Find out in this Rapid Review.
A Complex Story
Dex begins with you playing as the titular young woman, Dex. With assassins from a shadowy corporate company on your tail, you’ll first meet Raycast; a mysterious figure who will help you escape from the dangerous pursuers. What follows is a non-ashamedly cyberpunk story with hacking, corruption, implants and more. The story in Dex does require your attention to follow and it was hard picking up where I was after returning to the game after a couple of days. I must confess that by the end of the game, I was confused with the intricacies of the story but overall Dex’s dystopian narrative holds up pretty well.
It’s up to you on what missions you decide to play and you’ll find plenty of side quests alongside the main story. Although I focused on the main story, I did complete a few side missions such as reuniting weapons with its rightful owner or helping those in medical need by sharing some of my cash.
What most surprised me about Dex was that all dialogue is fully narrated. The voice acting on offer was superb and added a real authenticity to the detailed world. The portable nature of the Switch version meant that a lot of the time I was playing without sound but when I did turn to enable audio, the voice acting was a real highlight. Alongside the voice acting, the soundtrack sounded very good with its cyberpunk electronic beats and keys.
Wish You Were Here!
Dex is set in the open world of Harbor Prime and whilst exploring this world, it felt like the developers had read a guidebook on how to create a Cyberpunk environment. This is by no means a negative aspect with the rich world design on offer. There’s a real contrast of those who are suffering in a place like a junkyard compared to the luxurious high-rises. Across this world, you’ll find an array of individuals who’ll you encounter throughout the main campaign and optional side quests. It’s worth noting that the world design does feature mature areas but I’ll leave it to your imagination for you to realise what these could mean. The characters and environments are intricately designed with large amounts of 2D detail. You’ll discover both gorgeous neon-lit areas or dirty, forgotten industrial dockyards.
To move to the different areas you can either use a minimap or simply walk to your desired location. Whichever way you decide to travel, you’ll encounter many loading screens and although these aren’t overly long they did become a real nuisance as I was left to constantly stop and start.
Hack to Basics
As you progress through the game, the difficulty level increases thanks to a rise in enemy numbers and strength. To help you combat these stronger foes, different skills can be unlocked based on experience points. You can choose between multiple areas such as melee, ranged, hacking and more. Personally, I chose to focus on lockpicking and hacking, and urge you to do the same.
Towards the late game, the hacking challenges occur more often and become more challenging. These hacking sections operate on a shoot em up basis and is a surprising aspect to Dex. You’ll be controlling a top-down ship with different abilities, gathering data at different points and confronting the enemies. Due to the late game hacking difficulty, it’s certainly worth investing in hacking as you will find a real benefit.
Beat Em Up
Alongside the hacking and story, basic combat comes in to play. With classic hand-to-hand combat with melee and optional ranged weapons, you can build up a good arsenal. Combat is below average with hand-to-hand combat feeling distinctly slow and sluggish. What’s odd though is that most of the combat can be skipped simply by running straight through the enemy encounters. As someone who didn’t enjoy the combat, I often found myself performing a few stealth takedowns and then leaping over the enemies standing in my path. The stealth approach in Dex was fun and no matter the game, I’ll always enjoy sneaking around enemies before taking them down.
Overall, Dex offers an intricate, well-performed narrative with a detailed 2D world and a unique “shoot em up” hacking mechanic. Although the combat could be improved, the overall experience of Dex offers a great portable cyberpunk world.
Rapid Review Rating
You can purchase Dex for £17.99 on the Nintendo eShop