Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space
Developer: Dexter Team Games
Publisher: Flynn’s Arcade
Genre(s): Action, Puzzle, Education, Advenure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also availble on PC and Mac)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 03/03/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space is a point-and-click adventure following Dexter on his quest to uncover the mysteries of the galaxy, and to get enough money to buy a couple of tacos along the way. Is this space escapade out of this world? Or was it nothing special? Find out in this Rapid Review.
To begin my adventure, I was introduced to Dexter and his friends. I learned about my surroundings and the situation in the solar system. The story takes place as a “flashback” where Dexter details his previous experiences. Using this plot device worked incredibly. The developers explained anything I needed to know about the game.
The story had many great elements. I enjoyed learning how the different planets evolved, meeting various characters in the world, and seeing distinct set pieces. However, I was never truly captivated by it. Many story elements were required to proceed, even some which I did not think were necessary. To progress in the game, I needed to read almost every available thing. Though reading is a large portion of most point-and-click adventures, I typically skip reading some seemingly menial dialogue options. However, here many mention vital information that was not related to the initial topic. For example, one character reveals their desire for a snack food after being questioned about their interest in searching for a robot, something I already knew. I enjoyed the narrative especially at the beginning though I remained interested in the storyline all throughout. However, I did dislike how the developers mandated reading background.
Though some of the puzzles required excess dialogue, Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space contained some of the most interesting puzzles I have ever seen in a point-and-click adventure. The game immediately impressed me in Episode 0, by including a puzzle where I needed to reuse boards I had just placed down to walk across a bridge. Though to more established point-and-click adventure fans this may not be anything special, it revolutionized how I saw the puzzles in the game, as it showcased the importance of looking at what I could interact with, regardless of my initial impression.
This excitement with puzzle design carried over throughout nearly every puzzle. The way each puzzle was presented and the clues that the various characters gave made each one not only approachable but rewarding to complete. If I read the required text and paid attention to my surroundings, I would have more than enough information to complete each task. This was amplified by the dialogue highlighting inventory items or expressly mentioning when an area or object was not required yet. Though it may seem disorienting, it ended up making my experience with the game a lot more fun. The game did not feature the most challenging puzzles, but they were not easy either. I needed to be alert all throughout. Although there were a few puzzles with minuscule indicators or subtle hints, each puzzle struck an excellent balance of simplicity and challenge.
Otherworldly World Building
To complete the puzzles, I adventured through multiple planets and closely explored each. The staging in Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space made a lot of sense. None of the objects were impractically placed and the items required to complete the puzzles were self-explanatory. I never felt as though a solution to a puzzle was outside my reach, as the items are practical and interacting with certain elements of the world describes their potential use. I could even analyze my surroundings and Dexter would explain pertinent information and the developers managed to do this while keeping the space theme intact. The puzzles were intriguing, engaging, and maintained excellent theming.
Though the world-building was a lot of fun, Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space required a lot of travel. To solve the puzzles, I watched my character slowly walk from location to location. Many of the chapters were not particularly extensive, so it was not a large problem. However, it was a bit time-consuming, especially in Chapter 3. The developers included a map like the one used in Unforeseen Incidents that allowed me to teleport through areas. However, the locations on the map were not the ones I was travelling to and from most frequently, so the map did not end up saving as much time as I would have liked. I wanted more precise teleporting that would bring me to any location, especially because the feature is already in the game.
Looking Through a Telescope
Despite the long travel times, the developers included a lovely display for how long each adventure will approximately take, telegraphing how much time I should put aside for each journey. I thought this was a great addition, as it helped me know the scope of the level as well as what I would be experiencing inside it. The excellent visual indicators did not stop there though. Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space features stunning visuals. The environments are wonderfully themed, interactable objects stick out, and characters are charming and distinct.
There were a few tiny interactable objects that I missed, but returning to the area, the developer indicated these objects with the reflection of the sun. When there was a separate clue to lead me to the area, I had no issues finding the objects, albeit later in my journey. However, on one occasion, I could not find the object or any character to point me in that direction. This confused me for a long time, as I had no idea where the object would be. It ended up randomly being on the ground. This confusion only happened a couple of times, but it was frustrating when it did happen. It was even more frustrating because the object was small and did not stand out much.
Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space also includes voice lines and an atmospheric soundtrack. Both worked excellently. The voice lines are enjoyable to listen to, have personality, and it made me spend less time reading. The mouths of the character designs were not synced up with the words, but that did not bother me much. The background music was solid as well. The game featured many lovely sounds.
Conclusion: Pluto is Not a Planet
I had a lot of fun with Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space. I got to experience the vast locales, meet loveable characters, and solve interesting and immersive puzzles. There were some tedious elements both with puzzle solving and exploration, but I had a great time figuring out how the puzzle designs worked and enjoyed most of my time with the game. The title also took me a while to complete. Granted, I am relatively inexperienced at point-and-click adventures, but the game offered me a lot of value. Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space is an excellent pickup for both veteran and amateur point-and-click adventure fans.
4 out of 5
You can purchase Dexter Stardust: Adventures in Outer Space on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.