Platforms iOS, Android (reviewed)
Developer Square Enix Montreal
Publisher Square Enix
Release Date August 18, 2016

Following on from the strong Lara Croft and Hitman entries in the Go series, Deus Ex Go takes the setting of Deus Ex and its protagonist Adam Jensen, using this as a springboard to create a pretty satisfying puzzle game. There’s a story of some kind running throughout Deus Ex Go, a first for the Go series, but to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention to it. I came to Deus Ex Go for the puzzles. And I was very satisfied with what I found.

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Deus Ex, it seems, is a natural fit to be turned into a puzzle game. Each level you face is laid out like a board of sorts. You’ve got to navigate Adam Jensen from beginning to end, travelling along lines that make up the various paths of the level, all while avoiding guards and other pitfalls and obstacles. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is very similar to the basic gameplay of any other Deus Ex game. Stealth mechanics and puzzle mechanics share a few commonalities, after all.

It’s an incredibly simple game to play. Simply tap where you want Adam Jensen to move and then watch the result. If you catch a guard’s attention, for example, he’ll deploy a Titan shield and start running at you. You need to either find ways to slip past guards or approach them from behind to take them out. Other obstacles include turrets, mechs and blocked paths, though these can usually be hacked at nearby terminals.

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Unlike a main series Deus Ex game, there’s only one solution to these puzzles, and it’s up to you to find and implement it. The game even goes so far as to reward you with “Mastermind” for each level you complete within a certain number of steps. Deus Ex Go’s puzzles aren’t massively challenging, for the most part, only really ramping up in difficulty towards the end of the 54 available levels.

It’s all about cause and effect. Studying the layout of the levels, the positioning of the various obstacles and knowing how each part will react. There can be some trial and error involved as you poke and prod the various mechanics, testing things out to see what moving Adam to a specific location will do. For the most part, however, Deus Ex Go does a fantastic job of arming you with the knowledge of how everything will react to your presence and movements.

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Every time the game introduces a new mechanic, enemy or obstacle, you’ll be given a level or two dedicated entirely to teaching you how this new challenge works. Not that it’s readily apparent that this is what’s happening – Deus Ex Go shrouds its “tutorials” really well, making it feel like you’re just playing another level rather than learning anything. It gives the entire game and all of its puzzles a very natural difficulty curve. Although I was aware that the game was getting harder and more complex, it never really felt like it.

This makes the game very satisfying to play. Every solution to every puzzle feels very intuitive. As the game progresses and the puzzles start to become more complicated, with solutions requiring a decent level of creativity, it can make you feel pretty damn smart for figuring it out. While early levels simply see you sneaking past or neutralising the guards, turrets and the like, later levels see you needing to lure enemies out of position, use them as cover from other enemies and even trapping them.

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Deus Ex Go’s biggest issue is that there just isn’t very much to it. There are 54 levels in the game that are ideal for short bursts of gameplay while on the move. But they don’t last very long. Unlike Hitman Go, which featured multiple objectives in each level for an enhanced challenge, all you need to do here is find the solution and get to the end. There are no extra challenges, no extra difficulty settings and no real reason to revisit the game at all. You can go back to earn Mastermind on each level, but that doesn’t change the puzzles or their solutions. Once you’re done, you’re done, and Deus Ex Go leaves you wanting more

You can go back to earn Mastermind on each level, but that doesn’t change the puzzles or their solutions, which is only worthwhile if you feel it’s worth going through all of that effort to unlock a single Praxis upgrade kit for Mankind Divided. Once you’re done, you’re done and Deus Ex Go leaves you wanting more without really being able to give you more. The story, as far as I could tell, isn’t really important to Mankind Divided and doesn’t really stand up too well on its own.

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The biggest slap in the face, however, are the microtransactions. Deus Ex Go offers the most bizarre and insulting microtransactions I can think of in a game, asking you to pay for solutions to the puzzles. You get two solutions for free and activating them highlights the path Adam needs to take to solve a level. Once you’ve run out you can pay for more, in fact for only $10 you can buy 25 solutions, ruining almost half the levels and the whole point of playing the game at all. As if YouTube didn’t somehow exist if you wanted to actually look a solution up.


Summary

Deus Ex Go is a really cool mobile puzzle game. It does a great job of teaching you new mechanics as you play without every actaully putting on the brakes. The puzzles and interface are really well laid out, making the game really simple to pick up and play. The game has a really intuitive difficulty curve thanks to the way its levels have been designed, only really ramping up towards the end game. Even then this climb in difficulty comes from more complex puzzle solutions, as opposed to any mechanical changes. The games main problem, borderline offensive microtransactions aside, is that it’s quite short with very little replay value. You can be done with Deus Ex Go in a couple of hours, with no real reason to revisit it or replay any of its missions.

7


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