About This GameExplore, fight, talk and hack your way through a rich cyberpunk world in this 2D action-RPG!
Wanted dead by a mysterious and far-reaching organization, you will traverse the futuristic city of Harbor Prime and make unexpected allies on your quest to bring down the system! In this cyberpunk adventure inspired by Blade Runner and Neuromancer, you are free to choose your playstyle: will you be a silent assassin, a hacker, a diplomat or a straightforward gunfighter?
Designed as a throwback to earlier 2D platforming and action games combined with modern RPG elements, Dex offers real-time combat, a mature storyline and interactive dialogues.
Customize your character’s skills, equipment and even augmentations – implants which grant you superhuman abilities and open up new paths within the game’s open world.
A revolutionary hacking mechanic also lets you dive into Cyberspace: overcome viruses and intrusion countermeasures to deactivate turrets, overload devices, steal corporate data and cripple your enemies!
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or newer) / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
- Processor: Intel Pentium/AMD, 2.0 GHz or faster
- Memory: 1536 MB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 / ATI™ Radeon™ 2600 or better
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 8 GB available space
- Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
- Additional Notes: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad
To Cyberpunk fans this is definitely worth a look, just don’t expect the action part to excel in any way whatsoever and try to enjoy the story and atmosphere instead. Due to the fact that there are way too few Cyberpunk games in the first place, I mildly recommend this to everyone.
The game is difficult. Two enemies with guns can kill you easily. A gun + melee combo can also be a challenge. Towards the end of my session I came across a warehouse filled with enemies and turrets that seemed impossible to take on. I spent all my skill points unlocking persuasion and lockpicking, so I guess this was the game punishing me for not investing in aggressive hacking or combat skills. In this regard the game reminded me more of Alpha Protocol than Deus Ex – it takes your skill choices quite seriously and will gladly border stuff off if you come unprepared. There is also no quicksaving to manipulate conversations, although you can back up checkpoints as you enter new areas (just like AP).
The story has been okay so far. It is typical cyberpunk fare with hacking, ais, megacorporations, human augmentation and so on. After the short introduction, the main story seems to be on the backburner, leaving you to explore the city and do sidequests.
I recommend the game. Fans of Deus Ex, Alpha Protocol and VtM:Bloodlines will probably have a good time with the game.
You play as the titular character, who is awakened one night by a mysterious informant who warns here she is about to be attacked by a squad of military toughs. He helps her escape and reach an acquaintance of his; your mission is to find out why whoever was behind this, and why they seem to want you dead. It’s a cyberpunk story, so suffice to say the answer isn’t so simple.
After the tutorial, which covers the game’s main mechanics pretty well, you’re left to roam the streets of Harbor Prime. It’s open world, but on a smaller scale: the city is about ten screens wide, although there’s plenty to see in each – stuff to unlock, rooms to ransack, and of course quests to take. These range from dealing with gang activity, to corporate espionage, to general good deeds. All the NPCs you meet are voiced, and while they’re not the best the actors inject a lot of character into their roles.
The actual gameplay of Dex mixes up genres quite a bit. You move around the city on a 2D plane, and there’s platforming, both mandatory and to reach optional goodies. When fighting enemies, you can either go hand to hand, which functions like a simple beat-em-up, or pull out your guns, also the latter doesn’t work so well when most enemies charge for you. I found just punching them worked fine. A lot of the time you’ll have to jump into cyber space, where the game shifts to a twin stick shooter as you penetrate a system’s defenses. When talking to people there are also some opportunities for a charisma check, ala Fallout.
It’s nice the game wanted to mix things up, but although there’s variety none of it really excels. By the later parts of the game I found myself running past enemies unless they were seriously in my way or I had to kill them. If you’re half-decent at twin-stick games I doubt the hacking will give you much trouble, and even if you die in them all that happens is a bit of health taken off Dex, while your progress in the computer is usually saved.
The whole game in general is quite easy by the time you get access to the augments and later parts of the skill tree, actually: by the end I was a juggernaut with almost twice my starting health, able to take out most enemies in a few combos. If you wanted to challenge yourself you could probably get away with ignoring all the side quests. But I can’t say feeling superhuman in a game where transhumanism is a major theme is really a bad thing.
Overall I have to say I liked Dex despite these issues, since while it’s not a perfect game it definitely has soul. It also doesn’t overstay its welcome, and looks great (some other reviews say the animations are bad, but I never really thought so). Pick it up if you want a cyberpunk game while waiting for 2077.
Now to break everything down. Dex takes place in a really cool cyberpunk setting. As a fan of sci-fi and cyberpunk, I think the game captures the cyberpunk feel perfectly. The art is truly superb. The character sprites look great, and the environments are very colourful and beautifully done. Dex proves to us that you don’t need a game to be all grey and brown to show a gritty setting. This is complemented by a lovely musical score. Music playing in every area was fitting to the setting and memorable. Most notable one is the main theme, which has become one of my personal favourite main themes in gaming.
The story has its good points, but overall it’s a pretty standard cyberpunk story. Hackers, gangsters, evil corporations, secret experiments – all this stuff makes an appearance. To me most issues come in the gameplay.
The gameplay consists of a mix of stealth, combat, and hacking in cyberspace. Hand-to-hand combat was really well done. The fighting was smooth and each impact was felt. By contrast, gun combat was done rather badly. For some odd reason, it’s not possible to walk with your gun out. If you want to shoot, you have to stand absolutely still. If you make so much as a step, the character automatically holsters the gun. This can become extremely annoying during fight sequences, where each second can mean a difference between shooting the enemy and them taking off half of your healthbar.
The platforming aspects such as jumping and climbing were fine enough, although at times it was very hard to tell where you could jump onto and where you couldn’t. At times it seemed like you could jump onto something, only to see your character fall through it and to their death. And because you cannot save when you want, this becomes annoying.
Hacking… ugh. I just didn’t like it at all. It was nothing more than a basic pixel shooter and your sole job is to click, click, and click. What annoyed me more than the hacking mini-game itself is the fact how often the game forced you to play it. Most times there were no alternatives. Play the darn hacking mini-game or make no progress. I signed up for a cyberpunk sidescroller, not a cyberspace pixel shooter.
The game also had some balance issues. Like for example, there was no permanent cheap/free heal anywhere in the city. So if you were out of money and low on health, there’s probably nothing you can do about it. Likewise, there was never any place where I could grind for money and/or experience.
The game had plenty of sidequests. Most were pretty interesting and I attempted to solve each one of them. However, quite a few of them I never managed to solve due to things not being clear. Maybe I just needed to do more exploration or simply to get lucky, but I think a bit more direction would’ve been nice. What was nice though is how some main quests and sidequests had nice multi-branched paths to accomplishing your goal and at times you had to make important decisions.
Finally to round it off, the ending was extremely disappointing and felt rushed. Without giving any spoilers, the game forces you to do your "final fight" in cyberspace. That’s right. Hacking again. And the ending cutscene lasted a total of 10 seconds. I really wish there was more to the ending than what I’ve experienced.
I know this is a tonne of criticism, but I am glad to have played through this game, and it is a promising game. It’s just, it’s currently riddled with too many small issues, which pile up and hinder the enjoyment.
Wake up Dex! The complex is after you! My name is Raycast, I hacked into your network to give you some guidance. What you see outside is Harbor Prime, a dystopian mega town, covered with darkness and smoke. But there is no time for you, use the cyberspace to disable the door and make your way out of there. Sneak through the sewers, get into Fixers Hope and find a man called Decker, he will surely help you.
If my introduction made you feel like Matrix met V for Vendetta and the main theme of the Shinra Corp. makes it’s way back into your head, you are in the right mood for this game. As you already noticed, Dex is your name and survival is your aim. A hacker called Raycast makes your sweet neckplate-wearing body move, right into the arms of some retired hacker and his over-cautious friend. They present you a story about a powerful AI, named Kether, that got created by The Complex, a Megacorp, in order to reach control of every network ever created. That may sound like a fairytale but doesn’t explain exactly why you were chased and what the famous hacker Raycast wants from you.
This is how you will get started in Dex, a Sidescrolling Steampunk Cyber RPG, presented with 2D-Graphics, that mixes Metroidvanian-platforming and open world experience with some heavy plot influences of Deus Ex. Let`s see whether developer Dreadlocks succeeded in combining this cocktail or left you getting lost in cyberspace. First, graphics are nice, with hand-drawn locations and 90`s style animations. It feels a bit like crossing old Beat em up stages if you move from one district to another. Characters are well drawn too but animations of enemies tend to look a bit clunky sometimes.
A big city like Harbor Prime needs music and sounds to paint the illusion of a living and breathing environment but Dex could use a bit of improvement here. The music is great and every district has it’s unique style like Chinatown, which got heavily influenced by traditional Asian instruments whereas the rich and industrial Highrise has a cold, more mechanical touch. You can hear some cars or even hot fat that boils in a frying pan when entering a restaurant. What is missing are the people. It feels like they are all quietly moving along. No beggar shouts for money, no hooker praises her legs, no child laughs..or cries.
What makes Dex shine are the dialogues. Every NPC you can interact with has a voice and well written dialogue. May it be an old sailor or a drug dealing kid on the streets, it feels like the developers invested a lot of time into the game’s story. And talking about story, we slowly approach the core of the game. You can strictly follow the main plot but doing so means you will miss lots of interesting side quests. Dex wants to be open-world and thus allows you to explore the whole city on your own. Have in mind that you might encounter situations or enemies you aren’t ready for, like a jump passage you can’t pass yet. You will die. You will curse this game. But you will come back for its great stories. There is much more in Harbor Prime than just The Complex. Digging under the surface allows a look in a society where hackers are gods, corporations fight each other in dirty ways and people who haven’t implemented a mechanical part into their body are considered outsiders.
All you need to know is how to solve and to survive. Every quest earns EXP and maybe Gold or other usefull stuff. Use EXP to level up Dex, unlock and upgrade skills, varying from Melee to Hacking and even Charisma, altering your playstyle and how you want to finish quests. Up for satisfying close combat? Become a Melee Expert! Talking your way out of trouble or get secrets while examining Others? Charisma may become your best friend. Gold is important to get medicine or weapons, even more important to get augmentations to make yourself a true cyber warrior with the ability to cloak yourself or get immunity against toxic gas.
Cyberspace, the last one on my checklist. Hacking and entering the network will save your life and provide you with necessary information. Dex can hack cameras, turrets and even other people to harm, kill or at least stun them. She can also enter the network and fight her way through it, offering you a game inside the game. Doing so you fight against viruses, trojans and firewalls, hopefully finding some useful e-mails or passwords to provide yourself with EXP, Gold and Satisfaction.
Dex earned many bad reviews after it got released too early. It suffered from game breaking bugs, corrupted save files and many other things that made it nearly unplayable right after the start. But the latest updates fixed most of the problems people were arguing about and I did not encounter any bug myself while playing. That said the community still rages about the save system that uses checkpoints instead of a real savefile. All I can say about that is: once you get used to it, you will be fine.
It took me some time to find into the game but right now, it totally satisfies. Once you got used to the controls, the town, the dying, you will start exploring and find quests, that offer great dialogues and a lot to think about in the “not so bright” future. It’s not like Dex is a perfect game but the cocktail tastes good and I definitely recommend this brew to steampunk lovers and RPG-fans, who like their Deus Ex turned into a sidescrolling 2D experience.
Personal Verdict: 8,5/10
Over the course of the narrative you will explore a vast futuristic city and meet many interesting inhabitants as you roam the neon lit streets. As a traditional R.P.G., your character will gain experience points from combat as well as from completing objectives and procuring certain items as the story progresses. When you level-up, these points can then be spent to enhance a number of different skills for Dex ranging from hacking to combat, endurance, lockpicking, charisma as well as many other vital abilities. With this being a cyberpunk game, there is also the opportunity to cybernetically enhance her abilities through implants and augmentations. How you decide to build your character is entirely up to you. Also, taking a page out of "Deus Ex", there is a heavy emphasis on exploration and non-linear gameplay so many times there’s more than just one way to complete an objective. It’s totally your decision on how you want to procede which is always a terrific gameplay mechanic in any open-world title.
The combat in Dex, while challenging, is just so much fun and is easily one of the finest qualities of the title. When you begin the game it’s quite difficult as you’ll find yourself being bested by almost every two bit thug and minion that crosses your path. However, once you learn to use your skills effectively and finally accquire some augmentations you will level the playing field drastically. You have to be smart and pick your skills and upgrades very carefully though unless you want to die over and over. Even after that beware because you can’t just run in then punch and shoot your way through every situation. One must learn to utilize every skill available from stealth to hacking, blocking, rolling, etc. and most importantly be patient and wait for the right time to strike your opponents. Following these steps then winning a fight will give you such a sense of satisfaction as this is one of those titles that will have you shouting "Yes!" out loud after defeating a particularly tough antagonist or group of minions. To summarize, while the engrossing narrative will keep your mind occupied, the terrific and often taxing combat will definitely keep your hand-eye coordination alert.
Visually, I was extremely impressed with Dex. Set in the futuristic city of Harbor Prime, this title will take you on a wild ride through a beautifully realized cyberpunk metropolis brimming with gorgeous old-school visuals. As you walk through the city, vehicles will pass back and forth in the foreground and you will actually feel immersed as there are many many people strolling around from men, women to even children darting about as they usually do. Not only that, there are a number of stray dogs, cats, birds, hobos and even pests such as rats scurrying along depending on what part of Harbor Prime that you are currently in. And these aren’t just cookie-cutter N.P.C.’s either, they’re all dressed in different garb, have varying races, body types and the animals such as the dogs and cats are of differing breeds. The developers did a fantastic job of instilling life into this bustling city right down to the most miniscule of details. Your travels through this megapolis will take you from the poorest of slums to the wealthy districts and everywhere in between so be prepared to visit a wide range of locales. The 2D platform was a staple of many a game back in the day and Dex is a prime example as to why. This title takes the best of what made that genre so great and incorporates it into a finely tuned package. The graphics are just exquisite and so highly detailed from the gameplay to the nicely rendered cutscenes and animated dialogue windows. I tuly miss seeing the many scrolling layers of background that the 2D platforms were known for and Dex does it justice. As a cyberpunk title, the colors retain a dark if not foreboding palette that fits the bleak narrative perfectly. Also, the sound quality is top-notch and quite immersive as well whether it’s normal gameplay sounds, combat or ambient background noises. The musical score fits the title perfectly providing a wide range of cyberpunk themed tracks.
From the beginning to the end of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed the exciting quest that Dex takes you on as well as the engaging combat and thrilling gameplay. Also, the game has a good amount of replayability as there are many ways to augment and level up your characters abilities and often there are different paths to complete a mission so try them all. In addition, the title offers a couple of options in the form of an extra outfits package for our brave heroine and a brilliantly ochestrated soundtrack composed by Karel Antonín. I really love this O.S.T. and I listen to it all the time. For the hunters and collectors, there are also Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards to procure. To summarize, Dex pays quite an homage to the old-school R.P.G.’s and would be a truly excellent addition to the library of the hardcore fans like me and anyone even remotely interested in that genre of gaming…this title is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Dex is, as advertised, a 2d beat ’em up with levellling and ability procurement as you would see in many metroidvanias. I beat the game without lowering the default difficulty in about 13 hours and saw just about all there was to see, with the exception of a few hidden things here and there I missed. The constant amount of "new" the game provides with exploring and abilities keeps the game fresh as the story unfolds.
My only gripe is that it’s over, and now I have to move on to the next game. See ya Blue, it was fun! May our paths cross again!
This is story-heavy. 90’s-retro-feeling, side-scrolling cyberpunk RPG-adventure hybrid.
Yes the game has some flaws. Given the right skill combinations, the combat can pretty easily be cheesed, even against high level minions and boss level baddies. The voice acting (which exists for every line of dialogue in the game) is a bit corny and ham fisted at times. And yes, the plot is loaded with classic cyberpunk tropes to the point of predictability. But for me, all these flaws came together in a special way to grant this title a thoroughly enjoyable level of charm and casual playability.
Truly beautiful 16-bit style, hand-drawn graphics and sprites add to the charm. An additional plus for me was the ability to complete many of the games chapters and side quests in different unique ways, with different consequences and conclusions.
If you’re an aging gamer like myself, I’d describe Dex as part old-school Bioware meets pen and paper or Sega Shadowrun with a pinch of the stand-up arcade version of Robocop and a healthy dash of classic point-and-click adventure puzzles ala Myst or Longest Journey. It felt as much like reading a decent cyberpunk graphic novel with all the right beats as it did playing a video game.
When I put my mind to it, I was able to 100% the game quite easily at a casual, read-all-the-dialogue pace totalling roughly 10 hours. Only had to look up the requirements for one hidden achievement, which required dying in a unique manner. Everything else unlocked organically as I thoroughly played through the main game, side quests, and explored each map.
In my book, this game is easily a noteworthy 7/10 and worth the current holiday price at 80% off or if you get lucky enough to snag it in a bundle.
And if you do pick it up, make sure to also click "Download" on the free extra outfits DLC. It doesn’t add it automatically to your library and it adds some fun, useful treats and content that begin appearing around mid-game.
Dex combines many elements from different genres together and does it quite well. At least this is my opinion, since I’ve felt exactly like I’m playing a damn good, well put together, professionally written RPG. Therefore you get a set of interesting approaches to playing the game; while the character progression will allow you to improve your abilities, and they will actually improve how you play the game as you progress on different skills, your interaction with the environment will heavily be affected by the choices you made – not to mention that the implants you’re going to get will seem optional but the game will continuously itch the urge to upgrade your augmentations and/or install new ones in order to avoid various obstacles that are not necessarily mandatory for the main progression. Yet you will run around for more quests, more experience and more money to get implants, buy softwares and progress on side stories, because you will be having your fun.
The main story, however, is relatively short. This is true if you take the side quests as optional activities. But, believe me, they are not. The progression you will have on side activities will greatly help on your main course and will actually affect the future steps of your progression. – For example, before going on a main mission, completing side activities and talking to people who you have done jobs for in the past and learning about your main quest will end up in several side quests that will not only make your main quest relatively easier, it will also end up with more experience and more money you earn in return. – This approach alone should tell you that Dex is not just another attempt to recreate what has been done in the past, but a product of the good perspective what we call "if it ain’t broken, break it and build something better" – it is exactly what has been done in this project.
Now, it is to be expected from a cyberpunk theme that hacking should exist in such games. Dex’s hacking is a minigame that is affected by your character progression. As you progress on your hacking skills, your minigame will become easier -of course, the damn black holes are there to torture our bloody souls- but there’s always side progression to it; software upgrades can be bought and there are also usable items while in Augmented Reality. – This also is a huge help while in hand-in-hand combat, because you can just go into AR and hack into your enemies’ implants and stun them for a while, which is also a part of the stealth system. – and, oh yeah, there is stealth. You can takedown your enemies from behind, you can get into cover, get invisible for a while. But there’s also using enemy turrets against them and letting the tools do your dirty work.
Implants are a bit dull, unfortunately. Nothing actually that interesting there. But who cares, you can jump higher, regenerate health, become invisible, change your field of view, detect enemies etc. – Fun little things. They do greatly affect the gameplay, however. So It wouldn’t be wise to say they aren’t mandatory, but aside from the jumping the rest is pretty much optional; Things like an inhaler and immunity to electricity are quite the quality of life improvements.
Before getting into the story and the characters, I have to point out some notes. – There are some sound design flaws. Character Voices and Background Music sound levels have certain problems. However, I played the game on GNU/Linux, which shouldn’t be a problem at all, but after experiencing some launch issues on almost every DE and hearing sounds overlapping, I had to guess that there are problems somewhere between ALSA drivers working poorly with the engine and unpolished state of the game. – Now, I have to point out the elephant in the room, Dex is an unpolished game. No, it is not an unfinished game, it is an unpolished game. I don’t know why this is the case, but you will encounter some ugliness. But will this affect your gameplay? No. Not at all. In fact, you will easily forget about the problems like words overflowing the dialog screen, or pretty much every menu content running over the menu textures and things like inconsistent scrolling.
Again, these are minor problems. Doesn’t affect the game in a great way. So, they didn’t really bug me at all.
Voiceacting is outstanding. Actors did gave life to every single one of these characters – a professional approach of narrative. Infused with lovely, extremely good animated cutscenes and the well written lines describing the heavy atmosphere and the reactions of characters, the quality of the production does speak for itself. There’s nothing more to say about this, really. I loved every bit of it. I listened every bit that characters had to offer and loved every line. Dex, truly is not a wasted potential. In fact, it’s a perfect begining for an independent team.
Of course, you might not be into such artstyle. Which is completely understandable.
Karel Antonin did an amazing job with the Soundtrack. – and Dex’s Soundtrack Album became one of the Soundtracks that I wanted badly. A good friend of mine acted way before me and gifted me the album, for that I am really, really thankful. Because make no mistakes folk, this is an extraordinary work for an Independent Game – actually, forget about the Independent label, Dex’s Soundtrack is an artistically accurate approach to this game and I salute the people who put the time and effort to compose and release this piece of artwork. And, you know what, if anything; I highly recommend buying the soundtrack. It does worth the price. I, kid you, not.
Now the hard part, the Storyline. – Well, Dex takes place within a futuristic society and you play as Dex, a woman you hardly know anything about. Has absolutely no skills whatsoever, just trying to stay alive. At this point the narrative is so strong that while you’re running away, the music, the background the jumps you have to make, in the very first ten minutes, the game makes you feel like you’re living these moments from her perspective and you literally live for her. – and then, you find yourself on an elevator, going down, you see the logo with a beatifully composed theme. You are living in the movie, you are experiencing the game. – and believe me, as someone who has experience in the industry, this art direction, this story driven introduction is pure professionalism; it is idealism. For that, I very much so in love with everyone who’s involved with this project.
From that point forward, Dex has to meet with a couple of others who has been driven into this corporate level series of conspiracies and she has to make vital decisions, with consequences. – Her character is in your very hands.
Dex is one of those well-written hidden gems with great design decisions and a product of sincere endeavour. If you are into science fiction; if you love cyberpunk theme, this piece of art is here, waiting in the shadows, glowing. All you need to do is to take a look. You will see the potential and you will see the artistic effort. – Support these people. Believe me, they will deliver more and they will deliver better.
Note – I wrote this review at 4 in the morning. So, I’m terribly sorry about the typos.
Gamewise it reminds me of such titles as Mark of the Ninja, Deus Ex and Shadowrun, taking the best from all three: intense action, multiple ways of dealing with game situations(dialogues included), RPGesque character advancement and interesting setting. Some might say it’s cliche cyberpunk, but to me it looks like devs consciously tried to incorporate the best genre staples there are, the ones we like cyberpunk for – hacking, cybernetic implants, superhuman abilities, greedy sinister corporations, idealistic hacker movement, self-conscious AI, etc.
Visual style of the game is quite appealing, controls are good, dialogue voiceovers add up to the atmosphere as well (I really missed that part in Shadowrun), gameplay is really addictive, and regular deaths do not discourage you from playing more, really =)
This game is highly enjoyable so I recommend this game to pretty much everyone save people who are allergic to 2D games and platformer gameplay =)