It wasn’t too long ago when I was terrified of being asked to check out a mobile game, but that space has matured quite a bit in a fairly short time. Games like Oceanhorn and Implosion: Never Lose Hope have done a lot to show that mobile games can actually be a pretty decent time. Naturally, puzzle games are a great fit for the mobile format, so it’s no surprise that Square Enix’s GO series of games have successfully helped bring classic franchises like Hitman and Lara Croft GO to your phone.
Deus Ex GO is another great example of how the heart and soul of a series can work just as well despite a shift in both platform and genre. And arriving just in time for its bigger brother, Mankind Divided. Imagine that!
Like the previous Go titles, Deus Ex GO takes the action of its home series and compresses it into a series of puzzles. Rather than flipping out and stabbing people with his arm blades in real time, Adam Jensen’s more of a pensive thinker in Deus Ex GO. The feel and flavor of Deus Ex are there; you’re still sneaking around and taking out baddies while hacking security and other such cyberpunk activities, but it’s presented here as a sort of turn-based strategy game.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of stabbing going on, but the way you approach situations is a little different. Take your average guard, for instance; if they see you, they’ll throw up an impenetrable shield and charge toward you in an attempt to take you out. One hit is all it takes to end Jensen, since for all his mechanical augmentations he’s still made of paper. Instead, you’ll have to be smart in your approach; attacking a shielded guard doesn’t work, but getting around a guard who’s blindly charging forward then attacking when his shield is down is entirely effective. If that doesn’t work, maybe you could figure out how to introduce that guard to a nearby turret?
This is the sort of situation you’ll deal with throughout Deus Ex GO, and the compressed format of the puzzles suit the mobile format nicely. There are items strewn about most stages that you can take advantage of as well. A stage might be canvassed with guards, making it look impossible to clear, but grabbing a cloak could let you sneak right by without any issues assuming you time your movements properly. Turrets are a terror, but hacking them so they work for you rather than against you can change everything; likewise, hacking impassable floor panels can open paths and trap enemies.
Carefully planning out your moves is central to success, just as you’d expect from a GO game. The game does become fairly difficult as you go on, but hints are available; coming from previous GO titles I didn’t find this one to be impossible, but newcomers might have some trouble since they aren’t familiar with the conventions of the series.
While I played the last GO adventure, Lara Croft GO, on an iPad, I opted for Deus Ex GO on my iPhone and it still worked out just fine. Despite the much smaller screen, Deus Ex GO’s graphics remain crisp, clear and true to the series. The Human Revolution Renaissance-style aesthetic certainly gives the game a unique feel and works well in the constraints necessary for a mobile game. I also had no issues controlling or playing the game on a smaller device, aside from my own lack of patience with puzzlers!
Fans of the Deus Ex series, particularly Human Revolution and upcoming Mankind Divided, are probably in the right head space to enjoy the sort of puzzle experience offered by Deus Ex GO. Planning ahead, acting stealthily and making decisive moves are all key to success in both the main series titles and this spinoff. If you need your guard-stabbing fix on the train or at the DMV, why not redirect your aggression to virtual foes instead of doing something that might get you arrested?