My head is still spinning after playing Ninja Theory’s confusing, confounding, and colourful shooter for the PS4/PSVR. You know in the days of old when we were all rocking the plastic guitars with Guitar Hero 3 (The Killers – When You Were Young master right here) and you got that weird feeling after having stared at the screen and the moving coloured notes for too long? The way it felt like the world around you was now moving like those colourful little blobs? Get ready for more of that with Dexed, Ninja Theory’s first PSVR release.
Now it might sound like I’m being a bit of a moaner here – and I generally am one who loves a good moan – I’m not bashing on the game, not completely. I must say, though, that as I sit here at my desk after having gone another round in Dexed, my tummy is a little queasy and my PC monitor feels like it’s slowly creeping towards me. Don’t worry; it’s a worthy side effect.
Dexed is a shooter, though it’s not what you’d think. I’ll be honest and say that I was initially a little bit disappointed. Instead of being a traditional shooter where you point your peripheral and pull the trigger, Dexed takes the arcade approach wherein you’ll be aiming by moving the PS Move wands to move the on-screen cursors. Make sense? So, in a fashion, the gameplay is more along the lines of the Nintendo Wii or the PS Move during the PS3-era. You simply move your wand to move your marker, then you pull the trigger at the right time. This is where it gets a little tricky…
Each hand wields the power of a different element. The right hand is fire and the left hand is ice. Your enemies aren’t bank robbers or terrorists from a fictitious middle-eastern country. Instead, your enemies are… Fire and ice. I referred to these things are “floaty bastards” to the Mrs, and as I can’t think of anything else better suited, I’ll refer to them as such from here on out. The floaty bastards are either blue ice floaters, or red fire floaters. How do you kill fire? With ice, of course! So when the fiery floaty bastards dance their way around you, you need to “tag” them with your ice hand, and when the blue ones appear, you hit them with your fire hand. Sound pretty simple, and at first I thought it was going to be a doddle, but then I failed hard and had to re-evaluate myself as a person.
See, it sounds simple, but in practice it’s actually pretty difficult to tag one colour and not the other, especially when they move around in mixed groups. You’ll need a keen mind and a steady aim to make sure you don’t mistakenly hit the wrong floaty bastard with the wrong power, otherwise your score will be frozen for a short time or it’ll burn away for a few seconds, depending on what your error was. I ended my first session with… 500 and something points. Embarrassing…
A big highlight for me was the game’s use of music and rhythm, even though it’s not a rhythm game. Tagging the right amount of targets and firing off on them resulted in some satisfying sound effects that would often thump in with the timing of the music. Great design if it was intentional, or a happy accident if it wasn’t. Either way, top stuff.
Normally I’d have a bit of a moan about the lack of content in a game like Dexed, but I don’t think I’ve got too many problems with what’s on offer. Granted there are only a handful of pure “levels” to play through, though each comes with its own leaderboard. There’s also an arcade mode to really test your mettle (I fared poorly) and there are of course the zen modes for the aforementioned levels. At the current price ($9.99/£TBC) I don’t think it’s all that bad, and I’d argue it presents more playtime than some of the more pricier games available for the PSVR, though it’s all down to the player.
There are leaderboards for the score chasers, but for those who just want a chill out session the zen modes will do just fine. It doesn’t hurt that the game’s pretty good looking, too, though it’s not the most stunning game I’ve seen running on the PSVR (Robinson: The Journey still holds that title) it’s nice enough that just having a look around is enjoyable.
I suppose one complaint I’d have would be that the levels themselves don’t take more than a few minutes to finish from start to end, and that sometimes – rarely, more like – the tracking can go off on its own adventure, but aside from those two niggles, I can’t really fault the game for what it aims to be: a simple, fun, cheap kick that’s a decent enough game to play on your own; a game that can be passed around with friends to chase the high-score; or simply just another time-waster to add to the collection.
Dexed PS4/PSVR Review
- Overall - Very Good - 8.0/108/10
Dexed is a nifty little game that’ll get you moving your arms about like a bit of a div, but it’ll also fire up a few brain cells as you try not to bugger it up. It’s not the mindless shooter you were expecting, but trust me when I say that it’s worth a punt at a penny under a tenner.
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* Reviewed on PS4 Slim.