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Dex

Explore, 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.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Oh, wait, it's another 2d platformer? More Metroid?.. That was my initial stopper. You see, I'm eager for all things cyberpunk, so I bought Dex without even looking into details. And when I got Dex and saw the intro scene, I dropped it instantly. For several years. My bad.
Actually, despite some visual misfortunes - and I'm talking not only about the 2-dimensional view, which is looking odd in many ways, but also about the detalization of it. Like the look of the main character, for example. I mean, there are some gross elements in the background, here and there, but it is obvious that Dex was underfunded and underdeveloped. What's even worse, you can see it right in the initial sequence. However...
Once you'll invest about half of an hour into the game, learn to adapt its gawky battle system (which again shows its worst initially, but gets better sometime later) - you'll finally get into the story, into cyberspace, into the city hub... And there you'll realize it's not a platformer. It's a proper-themed cyberpunk role-playing game, with meaningful choices on every quest, and it is up to you how to develop, how to pick the fights, how to resolve the situations you're bound to get into. At that point - and almost all the way to the end of the game - Dex is quite good. It will show some underdevelopment in the very end - with some loose ends and logical gaps in the story - but at that time, it will be not that relevant. Plus, it's not all that long anyway - you can beat the whole game in a day or two.
As of summary, I really suggest you play Dex - especially if you, like me, are into the cyberpunk theme. But... yeah, you have to deal with some awkwardness on the way. Visual part, the battle system - works, but you really need to make an effort to get used to it. Then, there can be some bugs with the quest triggers, making you unable to finish some of them without returning to the previous saves. However, there's nothing too serious. You don't need to look for solutions somewhere, just re-play some sections, and hopefully, it will be ok.
Mark is 7/10. A solid cyberpunk game, with a lively story. Glad that I have it, and glad that I played it, despite my initial disappointment with the first scenes.

Review from Steam

I attempted to run this game twice, the first time depleting my resources early game and finding myself stuck. However, my second run went smoothly, I knew which perks worked for me, etc and the game was fun and over quickly. It's a good enough game that I'm considering getting a copy on Switch to play while homeless.

Review from Steam

One of the coolest metroidvania games I have played in a while. The game is quite atypical in the genre. Not only because of the Cyberpunk theme, but because it features a lot of non-hostile areas, with a focus on elements like conversations, investigation, sidequests and exploration.

Review from Steam

I hope to leave something of a constructive review so I'll begin by saying the graphic's were very nice.
As a huge fan of the Cyberpunk genre, this game didn't disappoint on the grimy dark scifi aesthetic I came looking for.
It surprised me to find that Jan Jirkowsky, the original designer for the game, passed away at 26. There's no real easy way to say that. I'm left with all kinds of questions about him. Which parts of his work live on in the game now that it's been released? How much came after his passing? How did he pass? It's hard to discuss Dex without first discussing Jan. Wikipedia says nothing. Google tells me about as much. I wonder what this game meant to him. Was it his passion project? His Magnum Opus? Or simply the last thing he got to work on?
Jan's passing likely greatly affected this work, no matter what else.
That all being said, I'll try to keep the rest of my review focused on the game.
I hope it is not too critical or harsh given the circumstances behind it's development cycle.
First, the game lacked intuitiveness in some area's. There were many quests which I was completely lost upon. I didn't like needing to go back to the journal and retrace my steps in order to determine what it was I was supposed to be doing
Second... overall the Audio of the game, besides the voice acting, was quite lacking. It seems to me that great attention to detail was put into the voice cast of the game, and substantially less effort was put into the SFX and music of the game. The music loops were brief and repetitive and I still hate to think of the main theme of harbour prime beating away in my eardrums. A simple "Babababa" sound over and over again ad nauseum. To be honest, the music sucked so bad that I ended up turning it off halfway through the game and leaving it off for the rest of the game.
The rest of the sound effects deeply sucked as well, very generic and bland in most cases, very uninspired. The heavy pistol had a very bland "Blam!" sound to it in poor quality that I've been hearing in video games for like 20 years. The Shotgun has a flat "Kat!" sound that would be more suiting as an automatic weapon. This shotgun was flat and weak sounding. Very unsatisfying. The fully automatic did not hold nearly enough ammo to be fun (12 rounds?! Seriously?!) but I understand any more might've disrupted game balance. This could've been remedied easier by making the gun hold 24 rounds yet doing half the damage, it would simply be more fun to spray the enemy with more bullets before running out and being forced back to the slow reload animation.
Similiarly, the alarm klaxons that ring out whenever being spotted by turrets or security camera's was extremely repetitive and annoying. A soft blipping sound would suffice. But in this case loud, annoying klaxons were chosen. Anyone pausing the game to go make a quick snack or fetching a drink would find themselves quickly annoyed hearing the klaxon blare again and again until they return to move away from the source of the noise or to shoot the damn thing. I simply can't gripe hard enough about the terrible sound design.
Games like "Breath of Fire" or "Resident Evil" have very iconic menu sound effects that are pleasing to hear again and again. Dex does not. Dex has a very bad "BLOING BLOING" sound as you're selecting things in the menu screens. It's annoying. It loops very poorly and given how most players are navigating more than one button at a time through your menus, more thought should have been put into a sound that sucks less than the one the game is currently using.
The plot? Very good. I found myself needing to slow down to absorb it all at times. Like a good novel. It definitely shows that real work was put into the many narrative area's of the game. It all feels believable and lived in. Characters are all unique and interesting. The interactions between various NPC's are interesting. Even the various randomly generated crowds are full of interesting characters walking by.
Gameplay wise, I found it either too difficult or too slow paced. I lowered the difficulty and it made things somewhat better. Dex seems to have been aiming for a more nuanced, thinking man's type of combat and it misses it's mark slightly, I was spamming ranged attacks and exploiting the enemy AI's to pass most of the more difficult combat.
The hacking minigame? Well, each cyberpunk game has it's own spin on hacking. Dex is no different, switching to a very interestingly illustrated twin-stick shooter during hacking. I hate to admit that it doesn't really innovate in this area of gameplay. It plays as a very by-the-books twin stick shooter and it's sad. The hacking in any cyberpunk game should be fun and exciting. It was not. Instead I felt like I was transported, not into the Matrix but into an entirely different game that was shoehorned into Dex's code and plot. I never was a big fan of Bullet Hell games and that's all that Dex's hacking amounts to. It's normal to abstract Hacking in a Cyberpunk game into something else. But Dex's hacking sections were never fun for me. Instead I forced myself thru such sections in order to advance the plot forward just a little more.
To return to the subject of intuitiveness: I got so frustrated and did not want to resort to sitting down and reading a loredump via the journal that I simply went on a killing rampage throughout the city. This granted me a lot of money and XP but did nothing to advance the story. Defeated, I put the game down for a few days, and reluctantly read through the journal at last, only to discover I had unwittingly completed several quests in a row and all I had to do was turn in all my quests en masse. Surely not the way the designers imagined that plot progression going, so I'm reporting it now.
Despite all that, my experience with Dex was still a positive one. In fact, did I hear something about a Dex 2?? I'm very interested if that is the case. I'm not afraid to label Dex as something of a Cyberpunk Aficionado's must-play. It's a flawed masterpiece. I can only imagine what this team might've accomplished if they had not faced the setbacks from losing Jan that it did.
And enjoy it I did. I hope none of this leaves the dev team feeling discouraged. I did my best to keep it constructive. One more tip on the sound design; The voice acting was fine in most parts, yes, but what needs to be accounted for is that some players (such as myself) skipped great deals of the voice acting altogether in favor of reading the storyline and paging through it. There were very few parts that were voiceacted so superbly that I preferred it over the text. (Except for Richmond. I don't know why but he was a compelling character and voice actor. Do try and hire that fellow again, he does your game a great service by voicing in it) I imagine the voice acting also takes up quite a bit of disk space so, maybe place less emphasis on great voice actors, and try to make more dynamic music loops and less generic sound effects in the next Dex game?
I'll definitely be watching this studio's future works and keeping an eye open for Dex 2.
I'll say it one more time incase anyone missed it: Dex is a flawed masterpiece. And despite it's flaws, I definitely think it's worth a purchase and a playthrough. Especially for fans of the Cyberpunk Genre.
The visuals were terrific as well from start to finish. Dex is not an ugly game. That's something to be proud of. As well, it's attempt to fuse both ranged combat and melee works somewhat, and is very ambitious in my opinion. I think Dex 2 would do well to have more options, however, for melee weapons. Just a thought. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait and will be better than it's first entry in the franchise in many ways. I look forward to it.
From one indie Dev to another, cheers! And jolly good game! I thoroughly enjoyed it, front to back.
-CK

Review from Steam

As someone who played Comix Zone as a kid, thank you. Thank you very, very much. I didn't realize how much fun I was having until I stopped thinking about it.
Dex is, at it's core, a 2D side scrolling action RPG platformer. The three genres together are blended incredibly well. The game is challenging in the best ways, offering beat'em up combat but at the player's pace. As the story goes on and players complete quests and find loot, they can customize Dex to their play style. There are quite a few side quests that are optional, and the main storyline delivers a decent plot, albeit covered in cheese. My interest in the game kept me going and as it turns out, what I found annoying at first ended up giving a better impression. Dex is a sci-fi comic series turned into a video game, and I definitely recommend.

Review from Steam

Dang, the other reviewers were right... I don't know why I sat on this title so long without playing it, but I'm so glad I finally did. The beginning was a little rough for me because the combat felt weird, but I stuck with it and it quickly paid off. I really enjoyed the game, the story, the characters, the hacking - everything! It was a short but wonderful masterpiece that I wholeheartedly recommend.

Review from Steam

Bad points first: The combat is pretty crap, ladder climbing is buggy, and some platforming sections are annoying given that a fall means instant death.
If you can get past that, Dex is a diamond in the rough, one of those little indie gems that manages to create a compelling world. Set in a cyberpunk dystopia, the game weaves a story for you to unravel that has you curiously moving forward right from the start. A good mix of action and dialogue, with voice acting far better than you'd expect given the low-res graphics, Dex remains engaging over the entire course of a playthrough, which is more than many games can say.
Is it shortish? Yeah, it's a little shortish. But that's because there's no padding with an empty open world, or respawning random encounters, or huge time wasting quests. The side-quests are all interesting, the story is well-written, you get to make big RPG choices in story and not just in skill development, and the cybernetic upgrades and cyberspace hacking stuff is fun. So fun, in fact, that I finished it in a single weekend, because I couldn't stop playing.
A decade or two ago, I was excited about the label "80-100 hours" on an RPG. These days I consider that a warning, because 11 hours of fun in an 88 hour RPG is a lot of slog. Dex is 11 hours of fun in an 11 hour action RPG with interesting characters to meet, weaving action, dialogue, stealth, and hacking into a game that is definitely worth your while.
Of course, if you can pick it up on a big sale or in a bundle like I did, better yet.