As on-rail shooters continue to find a home on VR, developers are beginning to try and find new ways to present the genre. Ninja Theory's attempt at this is Dexed, which has you slinging balls of fire and ice at enemies. Does this approach help bring some life in, or did the game pick the wrong dump stat?
Dexed takes place over the course of five levels, with each level having you follow a set path. In each hand, you'll have a Move controller, with one being a fire weapon while the other is an ice one. Your goal is to hit enemies with the element opposite of them. See a fire enemy? You'll want to use an ice shot on them. If you hit an enemy with the element that it already is you'll cause it to counter attack, giving you a brief moment to put up a shield before you're hit. There's actually no health in Dexed, being hit only hurts your score, with fire attacks burning points away while ice attacks put a freeze on your total.
It's an interesting idea, as you must use both your hands, keeping track of where each one is so you don't accidentally highlight the wrong enemy with your abilities. It's just that the idea is never utilized for much beyond the basic gameplay. There's only two enemy types in the game: flying skulls and stationary barnacle enemies. There's only a single boss fight, which takes up the final stage. It's a cool little break from the normal shooting, but it's only the final stage so that doesn't mean much. Not that Dexed's shooting really needed much variety due to its 30-45 minutes length, which makes the game feel more like a proof of concept than a full game.
Once you finish the five stages you can participate in an arcade mode, which does change how the game works in interesting ways. Here you'll be glued to one area, while enemies will enter through portals that make up the walls. Once they enter they'll do a brief formation flying around, then exit. If you allow them to exit before you defeat them then you'll take damage. The mode features a new enemy and some new abilities, adding a bit more to Dexed's simple gameplay. It's a start, but once again it's just not really a full game. It's some interesting ideas compiled into a super basic mode and nothing else.
At least the game is a looker. Dexed may not be the most impressive game technically, but there's some good artistic design that helps make it pop. The levels are creative looking, and quite colorful, leading to the kind of thing I wouldn't mind spending time in. Once the spells start flying I got treated to a nice effect show, fireballs sailing through the air and exploding in fun ways. If you really enjoy seeing the stages and just want to zone out in them, the game offers a zen mode that just has you traveling through the levels with no enemies to distract you from taking in the sights.
That's all there really is to Dexed. It's a very simple on-rails shooter that could have blossomed into a game that I would have seriously enjoyed. However, there's so little content here, and so little done with some smart basic systems, that instead Dexed just feels empty. It's a good value if nothing else, but there's far more fleshed out rail shooters available on any VR device.
Dexed has the basics right and could have offered something unique for on-rail shooters in VR. However, after the 30 minutes it takes to complete the game, there's little reason to keep playing.
- Good Basic Shooting Mechanics
- Pretty Graphics
- Arcade Mode is Fun
- Extremely Short
- Little Enemy Varity
- Feels Like a Proof of Concept