Deus Ex GO is the latest Square Enix game from their "GO" line of games (No, it's not affiliated with Pokemon Go. Yes, these GO games came first). As with their two previous titles, Hitman GO, and Lara Croft GO, Square Enix has attempted to distill the essence of the franchise into a turn-based puzzle game, and succeeded quite well.
In Deus Ex GO, you take the role of augmented covert agent Adam Jensen to solve a series of 50 increasingly difficult puzzles. As with previous GO games, your character is restricted to specific paths, and movement is turn-based. Also similar, you always initiate movement first, with enemies moving simultaneously, but only after you have committed to your move. Lastly, you cannot skip a turn and wait for enemies to move; you must always move even if it's to your death. Although the first few levels are very straightforward with nothing but a few armored guards, the difficulty ramps up quickly with the addition of stationary turrets, two-legged death robots, computer consoles for hacking, and, my favorite, armored guards who constantly scan for your presence, preventing you from sneaking up on them. Although I found Deus Ex GO to be the easiest of the series, I still found myself completely stuck more than once with absolutely no clue how to solve the level, and feeling absolutely certain that the game was glitched and unwinnable. Thankfully, returning to the level after a few days got me past my block. If you find yourself equally stuck, the game comes with two free solutions. Once those are gone, you will be forced to purchase more or scour the internet for a home-grown walkthrough. Because I reviewed this before it was officially released, I had to completely rely on my on cleverness for a change; something that I found more than a little unsettling. One other feature, which you'll either love or hate, is a step counter. If you want to "GOLD" a level, you must complete it within certain limits, which are different for each level. Personally, I'm not a fan of this mechanic. To meet the standard, all one needs to do is redo a level after you've solved it. Not much challenge there, in my opinion.
You won't succeed at Deus Ex GO unless you can learn to capitalize on the weaknesses of your enemies. The guards can be easily subdued from the side or from behind, but once they see you, they will enable their Titan Armor and begin advancing. During this time, they are completely invulnerable to attack. However, you can use a computer console to trap them in or behind an electrified square. You can even use their propensity for disabling computer hacks to trap themselves or another guard. Turrets will cut you in right in two, however, they can be hacked to shoot only your enemies. Additionally, sometimes you can use an enemy to block fire from a turret, allowing you to pass unscathed. The most difficult of the enemies are the scanning guards, who constantly alter their gaze in an effort to find you. Although their behavior seems unpredictable at first (sometimes they see you, sometimes they don't), their vulnerability is that they can be lured to a completely new resting position, unlike the regular guards who always return to their predetermined place.
There are about 50 levels in story mode, which makes it the shortest of all the GO games to date. However, Square Enix also offers a daily puzzle available for download (weekdays only), which should help keep this particular iteration on your device long after you've beaten the previous two. Additionally, Deus Ex GO supports cloud save via Game Center, which I found quite handy as I often found myself wanting to play on my iPad when I was at home. My only real complaint with the game is that it is an alarming resource hog. Playing for an hour dropped the battery of my iPhone 6 Plus by 1/3(!) and even plugging it in to a 2amp power source wasn't able to restore charge while I played; although it prevented it from dropping any lower.
Deus Ex GO easily lives up to the reputation of the GO franchise with its stylish graphics, high level of polish, and fiendish puzzles. It also did a great job of grabbing what defines Deus Ex and making a turn-based puzzle game that captures its spirit and charm.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Beautiful, high-tech graphic style and smooth animation. Sound: - 4 - Very good music and sound effects. Controls: - 5 - Swipe controls worked great. One-fingered play that is perfect for mobile. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Great level design, and the addition of a daily puzzle goes a long way toward making up for the short campaign.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Learn the behavior of your enemies, and use it against them; it's the only way to win. If you're stuck on a level, be methodical. You'll be surprised at the number of moves that really have only one viable choice. Once you determine where the actual choices are, you can systematically eliminate everything that doesn't work.