Usually when I’m writing about a game based on a movie for Mat Langford’s Gaming World, it’s bad news. Let’s face it…there aren’t many great movie/tv-based games out there. So when I discovered Dexter on the iOS, I wasn’t expecting anything mind-blowing. What I got however, was something completely surprising.
What struck me as odd right from the beginning was that this game was extremely familiar. So much so, that I literally had to re-watch a few of the first episodes of Dexter to find out that, lo and behold, this game replicates the TV show EXACTLY. I’m not just talking about plot points and characters, I’m talking full scenes from the series verbatim – each of the game’s levels is an exact walk through of some of Dexter’s kills from the first season, word for word, scene for scene. The problem with this is that if you’ve seen the series, then this game won’t surprise you at all, you’ll know all of the plot points, twists and turns. If you can get past this fact, read on, if not – or if you haven’t but plan on watching this series – you may want to skip this one.
You play as Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter specialist for the Miami Police. But you’re also hiding a dark secret – you’re a serial killer bent on evening out the world’s balance by murdering bad guys (and girls) who have done terrible things. The subject matter is heavy, as the game starts out by introducing you to a victim that has been cut into pieces and put on display in a public swimming pool. If murder and violence aren’t your thing, then I suggest you find another game as this one deals almost solely in these kinds of things.
Throughout each level, you’re tasked with finding a potential murderer, acquiring evidence that assures you of their guilt (Dexter lives by the code of Harry – his stepdad – who taught Dexter that he needs to be absolutely positive of his victims’ guilt before killing them), and then you essentially hunt down your victim and kill them. This happens throughout a bunch of different settings, but the basics stay the same. You snoop through computers, break into houses follow people home and do it all while trying not to get caught. Tailing people is a game of ‘hit the button to duck so you won’t be seen’, which seems a bit empty compared the adrenaline rush that you get watching Dexter hunt his prey on TV.
You have dialogue choices – again, straight out of the series – that you can choose when interacting with people. One of Dexter‘s most dangerous quirks is that he has no real emotions, and because of that he needs to work hard to keep his serial killer identity a secret. So he basically acts in order to fit in. You’ll have to choose the right options in order to earn Mask (Dexter‘s charming alter-ego) points. Slip up and you’ll feed into your Dark Passenger (Dex’s serial killer instincts) points. Too many into the Dark Passenger side and people will find you out. So you’re basically running around, killing bad guys and trying your best to hide that scary truth from everyone around you.
The controls are okay at best. You move forward and backward with the virtual left stick and look around with the right. They’re often unresponsive and tough to use, but get the job done. You’ll sometimes find yourself stuck behind a dumpster or table and yelling in frustration at the controls, but that’s to be expected with pretty much any iOS virtual stick configuration.
There are a few mini games to play as well. Different parts of the game will allow your to lock-pick (tilting the phone to maneuver the pins), blood spatter and fingerprint recognition…they help you solve old cases and add to Dex’s Mask point total.
The presentation is good, but the graphics aren’t great, and the levels look a bare. That being said, the bare levels almost make your objectives stick out like a sore thumb, and with the wonky controls, you’ll appreciate the help.
Overall, it’s a solid game that nails the show’s feel. The music and voice acting are pretty good, but the controls leave a lot to be desired. Occasional glitches closed the game on me at inopportune times, and sometimes the game hung up and had to be restarted. The experience overall was pretty good though, and if you’re a fan of Dexter, then you should try this game and see what you think.
Let us know!