Deus Ex: The Fall is a cyber Renaissance faire for touchscreens

Deus Ex The Fall is Cyber Renaissance fare for touchscreens

Deus Ex is, by nature, a complicated game. You can start by simply moving around a level: There's cover to move in and out of, and stealth movement requires good timing and precision. Then, there's all of the abilities you have, from using various gadgets and weapons to choosing your bio-implants and playing the hacking mini-games. That's a lot of buttons. In making Deus Ex: The Fall for iOS devices, Square Enix Mobile was given the task of putting all those functions into a device that has only one button.

In that respect, the most exciting news about this game is that it works. For the most part, that is. You can't hide bodies, for one thing.%Gallery-190427%

There have to be some compromises when going from a controller to a touchscreen, and in a short pre-E3 play session last month, that was the biggest one I noticed. Square Enix Mobile is aiming to let you stealth through the entire game, just like the other versions. But in the end, that may not be possible, first because Square Enix hasn't finished the game entirely, and second because playing on a touchscreen just isn't as precise.

Square Enix has done its best to make the movement work, at least. You can drag two thumbs around the screen like a first-person shooter if you like (one to look, one to move), but the devs have also implemented a tap-to-move option where you can simply double tap on the screen to send the main character, Ben Saxon, from point to point around the game's maps. You can tap on cover to move into it, and then swipe backwards or out to leave it or slide to the next obstacle.

In practice, the movement is smooth but a bit awkward, and occasionally Ben will slide over to the wrong part of cover and get seen by his prey. Moving around corners is tough as well, especially when things get frantic. When you're trying to hide yourself from some angry, murderous thug, it's often difficult to gracefully go where you want to be. Shooting is easier – you can simply tap on a target and then hit a button to fire. That helps combat become more about your choice of tools than your aiming ability, but it also trades away the kind of precision seen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

The hacking mini-game is still here and working well, and the series' great lore is, too. As you move through the game's environments (which are slightly more linear than Human Revolution's were), you'll find emails, archives, and all sorts of other documents to read and enjoy. Ben's various augmentations are located in a touchscreen menu, where you can use and spend credits you earn throughout the game, or load up on more credits via in-app purchase.

Deus Ex: The Fall seems like a very reasonable facsimile of the popular series made just for touchscreen devices, and the brand new story should give fans of Human Revolution a reason for another go-round in the futuristic theme park of 2027. Deus Ex: The Fall is due out later this summer, available for $6.99 on iOS.