Space Marshals 2 shows how a proper Deus Ex mobile game could work

By , on August 25, 2016

We've recently seen the release of Deus Ex GO onto the App Store, which is a brilliant puzzler set in the universe of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game for console and PC.

Deus Ex GO is far removed from the ambitious-but-flawed Deus Ex: The Fall, a 2013 iOS game that tried to be a little too faithful the the first person stealth-action of its host series. Indeed, in recognising the platform's unique attributes and - yes - limitations, we reckon that Deus Ex GO is the better mobile game of the two.

But another new iOS release has me wondering if there was another way. Space Marshals 2 is a deeply impressive stealth-action game that nails many of the core elements of the Deus Ex console games whilst remaining perfectly playable on mobile.

Deus Ex Go

Space Ex

Name this game: you can approach its relatively open sci-fi stages in a stealthy manner, sneaking up on guards by moving between cover and silently taking them out - or avoiding them altogether. Alternatively, you can rush in all-guns-blazing, employing your expanding and customisable armoury to take on multiple goons at once.

In those two approaches, the player can make a choice between lethal and non-lethal. Exploration will uncover hidden entrance points to fortified buildings or seemingly inaccessible areas of the map, and it's also possible for you to hack automated gun turrets and either disable them or turn them on their former masters.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about Space Marshals 2 here. But those two paragraphs could just as easily have been describing any of the Deus Ex console and PC games.

Sure, there's a massive difference in tone between the two. Space Marshals 2 takes a light-hearted, cartoony sci-fi western approach full of quips and one-liners. Deus Ex takes itself far more seriously, with its tale of dark conspiracies and human augmentation.

But without wishing to diminish the work of each game's designers and writers, that's just a palette swap. What matters here is that the core components of Space Marshals 2 would make a hell of a stand-alone mobile Deus Ex game.

Space Marshals 2

Mobile mastery

The reason Space Marshals works so well on mobile is its combination of a sympathetic perspective and super-tight controls. It takes a zoomed out (but not too zoomed-out) view of the action, and it essentially controls like a twin-stick shooter.

Touching and dragging the left side of the screen will move Marshall Burton around, while the right hand side will aim his weapon. Releasing the screen will pull the trigger, giving a satisfyingly tactile 'flicking an elastic band' feeling to your shots - and letting you 'feather the hammer' of your pistol when things get hectic.

Even when things do get a bit spicy, the game's considered pace and top-down view ensures that you always feel in control.

In Deus Ex GO, Square Enix has created a masterful puzzler that pays tribute to the action-stealth-oriented host series. But playing Space Marshals 2 makes me think how a more direct tribute could have come about.

Space Marshals 2 is available to buy now from the App Store for £4.49. Deus Ex GO is also available to buy now from the App Store for £3.99.