From full-on ports of console shooters to completely stripped down "tap to jump" endless runners, we never really seem to escape the discussion of what kind of games work best on a small touchscreen device. Which makes sense, because it's really hard to get this stuff right — especially when it comes to the controls themselves.
Having said that, dEXTRIS is especially interesting because it's one of the few games that feels like it was designed around the control scheme — an approach famously used by Flappy Bird creator/developer Dong Nguyen, who wanted people to be able to play on the go, with "one hand holding the train strap."
Whereas Flappy Bird optimized the single-handed control system, Chaotic Box's Frank Condello has focused on another familiar grip — the same one we all use when thumb-typing in portrait orientation. Take a look at AppSpy's gameplay video above to see it in action.
Condello already has a few iOS cult classics under his belt, and one thing they have in common that the competition often lacks is finely-tuned responsiveness. But now that the "twitch" genre popularized by Super Hexagon and Pivvot (and of course the aforementioned Flappy Bird) has blown up, Condello's penchant for creating fast-paced and, frankly, really difficult, games will hopefully gain him a broader following. He's often tweeted in the past about the monumental challenge of making a living as an iOS game dev, but since dEXTRIS is free and ad-supported, all it would take is the right combination of circumstances for him to be making some serious daily bank à la Dong Nguyen.
Of course, dEXTRIS doesn't feature a cute bug-eyed bird and nostalgic Marioesque pipes.
The bottom line is that dEXTRIS is pure, in almost the same way that Flappy Birds was. Do one simple yet super tough thing for as long as you can. And then do it again. And again. Until you want to throw your phone at the wall.
If that sort of thing appeals to you, I promise you: dEXTRIS is gonna totally be your jam, as it is mine.
dEXTRIS is free on the App Store.