Developer: 2Awesome Studio
Publisher: 2Awesome Studio
Release Date: 7 December 2017
Price: $12.99 / £11.99
Reviewed by Gary Gray
A multi dimensional alien race known as the Ashajuls are attacking our universe, and its up to Jackelyne Tywood, pilot of the dimension jumping Manticore to save the day.
Set over a fantastical universe, the story and feel of Dimension Drive is actually quite in-depth, panning out the top down, space shooting gameplay with some jaw dropping comic book style art and quality voice acting setting the scene and story perfectly.
Split screen single player
Starting out there's something that's immediately different about Dimension Drive, something that all the other top down shooters that have flooded the Switch's eShop over the past few months don't have: Split screen one player. Now this might sound crazy, but you have to split your attention between two sides of the screen, as they are two different dimensions running parallel. With a click of the B button you jump from each side of the screen, this is where the main focus of Dimension Drive's gameplay lies. The place where you'll warp to is indicated by a pinkish glow in the parallel dimension. Warping is done for a variety of reasons, from dodging enemy attacks to avoiding terrain trying to block your way, it's a concept that I praise highly as it's possibly one of the freshest ideas to come to the genre. As you progress though the levels, you'll have to blast your way through tonnes of bad guys using your up-gradable guns, there's also a different variety of weapons to unlock by collecting data cubes scattered throughout the levels.
Speaking of unlockables, there's also more abilities to unlock for the Manticore too. The first one you unlock is the ability to slow the level down, which also turns your craft 180 degrees, a choice that has been cleverly thought through as it stops you shooting forward, stopping you overusing or spamming the ability.
Make sure you don't hit the walls though, as this results in an instant death. Luckily there are checkpoints dotted around the levels, so if you lose one of your three lives you won't be starting back from the beginning. While everything is solidly built, you're occasionally shunted into some crazily hard sections which can grind the fun to a halt. Whether it's a moment where there's too much on screen, or passages with big gaps between check points, things do get incredibly tough from time to time. I got stuck for well over an hour in one section on the second world. One false warp and your ship disintegrates.
Attention to detail
From its comic book story stills to the dark and dreary backdrops of space, Dimension Drive hits all the stylistic high notes. There's plenty of attention to detail, from your ship casting its glowing lights against the hurling rocks of space, to the warm light of threatening lasers, it's a real treat if you can take a second to look. Adding to the adrenaline of the fast paced action, is a pumping Electro soundtrack, that fits the bill perfectly. While you may not be humming the soundtrack afterwards, it really does tie everything together well.
Alongside the single player there is also a cooperative mode, where you will be sharing the chaos with a friend. If you're looking for replayability there's a bunch of options in Dimension Drive. From four different difficulty settings, that range from Normal to Hard, Extreme, and Insane. On top of that, there is a high score leader board, and grading systems, so there's plenty of reasons to go back and outdo yourself.
Dimension Drive is easily one of the most creative space shooters out there. Dimension jumping is a mechanic that really shines through and differentiates it from the competition. With a gripping story, which puts the cherry on top of a solid built shoot 'em up, you're surely in for a treat. Packed full of content, there's always more to go back to, provided you can get past the occasional spikes in difficulty.
Pros & Cons
+ Unique gameplay
+ Clever level design
+ Great multiplayer
- Tough difficulty curve
- One hit deaths can be frustrating