Dimension Drive is a game that had a rocky start on Kickstarter. 2Awesome Studio had raised the money for their project, then a troll pledge backed out during their livestream in the final moments of the campaign. Thankfully they tried again and now two years later, the game released earlier this year on PC, and has now made its way to the Switch.
A multidimensional alien race known as the Ashajuls have taken over most of the known universe. You play as Jackelyne Tywood, pilot of the legendary ship known as the Manticore. The Manticore is a ship capable of teleportation through dimensions, and is the only real weapon against this dimension hopping threat to the galaxy.
Maybe I should switch to the other screen
The story is told through graphic novel like scenes before and after missions, with some dialogue spoken whilst on your mission. It isn’t very deep, and boils down to your basic “evil alien race tries to take over universe, child grows up seeking revenge, conveniently has the only means to counter said alien race” plot we’ve seen all too often.
Dimension Drive is a basic shoot ‘em up at its core, having you control your ship around the screen trying to destroy whatever enemies come your way. You collect power ups that grant you shields and upgrade your weapons, and you blast your way through to the end of each stage. There are collectables on the way too if you want an extra challenge.
Not exactly a glass half full kind of alien
Unlike other shmups, this game is split into two screens which denote the different dimensions you can switch between. You control your ship on one screen, while a dot on the other signifies where your ship is in the other dimension. At the press of a button, your ship will switch between these two dimensions. This allows you to avoid enemies and obstacles by flipping into the other dimension, and is integral to your overall success.
The new mechanics they added to the shmup genre is what drew me to this game, but it also served to reduce my overall enjoyment. In theory, these new ideas add an extra layer of complexity that will force you to think about things in a whole different way, and in that respect it is successful. Unfortunately, it is rather distracting, forcing you to take your eyes away from the action to make sure you don’t switch screens into a wall killing you immediately, or into the path of oncoming enemies and gunfire. I found the mechanic worked best during boss battles, which essentially turns them into mini puzzles.
Some of the best parts are the bosses
There is a cohesive aesthetic here, with the comic style of artwork gelling well with the in-game graphics. The ship designs are visually pleasing, and the bullets are made easily visible in contrast to the background which is required in a shmup. The music in this game is very good, with some electronic sounds mixing with some harder rock numbers. Gunfire and explosions also sound rather good here, helping to make destroying enemy ships in a fiery explosion feel satisfying.
Overall, Dimension Drive has great vision, with a beautiful look and feel, tight controls and an interesting mechanic added to a genre that rarely sees innovation. Unfortunately, the same new mechanic is this game’s biggest weakness, becoming an annoying distraction rather than a beautiful revelation. There may be something here for those who take a chance on this title, but I cannot recommend it as there are many great games in this genre more worthy of your money.
A code for the game was supplied for review purposes.