Dimension Drive – Review (Switch, PS4, steam)

Dimension Drive

Imagine for a moment what it must be to be a scientist, especially an astrophysicist. Their purpose in life is studying the natural world and how we, as humans, live in it. Thanks to them, we have learned quite a lot.

As a species, humans are bound to the natural wonders around us. The Earth itself has shaped and molded us into a dominant species, surviving deserts, oceans, and extinction-level events. But nature is not merely what is on this planet but what exists beyond our atmosphere: Outer space. The beautifully violent forces of outer space helped shape our world and everything in it.

For hundreds of years, mankind has sought to unlock the mysteries of the universe itself. However, as often the case, the limits of our understanding of space are being met. The Hubble Space Telescope has captured moments that only science can comprehend. Galaxies, containing billions of stars and planets, have been seen slamming into each other.

The ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft has captured a snowstorm on a comet drifting in space. Recently,  a series of X-Ray telescopes have captured a black hole swallowing a star, bending light to its will and absorbing entire celestial objects. When scientists reach the edges of knowledge, an assortment of theories and possibilities come into view, including the notion that there are multiple universes.

This is the thought process behind spaceship shooter Dimension Drive. Dimension Drive is a wild new spaceship shmup from 2Awesome Studios, a Dutch-based game studio founded by David Jimenez and Alejandro Santiago. These two game developers may sound like ordinary developers, but unlike most developers, they have the distinction of having worked for the European Space Agency, also known as the ESA. Applying their concepts of astrophysics, space, and scientific theory, David, and Alejandro have merged creativity and science into an amazing and challenging, spaceship action game.

Dimension Drive takes place on the fringes of outer space, at the outbreak of a multi-dimensional war taking place across thousands of galaxies and hundreds of alternate universes. A malevolent race, the  Ashajuls, have discovered a mysterious device known as the Dimension Drive. Built onto spaceships, this device allows the pilot to travel instantaneously between dimensions without the use of wormholes or hyperdrive systems.

In just an instant, an entire fleet of battle-hardened warships can be teleported to an entirely different universe. The Ashajuls wage an all-out war of dominance and terror, with entire planets being destroyed. Survivors are enslaved and folded into the Ashajuls ranks, a fate worse than death. This reign of terror makes its way to the planet of Vain, with a siege that leaves nothing standing.

A small human girl is able to escape on the experimental ship, the Manticore, and is protected by the ship’s onboard AI VERA. The sole survivor of the planetary siege, she is discovered and trained by a peaceful alien species to pilot the Manticore. The Manticore is a capable spacecraft, but it too contains a Dimension Drive. Now a young adult, Jack will take the fight to the enemy, across endless stars and planets, in a bitter war to end the Dimension Wars once and for all.

Dimension Drive is a spaceship shooter, taking place across a multitude of planets and star systems through different universes. As a spaceship shooter, the game follows the usual mechanics. Players will fly through a seemingly endless barrage of enemy ships fully-intent on destroying the Manticore.

Players will fly through asteroid fields, space stations, and ship graveyards in a dangerous journey to end the Ashajul threat. Over time, players will have access to different shots and power-ups that will help to eliminate the enemy. However, the most important weapon is the dimension drive. The dimension drive allows the Manticore to travel instantly between two different dimensions. This allows players to fight enemies in one dimension and avoid fire in the next dimension. To do this, 2Awesome Games has created an action experience that takes place on a split-screen.

Players will fight enemies across these screens, and the use of teleportation is quintessential. If you are taking heavy enemy fire, or want to avoid an obstacle, using this drive is instrumental to survival, as well as building a score multiplier. This makes Dimension Drive a most-unique combat experience and one that I personally haven’t seen since Velocity 2X by Futurlab studios.

The split-screen mechanic completely changes how players interact and play the game, but also poses some interesting challenges. I oftentimes found myself focusing so much on one side, that I completely neglected the other side, leading to unexpected deaths. Each level ends with a challenge as well, whether it is racing through a collapsing ship or facing one of many different bosses, the dimension-shifting mechanic will keep players on their toes and require sharp reflexes, as well as repeat gameplay.

Players will, eventually, be able to use drift mechanics and even turn their ship around to dispatch enemies coming from behind. Each level is unpredictable, making Dimension Drive a sharp gameplay experience. Additionally, there are online leaderboards for those seeking to challenge others.

Dimension Drive is supplemented with strong production values for its visuals, audio, and story scenes. Story cutscenes are voiced and delve deep into an interesting, fun, and unconventional narrative as young Jack not only fights an intimidating enemy but also discovers answers into her own past.

Visually, the game is sharp, featuring parallax scrolling and a solid amount of depth, while the audio features solid sound effects and music. If there is any complaint, the bosses, while fun to defeat, should explode in a ferocious, highly rewarding explosion, instead of just bursting into flames. Additionally, more levels and exploration into the dimension-shifting mechanic should be explored. However, that is a nitpick to an otherwise excellent game.

DImension Drive is one of 2018’s strongest games. While its gameplay mechanics take some getting used to, they bend the laws of expectations and traditional gameplay, which is to be commended for the team. The gameplay mechanics are sharp and the story narrative is interesting, making DImension Drive a fascinating gameplay experience. David and Alejandro have created something sharp, dynamic, and unique in this age of the indie renaissance. What they have created stands out as a game I encourage everyone to play. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next. Dimension Drive is an out-of-this-world experience, no pun intended.