dEXTRIS Review

Gotta go faster, faster, faster

Whether you love or hate Flappy Bird and the cyclopean bugger that flits through its devilish levels, there’s no arguing Dong Nguyen’s unassuming game has caused a resurgence of arcade-style titles on the App Store and Google Play. Even though all these games generally require players to utilize one (sometimes two) fingers and follow simple rule sets, some still manage to be more sophisticated than others.

dEXTRIS by Chaotic Box falls a little closer to the “sophisticated” side of the recent arcade game resurrection. Like Flappy Bird, dEXTRIS‘ basics are very easy to grasp, its controls are uncomplicated, it’s challenging, and your only job in the game is to get a high score. Unlike Flappy Bird, however, dEXTRIS is a slick-looking game with an adrenaline-fueling soundtrack.


Oh, and like Flappy Bird, dEXTRIS is addictive. Frustratingly, head-smashingly, “Why am I playing this oh just one more level” addictive.

Though its name might lead you to believe otherwise, dEXTRIS has nothing to do with Tetris. The “Dex” in its title seems to be a reference to dexterity, which you’ll need plenty of to rack up any kind of score worth bragging about.

dEXTRIS takes place on a cool blue scene outfitted with hazards. Spikes jut out of the walls, and bladed “islands” take up real estate in the middle of the screen. You pilot a vehicle that’s made of two neon squares stuck together (sticking together is what good squares do).

Pressing on the right-hand side of the screen causes your squares to move right. Pressing on the left-hand side of the screen makes them shift to the left. And when you press both sides of the screen at the same time, the squares split.

Theoretically, you’re supposed to slither from side-to-side to get around the wall-spikes, while splitting your squares gets them safely around the objects hanging out in the middle of the screen. Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before you hit an obstacle and your squares explode like cheap bags of popcorn.


The challenge driving dEXTRIS is simply staying alive as long as possible. It admittedly gets a little easier to remain whole the more you play: The game really does hone your hand-eye coordination the longer you keep at it.

Don’t bother getting a big head about your skills, though. The action in dEXTRIS gradually gets faster and faster (and the music speeds up to match the quickening tempo) until you inevitably rocket into a wall-spike like intergalactic bug splatter. Make no mistake, it’s maddening to meet your end when you’re on a roll, especially when your score stops just short of a multiple of ten.

dEXTRIS‘ rootslie with Flappy Bird and other one-touch arcade games, though it definitely carries a touch of class and an injection of speed that’s missing from Nguyen’s bird cage. If you’ve been looking for a game that runs up a bunch of numbers that you can shove in your friends’ faces, you could do far worse.  

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