The X-Files is a cultural classic, a sci-fi show which spawned a film, a revival series, and Catatonia’s fantastic ’90s pop song Mulder & Scully.
The X-Files: Deep State, however, is a by-the-numbers hidden object game that spends more time trying to stop you from playing it than it does pushing you along its convoluted plot.
It’s mired in obvious tropes and dull dialogue, and when you actually get to play something, it’s simply no fun.
I’m starting to worry
The main element of Deep State is its hidden object levels, which are fairly typical of the genre – you get a list of objects, a single screen, and a time limit to find everything.
Get stuck and you can tap the hint button to show you an item’s location, and some objectives allow you to hold down an object on your list to give a better indication of what it looks like.
Finishing a level earns you one star, which you’ll need to unlock new story elements and progress through each chapter, meaning you’ll need to repeat levels if you want to keep moving on.
New elements get thrown in as you go – you’ll be given names of objects instead of outlines, light is limited, everything is in night-vision, and so on – but it’s all essentially the same, and objects are only slightly randomised each time.
Beyond finding hidden objects, you’ll also be solving quick puzzles, completing simple adventure game-style rooms, and conversing with people.
This could be a case
The conversations offer you a chance to dictate how a story plays out through different dialogue choices, but you don’t have much impact on anything.
It ultimately all boils down to one binary choice right at the end of a chapter, and this is usually negated by a post-choice cutscene anyway.
And that story is, in a word, naff. It’s filled with annoying, stereotypical dialogue, twists and turns that don’t make any sense, and language that hasn’t been acceptable in a long time.
But by far the worst part of Deep State is the package it’s all wrapped up in. There’s a pointless energy system, a levelling mechanic which only opens up expensive cosmetic items, and endless wait timers.
You’ll be making great progress through the story, learning more and more, and then just as it starts to get interesting, you’re forced to wait an hour to unlock the next story element.
And given how underwhelming the rest of the game is, it’s unlikely you’ll even want to return once that time is up.
For Mulder and Scully
Overall, The X-Files: Deep State feels like a waste of a huge licence, which tries to throw too many ideas into the pot and doesn’t spend enough time on any of them.
The hidden object levels are bog-standard fare, the story is boring and confusing, and you’re constantly battling with it just to play.
Fans of The X-Files might find some fun in its ridiculous plot, but for everyone else, this is one to avoid.