Dexter’s Disciples review

Dexter’s Disciples is a new promotional Facebook game from Showtime, designed to complement the currently-running season of the popular show. Unlike the previous Dexter game Slice of Life, in which players took on the role of the eponymous serial killer, Dexter’s Disciples is a more straightforward trivia game designed for fans to test their knowledge of the show and its characters.

Following each episode of the show airing on Showtime, a corresponding episode is added to Dexter’s Disciples. The episode includes four categories of questions with three questions each, making nine per episode in total. The four categories include Verbally Dextrous, in which players must complete quotes from various characters; Know the Code, which is a general Dexter trivia round; Close Call, which is a picture-based round in which players must identify an object as it gradually zooms out from an extreme close-up; and Killer Instinct, in which players must predict what will happen in the episode.

All questions are timed, with players receiving a larger number of points the quicker they answer, and larger numbers of points for more difficult questions. Players are also rewarded for correct answers with collectible “Blood Slides,” some of which may be examined in the game’s menus to see images and other bonus content from the show. “Trophy Slides” also form an achievement system, rewarding players for streaks of correct answers and other noteworthy accomplishments.

Players also have the opportunity to use “assists” on difficult questions, but must invite friends in order to take advantage of this. The player’s score for a question is also cut in half if an assist is used. Up to three assists may be used per week, with each corresponding to an invited friend, though the friend in question does not have to actually accept the invitation in order for the assist to be used immediately.

Further incentive to invite friends is provided by an ever-present leaderboard at the side of the screen in which the player’s performance is compared against their friends. Various achievements such as successfully answering questions and collecting Trophy Slides may also be shared to the user’s Timeline if they so desire.

The core of Dexter’s Disciples is a simple but effective means of engaging fans of the show and continuing to promote it as the season progresses. Unfortunately, technical issues and something of a lack of polish mar the experience to a significant degree. The visual presentation is very good, for example, but there is no sound whatsoever in the game, making the whole experience feel unfinished and rushed. Even some simple sound effects upon correctly or incorrectly answering a question would have sufficed, but fans would have probably appreciated some quotes and/or music from the show, too.

More seriously, the game regularly and predictably froze on our review machine — a fast Windows 7 PC using Google Chrome. During the initial loading time, the game temporarily freezes Chrome every time, though choosing to wait rather than killing the page process eventually brings the game up. Likewise, every time a correct answer is chosen, the game’s tab freezes completely, with the mouse cursor sticking on the “pointing finger” cursor and not responding to input. It is possible to switch to other tabs or applications and the game does always eventually start responding again, but this is a noticeable, easily-reproducible bug that could lead some users to believe that the game does not work at all. Issues like this should be caught in pre-release testing and resolved quickly, not still be present several weeks into the new series’ run.

Regrettably, these significant bugs and the generally unpolished feeling make it impossible to give an unreserved recommendation for Dexter’s Disciples right now. There’s a lot of potential here, for sure, and the “trivia” approach is a simple but effective means of rewarding die-hard fans of the show, but as the game stands it simply doesn’t work as it’s supposed to and feels like a rather rushed effort. Hopefully over time it will improve, but for now it’s one to skip past and check back on again later in the season.

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At its core, the game provides a good means of engaging fans of the show over time — but the execution leaves a lot to be desired right now.