Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dyad

Review: Dyad

2:00 PM on 07.19.2012 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

“[Dyad] is a racing game with some shooting elements, puzzle elements, and there’s like a meta-game on top of it that sort of comments on your state of mind when you get into the flow state of playing the game.”

That’s how Dyad’s creator Shawn McGrath explained the game to us at PAX East last year. I have a much simpler explanation:

Dyad is like Amplitude combined with Torus Trooper and sniffing bath salts. Like sniffing bath salts, I can’t outright recommend it but I can say it’s one hell of a time!



Dyad (PlayStation Network)
Developer: ][ Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: July 17, 2012
MSRP: $15 ($11.99 with a PlayStation Plus subscription)

The difficult thing with describing, assessing, and scoring Dyad is that it has few constants in its design. Each of the game’s 27 levels -- 26 of which have an entirely different trophy level -- has its own unique goal, visual style, and mechanics. Throughout all of them, you progress forward, move your squid-like avatar in a loop (think Gyruss or Amplitude), race toward a goal, and do it all to an eclectic electronic soundtrack.

The appeal of Dyad is in its trippy-ass-balls visuals and incredibly fast twitch-based gameplay. Unfortunately these two things have a way of nullifying the enjoyment of the other, at times. The intense gameplay will keep you far too busy to appreciate the visuals, while the visuals are far too busy for you to thoroughly enjoy the gameplay. Since the backdrops and enemy types change level-to-level, this isn’t always a major issue but it it is more often than not. The developer insists that this is a game that you play by feel, but a proper game feel will always be dependent on clear visual and audio cues which are far and few between in the psychedelic tunnels of Dyad.

On it's most basic level, Dyad centers on pairing enemies (orange or blue) by shooting them and grazing their center to fill your boost ability. Once you boost (read: Lance), you can tear right through enemies and go even faster. The game eventually introduces enemies that can stop your lance move and enemies that create a speed-up zone when linked with another. The rules of Dyad are constantly in flux, as is the music which reacts to your movement, speed, and performance. There are a couple sublime moments when the blurred action and high-tempo music created a surreal experience that I've only had with a couple games before.

If your only goal is to reach the game’s immense, brain-melting 27th stage, you won’t be too bothered by the confusing visuals. However, if you want to place high on the leaderboards, you’ll need luck and one hell of a sixth sense because these levels come at you fast. As for beating the trophy levels that unlock after you score a three-star rating on a level -- well, good luck! It can be done but coming to terms with the perplexing visuals, shifting mechanics, and lengthy stage explanations will take some time and dedication for most players. McGrath can blaze through these levels, but who knows a game better than its creator (especially on launch week)? You'll either get by on luck or by being a more patient, low-scoring player.

If one word describes Dyad it’s "exhausting." Keeping up with the ridiculous speed of the stages is exhausting. But, most of all, it’s exhausting to have to relearn how you play 27 times. Though Dyad’s main menu is slick, it’s in-game briefings are a mess. The enemy icons aren't accurate, the wall of text descriptions ruins the flow of the game, and there are rarely visual explanations of mechanics. Whether intentionally or not, Dyad is not a game eager to please players. It’s a game for survivalists wishing to prove something within the game’s ruthless tunnels.



However, each stage does have a remix mode that lets you alter the visuals and audio, all while playing the level without a fail state. It’s a nice addition that can produce some great eye-candy but it’s not likely to keep any sober bodies in front of the TV for long. The same can be said of Dyad as a whole. It’s a game made of gimmicks that can be enjoyed and mastered, but they are all just gimmicks in linear levels, at the end of the day. Though the game has latched onto the minds of some other reviewers, its hooks never quite got a grip on me. I couldn’t help but feel apathetic toward scoring high. I also couldn’t help but get angry at many levels that have enemies and mechanics that are as novel as they are frustrating.

Some of the game's levels do a great job of turning everything you learned so far on its head. One of the early trophy levels requires the player to link enemy pairs by their audio cues instead of visuals. It's incredibly tricky but has a unique thrill to it, once it sinks in. Most of the trophy levels are brutal and not very interesting. Some are just plain unfair. One starts the player off at maximum speed, tasked with dropping to a still state. You accomplish this by colliding with enemies, but it's all so random that you don't feel in control. It's just a matter of luck with a bit of skill involved. A good arcade game shouldn't be centered on luck.



Dyad is a simple game complicated by including a hundred simple ideas in the same package. It’s a packed closet full of items once individually wrapped but now they form an avalanche with you buried underneath it all. Some players may welcome the madness, but I couldn’t look past the game’s mixed messaging. On one hand, Dyad wants to be a classic arcade game where leaderboards occupy players’ minds. On the other, it wants to be an ambitious, navel-gazing experiment that culminates with a lengthy light show that makes the ending of Fez look like a Lite-Brite.

Dyad is an interesting drug but one that only gets you so high for so long. It’s side-effects and complications will get in the way of your mile-wide high, but, hey, everyone’s high is a bit different. Maybe you’ll enjoy it. Or maybe you’ll play Dyad for 20 minutes and jump off your roof, thinking you’re a dragon.

Regardless, Dyad is not substantial or well designed enough to occupy this body’s time once its effects wear off. The games's visuals that recall MTV's Amp are a treat and its manic gameplay is challenging, but these two elements never quite gel together. Also, it made me shit my bed last night. Thought you should know.



THE VERDICT

7

Dyad - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Dyad


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Conquest of Elysium 4 - Review

The PlayStation Vita: Twice as Bright

Video Gaming Bits -- Magical Date: Doki Doki Kokuhaku Daisakusen

Cheat Codes Ep. 83: Shut Up

Comments of the Week - Love Love Love

Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective 2 - COLORS

The meaning of The Witness (Part 2 of 3)

Venture into the Borderlands - Epilogue

Pokémon X Review - Fairy Enough

Kitten Bowl x Puppy Bowl Stream Starts NOW!

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Many thanks to a pal from time immemorial for his sneaky late birthday present to me of a digital Amazon gift card, which I promptly redeemed for this alluring beaut. Cheers! Viva la PS Vita~ [img]http://i.imgur.com/Cx3fPPb.png[/img]
Parismio avatarParismio
So I played xcom eu last night to get that xcom hype back. Half hour ago I already lost my brother, my best friends and my dog. Its been a stressful evening.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Asides from a last proof read and any final edits, the script for my final 2015 reflection video is now complete. I will see this through to its conclusion. There'll be a blog version as always and once it's done and over with, I'll finally update my bio!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Gore Magala set complete! That only took like 15 or 16 tries!
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
AT LAST, THE FOUL SEEDS OF RAGE BORN FROM THE WITHERED PLANT OF LOVE BREAK THROUGH THE EARTHS CRUST TO GIVE RISE TO A HARVEST OF RAGE. A NEW BLOG WILL BE THE GRAIN AND THE BREAD, TO FEED THE GNAWING HUNGER OF HATRED ALL VITA LOVERS HARBOR.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I'm glad that the Amiibo stock situation got much better. Because Hasbro sure as hell didn't get the memo with their Marvel Legends figures. These two seem more elusive than a western Lucina Amiibo!
taterchimp avatartaterchimp
Yay, finally beat the Necrodancer!
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
The next time you're getting riled up about game news, politics, drama, etc. just step back and be like The Dude.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
So #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan ?
Gundy avatarGundy
*Neps Internally*
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Seeing as how SMT is nowhere near as massively popular as Pokemon, this probably won't become a thing. Still, I'm curious about whoever's favorite demon/persona. Mine's probably Trumpeter! Without 'em, I would've never aced P4G on Very Hard.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Playing Tearaway Unfolded without glasses on makes it looks even prettier, gives it a glossy papercraft or almost dreamlike feel to it.
Parismio avatarParismio
eating cold pizza RN. i would warm it up but eeeeeeeeeehhhhh.
Kieronpowell14 avatarKieronpowell14
Just some Marvel stuff
EAPidgeon avatarEAPidgeon
Have a good one everyone. May you enjoy bountiful carbs and fats this Super Bowl Day.
Heat avatarHeat
someone asked me what i am going to do on my vacations... "playing like 6 hours of XCOM 2 daily, then some Diablo 3. Later, Darkest Dungeon and some beers, and to end the night, i'll watch some anime and eat instant noodles" "Perfect"
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I've beaten the Gaping Dragon and finally got the key to Blight town, whats the first thing I immediately did when I got there? Fall right into a endless pit and died.
Bardley avatarBardley
I scanned some pages from issues of Nintendo Power from the early 90's and saw this back cover ad. I thought it would be appropriate to post today. Who's everyone rooting for tonight?
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Came home pissed off for some reason, hopped on Rocket League and played the best games of my life. New tactic!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
10 hours into the Witness, I've solved 350 puzzles, and activated 8 lasers. So, that's about 35 puzzles an hour, I think that's a pretty good pace. I have no idea how many more puzzles there are, but I think I'll be getting towards the first ending soon.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -