Gloriously cacophonic, Dyad might just be the freshest thing i've played in quite some time.
Some of you are going to absolutely hate Dyad. It introduces new mechanics so often that you might not have a chance to get used to the old ones. The visual design of the game is so bright and colourful that it sometimes becomes easy to lose yourself to the kaleidoscopic abyss, and sometimes the aiming can be slightly too tricky for its own good. When everything in Dyad works together though, it’s by far the most unique gaming experience you’ll ever have, and that’s something rather special indeed.
Playing as a strange octopus like energy creature, you’ll hurtle through various colourful landscapes by hooking yourself towards enemies. You hook enemies successfully, you go faster. It’s a simple concept, but Dyad plays with it magnificently in every level, expanding its core idea in a multitude of directions. Hooking two enemies together? You’ll create a zip line, allowing you to speed up even further, and as such be able to hook your way past even more enemies. In turn, this will build up your lance meter, allowing you to shoot past enemies for a limited time. If it all sounds a bit complicated, that’s because it is when you have it all explained to you at once. Where Dyad gets it right is that the game quickly introduces these mechanics over the course of your odyssey, and they then layer together naturally as you play, with each mechanic feeding in to the core concept of the next one. Dodging enemies whilst riding zip lines is exhilarating, and the game plays with its mechanics enough to make each level feel fresh and unique.
That’s only part of the fun in Dyad though. The other part comes from witnessing the sheer insanity that will spew forth from your TV set and sound system. With uncompressed audio that changes based on your actions, and visuals that range from “neon ink blot test” to “psychedelic insanity”, Dyad seems to have graduated from the Tetsuya Miziguchi school of Synesthesia with quite literally flying colours. The patterns that spin and pulsate in the background are a sight to behold, and this feeling is amplified when you unlock the ability to remix every level. You can tweak up to 8 variables, each with their own interesting effect on how the game looks and sounds. Turning on all 8 turns the game in to some kind of hellish vision of the future, where your PS3′s graphics card seems to be just on the verge of dying out for good. Colours bleed in to each other, and the screen starts tearing as you try to decipher the visual mess you’ve created. Tearing in Dyad is something akin to a badge of honor. You know that when the game tears you’re doing something very right indeed, as the swirling mass of colours becomes too much for the game to handle. That usually happens when you’re going just that bit too fast, and by then you’re usually too focused on the action to care at all.
If there’s one criticism that some people may level at Dyad, it’s that for the asking price, there aren’t that many actual levels. Coming in at 27 including the final mission, a straight playthough may take you up to 2 hours. Of course, when you factor in the increasingly difficult trophy challenges, then that playtime will likely quickly double or triple. Each level has a trophy run, unlocked when you get 3 stars in the base version. These trophy runs are, to put it bluntly, ludicrous. They’ll certainly test any skills you’ve amassed at the game, and maybe even teach you some new techniques. Of course, the game also has leaderboard support, so you can check just how badly your times have been beaten by your friends. If you’re competitive in the slightest, Dyad is going to give you a whole new stomping ground to preside over.
Dyad feels like a splash of colour in an ocean of grey and brown. It’ll catch your eye, and hold it until you submit to its devices. While it starts off simple, eventually becoming devilishly complex, every step of the way you’ll feel like you’re in control of the most magnificent fireworks show known to man. Gloriously cacophonic, Dyad might just be the freshest thing I’ve played in quite some time. That alone feels deserving of praise.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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