Dyad: A frenetic, psychedelic, blissful rush

July 25, 2012

First and foremost, if you suffer from epilepsy at all, you should probably avoid this game at all costs. Now that we have that out of the way, Dyad is definitely an interesting game, to say the least. It’s an odd hybrid of rail shooter, music game, racing game and an accurate visualization of what it might be like to be on drugs. There’s definitely a lot going on in this game.

There’s one constant that goes for every stage. With your squid-like character, you move around in a loop trying to shoot at various enemies. With the shooting ability, you can either pair up like colors for a boost of speed or graze enemies to gather energy for your lance (boost) ability. On a basic level, this is how you get through each stage. However, tasks are different in each stage: three in the form of stars to meet the general requirements, and one task to earn a trophy which is much harder.

Various tasks ask you to meet a quota of a certain action, like getting pairs of colors, piercing through enemies with your lance ability, or even racing through the course in a time trial.  Each stage offers a remix mode that allows you to turn on and off certain visuals and elements that the regular modes have to offer, but there isn’t really much of a reason to go to it if you’ve already cleared the stage once unless you want to play a stage without the worry of failing.

While it’s not hard to actually reach the final level, the bigger challenge comes from competing on the leaderboards. The game comes at you at such a fast pace, competing against others will require a significant amount of dedication due to each stage having different tasks.

If it wasn’t for the tutorial system in the game being distinctly clear about how to achieve certain tasks, the game would’ve been too overwhelming, moreso than the visuals and music themselves. At times, you’ll find yourself being overloaded visually and find it hard to focus on gameplay. As you reach the later levels, you’ll find this to be a common theme.

Each of the levels has its own distinct visual and psychedelic style. It’s much easier to appreciate the amount of detail and psychedelic wonder going on in the background if you’re spectating. As the player, it’s harder to appreciate the visuals, since you’re way too busy trying to accomplish the task at hand. The same goes for the music. It sounds great, but I didn’t have much time to indulge it, since I was too focused on getting a star to reach the next stage. The game itself can be overwhelming at times, but as you adjust to the hectic setting in which you’ve been placed, it gets a lot easier.

Dyad has a lot of offer, combining simple tasks with challenging gameplay and great visual and musical elements to boot. This definitely is not a game to miss. For those who appreciate Rez, this game will be right up your alley.

Pros: Visuals and music are top notch when they can be seen and heard, simple gameplay makes it easy to pick up
Cons:  Too many crazy moments could overwhelm the player

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.