Up Up Down Down: Dyad
I know I'm in the minority here, but I wasn't completely won over by Dyad from Right Square Bracket Left Square Bracket. Don't get me wrong — I totally appreciate that the developer took a risk and attempted to make something vastly different from a lot of what's out there. That said, it was hard for me to fully enjoy what Dyad had to offer because I simply didn't think it was deep or rewarding enough.
Still, the game is certainly deserving of some merit, especially as far as its art and sound design are concerned.
Up Up: Visually mesmerizing and almost hypnotic
Dyad is very easily one of the more visually interesting games I've played in recent memory. Rather than conforming to a traditional graphical style, the game throws you headfirst into its dizzying world of tunnels filled with light and color. The more you play, the crazier the levels look, and before you know it, you're speeding through stages at a ridiculously rapid pace and seeing as distorted colors fill the screen and morph into different hues both bright and dark. It's beautifully mesmerizing, pleasingly hypnotic, and blissfully captivating.
Down Down: Can get boring if you're not interested in chasing high scores
Dyad puts a lot of emphasis on high scores. While you're free to ignore the game's leaderboards, this is the type of game that thrives on having players chase high point values and completion times. This is especially true when you take into account that you need to achieve the highest score or fastest time in each level to unlock that particular level's Trophy mode. The fact that acquiring Trophies is locked behind this requirement is likely to put some players off. Still, even individuals who don't care about achievements may find little entertainment in seeking that elusive high score.
Up Up: A true audio treat
Staring at Dyad is pretty much as interesting as listening to it. During my time with the game, I was constantly in a wide-eyed, open-mouthed stupor. This wasn't because of the gameplay, though. The one thing I thought Dyad did exceptionally well was reward the pleasure centers of my brain with its bizarre sound design, which fit perfectly with its visual direction. The two combined to create an almost surreal vibe. Listening to the game's audio become more and more distorted and almost dream-like made for a memorable audiovisual experience.
Down Down: It can be pretty mindless
There's a method to playing Dyad successfully. If you care enough, you'll try to master its intricacies and play the “right” way. If you don't care, though, the gameplay feels somewhat mindless. As you race down tunnels, you latch onto enemies, collect invincibility power-ups, and obtain speed boosts. While I tried to play the best way possible at first, I soon found myself simply latching onto enemies repeatedly so I could just get to the end of the levels quickly. There was no real method or strategy behind it — I was simply going through the motions.
Up Up: It's unlike pretty much anything else
Mindlessness aside, Dyad is still a fairly unique game. Sure, I've played games with similar mechanics, but the way this particular title blends its different elements to create what the developer calls a “tunnel racing puzzle shooting” game is somewhat intriguing. It definitely helps that the audiovisual design is so damn good, though, because without it, Dyad would be a complete bore. Thankfully, it's interesting enough that I think most people should at least try it out for themselves or watch someone else play it.
Down Down: The actual gameplay isn't that good
Ultimately, the biggest problem I had with Dyad was that I didn't think it was good from a gameplay perspective. It's interesting, no doubt, but my interest soon faded when I found myself doing the same thing repeatedly for about three hours until I got to the end. As previously stated, I know I'm part of the minority when I say that Dyad simply isn't that great of a game. For me, it didn't have the necessary tropes to keep me entertained, and I found myself simply playing it to finish it rather than playing it because I enjoyed it.
Left Right Left Right: Dyad looks and sounds amazing, even if it isn't all that great
While I'm usually quite fond of niche games, I wasn't won over by Dyad. That's fine, because not every game needs to be enjoyed by everyone, and I'm still genuinely glad that there's an audience for this title because it really does some interesting things. For me, the most enjoyable parts revolved around the visual wonder and audio experience that this game has to offer. That being said, I got pretty much everything I needed to out of Dyad within the first 15 minutes, and I'll probably never feel the need to revisit it again.
Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.