Engulfing you in a visual and audio euphoria, Dyad can be felt down to your inner soul. Almost slipping under my radar completely, I was shocked at the sudden release for the title and how little I knew about it. What can be considered the love child of Dreamcast/PS2 cult hit Rez and arcade classic Tempest, Dyad combines the best of a racing, shooter and music game all into one. The symphony of overwhelming colors, waves of light, shapes and dynamic electronic beats that seamlessly react in tandem to what is on screen is truly awe inspiring.
Playing as a particle that resembles a squid-like creature; you are set in a cylindrical environment latching or hooking on to enemies, which are represented by varying colored energy orbs. Starting off with this simple premise, the later stages combine so many different things in a single level that thinking is not an option. Try not to blink too. The controls are streamlined to take advantage of only two buttons and the analog stick. Latching on or hooking to enemies, which look like colored orbs, provides different effects depending on their colors. For example, hooking a pair of blue energy orbs will provide a speed boost. Hooking enemies is only the beginning. With the subtle changes to each level, you are constantly being introduced to new mechanics. Hooking enemies is only the beginning as you will be grazing as close as possible to them and even later lancing your way through the enemies completely with speed boosts while colors zip past you and blur together.
The 26 different levels have subtle changes to the play style that each one adds something new and never lets you settle in before introducing new elements. Whether you are racing to the end for the fastest time or matching pairs of the colored enemies, the explosion of colors and sound never gets tiring. Later levels introduce environmental hazards and obstacles, which will break your momentum and decrease your current score if you are struck. Don’t expect to see a game over screen – at least through the normal levels. The trophy levels though have no problems placing a massive “Failed” message across the screen.
The speed bursts keep the game blazing along with a sense of velocity that I have not felt in a game before. One level in particular is constantly speeding up and if someone is watching you play the game, it may look like you are randomly hitting buttons and moving around, but that is the beauty of the game. Your subconscious takes over and while it may seem like you are not in control, you really are. The more I utilize the speed boost through the zip lines that I have created by pairing up energy orbs, the more hooked I become to the game. Fighting for your online leaderboard placement gets addicting and the feeling of “just one more try” kicks in. Of course that one more try turns into another 30 minutes going by.
Playing straight though and clearing each of the levels will take around 2-3 hours, but this is simply where I find the game truly opens up. Completing a level will open up the remix mode, which allows you to further distort the psychedelic experience as well as setting different modifiers – such as removing collisions or unlimited play. For those trophy whores out there like me, playing through the game will net you zero trophies, but the right to earn them – granted you earn a 3 star rating on each level. Each level has unlocked trophy modes that will TK even the best players. Getting the platinum trophy in Dyad is a true achievement.
Dyad is just what I have been wanting in a PSN title for a long time. The highly competitive leaderboard will keep players around long after competing all of the levels. Throw in the unlocked trophy and remix mode and there are plenty content well after the first playthrough.Note: Dyad was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.