Review: Dyad

Let’s start with something vitally important: Dyad isn’t Rez, nor is it trying to be. While the latter has been loved and enjoyed by both Playstation and Xbox owners in recent years, Dyad is new to the party and offers some new gameplay ideas and a whole new way to turn your eyes inside out in the name of musical fun.

The fact that Dyad is the latest in a niche line of music generating titles shouldn’t automatically mean it’s the same thing all over again. In Dyad, the idea is all about hitting pairs of items to propel yourself along the colourful tunnel thing. With orange and blue nodes heading towards you, the plan is to line yourself up to hook onto a pair of the same coloured nodes, which in turn will drag you forwards at ever increasing speed. Chain a few moves together quickly and you’ll pick up a crazy amount of pace, and yet there’s very rarely game-breaking frustration as a result of things moving too quickly.

And there’s two reasons for that. Firstly you don’t have any set lives in Dyad. You won’t get near the end, screw it up and instantly get dumped back at the start. Instead you’ll just lose points, lose momentum and lose the flow of what you’re doing. This makes the online leaderboards far more accessible for everyone who’s playing, but also goes towards heightening your determination to perform a perfect run. But the main reason that frustration is kept at bay is the way that you’ll often lose all concept of what you’re actually doing – once things click and you’re fully in the groove, instinct takes over and your hands seem to take on a life of their own. It’s almost edging towards a trance state, and would probably be made illegal if there was a dark room in a club where you could experience a similar feeling. Hook up a decent sound system or headphones and you’ll sink even further, fully engrossed into the building rhythms and melodies that are built as you hit your targets.

At first you’d be forgiven for thinking thing might get a bit samey, and hitting pairs of colours down a brightly coloured tunnel might not last all that long. Well you’d be right if that was the case, but Dyad is constantly dripping tweaks and changes into the levels, forcing you to learn new ideas, change your tactics and think of whole new ways to reach your goal. Before long you’ll be able to build up a lance attack option, pushing you forwards through upcoming sets of nodes. And yet just as you get the hang of it, the power is dented by enemies who are capable of repelling your attacks, making them far less universally useful. These little twists and turns never make enormous jumps, so there’s never a huge learning curve, but the path to perfection is far longer. The fact is it might take you a fair while to get through the whole game – not always because of the challenge of individual levels, but the rolling temptation to replay a level several times in order to get the full quota of 3 stars.

So take a first glance at Dyad and you’ll see vast amounts of light, sound and eye-popping speed. But dig a little deeper, get to know the intricacies of the game and start to discover new things to do and you’ll be mesmerised all over again. You might find some of the levels a bit much, and some sections seem to throw everything at you just to confuse you, but everything else here is just spectacular, addictive enjoyment.

Reviewed on PS3

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