I’ve been toying around with Dyad for a few hours and thought I’d share my impressions with everyone. This is mostly for my benefit, but I really need to talk to someone about this game, so hopefully putting some words on paper will help flesh out my thoughts and feelings. Not that I have a video game therapist who recommended I do this, but Dyad is a unique experience that’s one part music, one part arcade, and eighteen parts psychedelic.
To prepare myself for Dyad, I’ve been watching videos and demos of others playing it. Protip: Don’t do that. It’s a cacophony of lights and sounds, and the entire game will make as much sense as trying to read hieroglyphics. Outsiders will see a tunnel lit up by neon globes and a squid scraping by lights and playing connect the dots with like colors. Those who have translated the complex language of Dyad will see finesse, structure, rhythm, and opportunities to go faster. The most basic definition of Dyad is that you travel down a tunnel matching colors, two at a time, to speed up your journey. The faster the better.
Dyad is constantly changing and forces you to adapt to new rules and harness new techniques. For all of its layers of complexity, Dyad never tosses you under the bus without instruction. Slowly but surely, the game gives you the cipher and skills necessary to conquer the challenges that lay within its twisted and warped landscape. It forces you to learn the Dyad alphabet so that the jumble of lights and sounds you may have witnessed in preview videos isn’t so overwhelming. The game was designed so that you can’t progress until you’re able to translate the Dyad jumble.
One of my favorite parts so far is the trophy implementations. I’m not sure what blood pact Shawn McGrath, the creator of Dyad, had to sign, but the game has a platinum trophy – a rarity for a $15 downloadable game. Initial levels judge your performance on a three star ranking system. Most of the time obtaining three stars requires some skills, but the levels are short enough that failing isn’t an issue. Dyad is clear about the goals you need to achieve and gives you reliable tool tips as guidance. When you get three stars (the max) on a level, you unlock the trophy challenge for that level. These are self contained trips that push your skills to the limit, if not beyond. Beating the level gives you a trophy – it’s simple and I hope more games adopt this trophy delivery system.
Trophy challenges mess around with the game’s mechanics and force you to wholly comprehend the Dyad fundamentals. Colors play a big part of Dyad, as matching pairs gives you speed boosts. Since low speeds equal death, it’s necessary to make matches. Matching has never been this important since Go Fish. One early trophy challenge puts you in a monochromatic world where colors don’t exist, forcing you to match by sound instead. As your cursor hovers over an object it elicits a tone, and just like that, Dyad reveals an entirely new way to play and succeed at the game. Sound becomes less ambient and more of another subset of the Dyad alphabet that needs to be measured and understood.
It’s an experience for sure. I’ll begin working on a proper review of the game soon, but I wanted to get some initial thoughts out there on it first. Before I started playing I wasn’t sure what Dyad was about, but I knew I wanted to play it. Now I know I want to play it, and you will too. Dyad comes out on the PlayStation Network on July 17th, in the meantime I guess you can just stare at the trippy Dyad website.
Can’t stop playing @DyadGame. It’s all the best elements of a video game condensed into one 1337 mb download.
— Dan Tallarico (@woozle) July 12, 2012