by Christopher Coke
reviewed on PC
A new mix, not so much a song, thrums beneath each level. Your actions add notes to this mix. Every hook, lance, and graze contributes a chime or ring fitting the “vibe” of the stage. This feeling is enhanced by the use of color and flow that make up the tunnel. Some zones feature hard lines and sharp edges. Others are soft and sweeping. Both react to your actions as you fly through. Surging forward with a lance causes colors to stretch and the music to change pace. Achieving a successful graze might see two streamers of light twist around each other as you surge past.
I am not a fan of techno, so I was not sure I would enjoy Dyad's audio. The music, while electronic, falls far short of being dub-step. I would hesitate to even call it a soundtrack, in fact. It is melodic, yes, but not entirely song-like. The repeating strains and heavy rhythms are entrancing and cue you in to each note your actions add. Like the game itself, the music is hard to define but creates its own tapestry to identify each level.
The core game is regrettably short and can be finished in just a few hours, but it's hard to use that as a criticism when each level also features a trophy mode. These modes send you back into each level with a new challenge and a fresh set of parameters. One early trophy requires you to hook twenty pairs of enemies using only sound. Another requires you to tag 50 enemies with only six lances. Since the game is based around unique level challenges, the inclusion of a trophy mode essentially doubles its length.
The new addition for Steam is Remix mode. Remix allows the player to change a number of options for each level, increasing or decreasing its difficulty. Collisions can be turned off, for example, colors washed out, energy made unlimited so you can lance to the finish line, and more. Levels can even be made endless for players looking to zone out in its storm of color. Remix mode might add some replayability, but with no fresh challenges tied to the options, it remains mostly for play.
Dyad does miss one opportunity: Achievements. Of the 26 on offer, every single one is tied to trophy mode. Earning the reward for completing each level's trophy is certainly on point, but it is disappointing that so little creativity went into this area. It seems natural to include a fresh set of challenges here but they are curiously absent from the games release.
Playing Dyad is nothing short of mesmerizing. The rapid blend of color and sound draw you into the experience like no other and refuse to let go. While it may seem overwhelming, the smart build up ensures it remains manageable, even for players unfamiliar with this style of game. While the achievement system is a bit of a let down, the gameplay and replayability more than make up for it. If you're on the fence, step down. Dyad is a quality port that easily justifies the price. Recommended.
Mesmerizing audio-visual experience, smart build-up of challenges.
Disappointing achievement system.