boss▲battle Review - Dyad (PSN)
One part Tempest and two parts Rez, Shawn McGrath’s new PSN title Dyad has players rotating a squid-like…thing… through a world of psychedelic tubes while pulsing electronic music and colors create a synesthesia-like blend of light and sound. Suffice to say, you haven’t seen much like this outside that hit of peyote an Indian shaman gave you in the desert that one time… that happens to everyone, right?
The “psychedelic racer/puzzle” genre has about as many entries as a clumsy shop teacher has fingers on one hand, so something like Dyad is bound to raise comparisons to Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez, the go-to heavyweight when it comes to pretty colors and techno soundtracks. However, where that title skewed more towards shooting with accuracy, Dyad’s biggest asset is building speed as you grab pairs of similarly colored enemies, which allows you to let loose blinding boosts of speed. The resulting experience is akin to a blissed-out F-Zero with grappling hooks.
Goals vary from “shoot X enemies in X time” to simply staying alive for as long as possible, but the core emphasis is on score attacks. Players are ranked on a 3-star system, with leaderboards adding a huge part to the title’s shelf life; booting it up without an internet connection even prompts a warning that the player is missing out. High scores have never really been a draw to me, but even I found myself replaying sections if I didn’t immediately nail a 3-star score.
That innate competitive drive will largely determine how much value you get out of a title like Dyad, though it’s refreshing that once the player has worked their way through its 27 levels, there’s no penalty for a leisurely pace.
Dyad weighs in at a doin-it-for-the-lulz-worthy 1337 MB, and launch trailers played up the fact that yes, the developers get the same meme-tastic jokes that you do, but there’s no debating that Dyad is yet another abstract, yet solid, title for which the PSN store has become known. Plus, it’s probably the best high you can get for $15.