Medium: Digital Download
While Dyad can certainly be classified as a video game, I feel like the word “experience” almost fits it better. To a certain degree it feels like there’s a page taken out of Thatgamecompany’s playbook, the team behind other PSN exclusive hits like Flower and Journey. Both featured mechanics that could certainly be compared to any other video game, but there’s a certain level of absorption into their worlds that rarely occurs in traditional, blockbuster, formulaic titles that fill store shelves.
If you want to just glance at the surface of Dyad, here’s what you’ll see. A music infused game that can kind of be compared to say, Child of Eden, in that when you make an action occur on screen it has a literal effect on the music you’ll hear. Dyad’s core mechanic involves controlling a squiggly little avatar of sorts that moves at a rapid, controlled pace, always going forward through a cylindrical environment. Along the way you’ll encounter a large variety of enemy types that you can hook onto by tapping the X button, which will often propel you forward, allowing you to gain momentum. This is often necessary if you’re interested in clearing the goal times, achieving all three stars, and posting up the best times and or scores for the online leaderboards.
But this is also just the tip of what Dyad manages to deliver. This is the video game hook if you will, the thing that you can relate to people via text on a computer screen or magazine page. It’s the back of the box description, the manual, the concept of how you make Dyad work. But it doesn’t really relay, at least in my opinion, how absolutely manipulative Dyad manages to be to your senses as you sit down with it for an extended amount of time.
And really, to be quite honest, I’m not going to be the writer that can properly relate my experience with the game to you. And don’t get me wrong, while I’m certainly hyping my enjoyment of the game to potentially catastrophic levels, I’m sure that Dyad won’t be for everyone. But when Dyad delivered, it did so big time for me.
Part of what made Dyad such an exceptional experience came from when the base mechanics finally clicked. When I stopped making jolting, jarring movements with either the analog stick or D-Pad while controlling my avatar, and finally transitioned into smooth, rounded movements that flowed much in the same fashion as the on screen spectacle before me. It became more about timing and less about lining up my hooks for the enemies, more about focusing on what changes and impacts I was making to the musical score, which by the way, is utterly fantastic throughout.
Another thing that I found to be exceptional is that every stage of Dyad delivered something new. At first I assumed it was slowly, but deliberately, introducing a series of mechanics that would eventually mesh together to make the actual meat of the game. But in reality it was constantly replacing concepts, enemies, and other mechanics in favor of new ones, causing nearly every stage to feel new and fresh while maintaining the very basic concepts introduced in the opening stage.
And of course there’s the whole accessibility angle to Dyad, which just means that pretty much anyone can pick up a controller and find some enjoyment with the game. If you want a more hardcore, challenging experience out of its mechanics, there’s the completely optional Trophy category for each stage that will give you a pretty serious run for your money. But if you just want to sit down and see what all the fuss is about, you’ll still be able to run through every stage of the game with relative ease regardless of how familiar you are with video games as a whole. While the look and sound might not be for everyone, there’s no real barrier to entry from the difficulty.
But again, I’m not really relating to you why the game impresses outside of the fact that it’s enjoyable to play. It really is something that you need to experience for yourself, and thankfully there’s a demo up on PSN now so you can do just that. If you allow yourself to get absorbed into what Dyad is offering though, I think you’ll admit that there’s a lot more to Dyad than what a simple text description can relate. And for me that’s the sign of something truly great, regardless of the type of media it’s presented in.