[Earlier this month, DIYGamer met with Shawn McGrath of ][ Games prior to the start of IndieCade to get an exclusive hands-on session with the PS3-bound Dyad--currently targeted for a release next Spring on the Playstation Network. Ken Ellis shares the experience of his lengthy playthrough of the game off of the notes I was able to jot down from Shawn, and his own thoughts. Filmmaker Kevin Harland was in tow as well to capture footage, and edit together a comprehensively concise gameplay video of the title's latest (and word is near-final) build.]
One time I saw a unicorn stab a clown on a rainbow while he was juggling jelly beans. Shawn Mcgrath’s tube shooter Dyad made that seem like a scene from Eraserhead. It’s that vibrant!
The tube shooter genre is an interesting beast to begin with, and Dyad takes it to vast new heights. Moving through each level as fast as possible is the basis of the game. How to do so changes each and every time you play, however, and new techniques learned are built upon in each subsequent level. At first you simply latch onto enemies up ahead and launch yourself off of (while still avoiding) them to progress. Eventually you learn that combo-ing off multiple enemies of the same color will increase your speed, and give you a boost to your Lance ability that makes you invincible against all enemies. Later enemies even create zip-lines behind them when latched onto that can increase your speed by riding. Don’t rely on the ability to practice each level to get better at it either. All levels are progressively generated, so each and every single time you play a level, it will be different.
Music is seemingly the key element of Dyad. While it is not a rhythm game, music is infused into every aspect of the game. Each level has its own song, and each enemy creates a unique note when it is latched onto. Lances used speed up the overall tempo of the music . Even the menu’s themselves are musically interactive! Menu screen music can be adjusted to play backwards, as well as, with or without bass and rhythm. An audiofile gamer would be out of their mind not to try out this game.
Do not think for a moment that this game is easy or a short play. Once you complete a level, an optional harder version is unlocked in which you can challenge yourself with tougher completion times and higher objectives to earn. This is also the point in the game where you can start to earn your trophies–and yes you WILL earn them. This game was not made with the lazy trophy earner in mind. Most are earned by beating a very hard time trial. What time trial? Why Shawn’s own personal best time.
He told us, with a devilish grin, that since the game is on the PS3 and will have online capabilities, whenever someone beats his time that NEW time might become the time to meet or beat. I personally think this would be a great idea. Dyad is already set up to create great meta-gaming in competition for the fan base, so adding this little bit of ownership and inter-player challenging could be something to take it all to the next level. Especially with the random nature of the game, personal times are going to be completely based on the player’s skill, instead of memorization.
The demo session ended up going a solid hour, as I made my way through most of the levels available on the standard difficulty in the near- finished build. Erik, who watched the session in full, had to be convinced he hadn’t taken LSD that night. We put together a video to summarize the whole experience of confusion, discovery, and even anxiousness brought about by the sights and sounds. Also included is Shawn, the combo-king, pushing the game to its extreme with a ridiculous combo string: