RIP Ralph Baer
I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...
"Noun. The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body."
Many downloadable arcade games try to match the colors on screen to the music and gameplay. Geometry Wars and Rez HD kicked off the trend on the Xbox 360, but the PSN is not without its contenders, Dyad among them. Does the sensation hold up?
Dyad is a music-action-puzzle hybrid, providing the nimble-fingered an opportunity to strut their stuff. In the early stages you utilize the game's core mechanic: "hooking" pairs of enemies in order to gain speed. As your avatar races down the tube of kaleidoscopic colors, orange and blue enemies will scroll towards you. Tagging like-colored enemies gives you speed, while mismatching breaks the string and slows you down.
Accurately matching pairs will send you flying at breakneck speed and the music accelerates to match. Later levels add modifiers and the ability to lance through enemies after avoiding enough of them to power up your avatar.
Many of the challenges require players to match a specific number of pairs of enemies or lance a specific number of obstacles. Other challenges will have you race against the clock or make it to the end of a track under certain conditions.
All of these levels have leaderboards filled with amazing times and exceedingly high scores, but even if you fail to place a three-star score, comparing results against your friends list is worth playing again for those few extra points.
Perhaps the best pieces of each level are also the most challenging. Once you've completed the base objective, you can replay them under trophy objectives that inspire even faster reflexes and higher scores.
While Dyad offers quite a bit of gameplay for $15, it can be seen as a one-trick pony. By the time you've beaten every level, you'll probably be fatigued and bored with its gameplay. What's more, it doesn't have the endless replayability of other arcade games.
Despite those drawbacks, the highly stylized Dyad is well worth your time and money. Once you get in the zone and start hitting enemies in succession, the blistering speed, graphics, and sound can put you in a trance. Pretty soon you'll hear colors.