PC/Mac/Linux
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Game Info:

DYSTORIA
Developer:Tri-Coastal Games
Published by: Tri-Coastal Games, IndieHound
Release Date: February 20, 2017
Available on: Windows
Genre: Action, Arcade Shoot em up.
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Unrated
Price: $14.99 on Steam or less than $2 on Kinguin
(Kinguin Affiliate link)

 

Thank you Tri-Coastal Games for sending us a review code.

What was it with the '80s and neon lights? I never got that trope nor do I know if I want to. However, at least it makes for good video game settings. Space is full of bright lights and neon in DYSTORIA, an arcade like space shooting game. Gravity is nearly non-existent as every wall and angle is yours to move on in every level. Put on your sunglasses and let's survive in DYSTORIA.

DYSTORIA starts with a randomly working arcade machine appearing in a back alley. Once you touch it you're taken onto an alien ship where they ask you to train on a simulation device. Not everything is as it appears, at first you get emails congratulating you on completing stages. Yet as you progress, the messages you receive seem a bit more ominous.  

DYSTORIA
Highlights:

Strong Points: A fun pick up and play game that inspires you to actually beat your own scores.
Weak Points: A short game with nothing else going for it other then gameplay.
Moral Warnings: Just inoffensive ship-to-ship combat.

With the gameplay you get right to the point. Story takes a back seat to stages, scores, and collectibles. Not to say the story is necessarily bad, but DYSTORIA does not need Shakespearean dialogue. Yet once you're put into the pilot seat, you either beat a certain number of enemies or you collect orbs to exit each stage. The levels will mess with you as you explore, every plane of the game can hide treasures and enemies form you. You collect nucleons to unlock new weapons in one of your three weapons slots. Salvage collected from enemies will allow you to unlock new ships. Each ship has different stats on handling, speeds, shields, and turning. You'll also have hidden ship pieces to find in stages to unlock a special ship for your use.

This is a game that is quick, simple, and fun, yet it doesn't have a lot of longevity to it. The art style is creative, the six axis gameplay allows for a lot of fun level design and joy in exploration. Yet this is a game that can get repetitive quickly. If you are immune to motion sickness and if the constant neon doesn't burn your eyes, you'll be finished with the game in about four to seven hours. Another problem with the neon minimalist art style is the enemies of the world don't really stick out to you. While it's more than ok to play a game without a gigantic story, the world doesn't have life to it. This game seems to have been compared a lot to Tron, but Tron is remembered as a classic film for more than just the neon game world. Tron and his enemies were brought to life with a mix of visuals, character development, and world building. That being said, considering the fact this is a two man indie team and it's not a game hounded with early access bugs or a poor development history, the game's price of admission is more than fair. Not every game needs to be long, open world experiences with hundreds of collectibles and extreme replay value. Nor do I need a complex story filled with exposition and character development. I can see myself picking up DYSTORIA for quick blasts of gameplay to challenge my high score.

DYSTORIA
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The soundtrack would be what you make of it. The early techno style will be lost on some and a heavenly experience for others. The game also breaks some immersion when you realize that the ships aren't really special: you'll want to work towards using the ship with the best stats. With the classic arcade feel this game touts, maybe unlocks should have been done away with. If all the ships were unlocked it could be about challenging yourself with the weaker ships. The ships don't affect the power of your weapons either, further weakening the point in keeping the ships locked away. It's just a padding on keeping the stronger ships away from you to tempt people into staying with the game more.

Other then blowing up virtual enemy ships, This game has no moral failings.

This game is a great pick up and play experience with a right amount of challenge. Unlike other games that try to give the arcade feel, DYSTORIA accomplishes this in spades. More developers should have the courage to make simple and to the point games like the crew that brought us DYSTORIA.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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