DYSTORIA review: Alien abductee

by stubat
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DYSTORIA is the newest instalment from Tri-Coastal Games, this release is a colourful, sci-fi 6 axis arcade shooter that hopes to bring hours of gameplay from within its maze-like courses filled with hidden items to collect and secret areas. The way it sets up reminds me a little of the 90s game Descent from Parralax Software, a game I spent many hours playing. So as you can imagine, I was a bit excited for this.

I will start off with a minor complaint before I get on with this review, the intro animation wasn’t very good in my opinion, it’s a strange clip following a guy as he discovers the DYSTORIA arcade machine out in the streets. It made little to no sense to me at first and compared to the actual graphical detail and setting of the levels, didn’t really fit in with the game, until you get taken away in a UFO and it sort of comes together, however, once you finish the clip, you don’t see this again.

That being said, the basic story of DYSTORIA is that of pretty much any 80s sci-fi/cyberpunk movie, your character has been selected at random by an alien race to take part in a bunch of maze-like puzzles. Your goal is to find orbs within each level to open the exit portal, in these levels there are enemies to kill, items to collect and secrets to find, as you collect these things you’ll gain Nucleons and Scrap, which allow you to access better ships and weapon upgrades which allow for more speed, control and toughness, or in some cases, all of the above.

Dystoria artwork

The level design is a really big positive of DYSTORIA. You pilot your way through these 80’s arcade-style levels, with brightly coloured lines, glowing, a contrast to the darker background of the endless depths of space, looking like they would fit right in within the Tron universe. Alongside music that also ties in perfectly.

I love the music in DYSTORIA but I do have an issue with how repetitive it can be when you spend as much time as I do delving around every last pixel of the levels, you’ll soon notice that the tracks aren’t in fact as long as you would probably like and, there aren’t actually that many tracks, it doesn’t mean the music isn’t enjoyable though. It’s well written and like previously mentioned, it fits in perfectly with the theme of this game.

The actual gameplay requires a touch of expertise, you won’t fare well if you just charge into this game at the speed of light hoping to blast your way through the 3D space invaders style enemies and the thought-provoking mazes and puzzles. At first, it can seem a little disorienting, with winding paths and moving objects, taking some time to survey the landscape can be a lifesaver.

In my time playing, I never encountered any bugs which were a massive plus, that’s not to say that there aren’t any, your mileage as always may vary, but I never personally encountered any and if I did, I never noticed them.

I believe DYSTORIA to be a worthwhile investment, I personally look forward to seeing what they add to this game, I’d like to see a little bit more story added but at the same time, it isn’t really necessary. The game does what it sets out to do really well and for that I applaud it. With its funky visuals and it’s nostalgia-inducing music, you’re already onto a winner, at the Steam Market price of £10.99 I would say you’re not putting yourself out of pocket for a pretty enjoyable experience all round. If you’re lucky enough to catch it in a sale I’d definitely recommend you give it a go.

Now it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes of the DYSTORIA review, the score. Taking everything into consideration I’d definitely say it is worthy of a 73/100, if you’re anything like me, you will find yourself lost in this game, in a good way. It took me back, way back and I loved it.

I’d like to see them do something about that intro cutscene, lay the groundwork a bit more, for me if you’re going to try to set the scene, you should do it properly but honestly, this game would be just as good if none of that was there, just a nice pick-up and play arcade six-axis shooter. Tri-Coastal Games have done a great job here.


We recently interviewed Daryl Wilson of Tri-Coastal Games and you can read our chat right HERE. You can also find DYSTORIA on Steam HERE.

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