Among the many games showcased at GDC Play, DYAD had to be my favorite. For one, I'm a sucker for audio-centric 'art' games. I'm a big fan of Jeff Minter's Tempest 2000, and the Atari Jaguar's VLM. I'm also a big fan of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Rez, and Dylan Fitterer's Audiosurf (and soon to be released Audiosurf Air). And let's not forget TRON the movie, which stylistically seems to permeate through all of these games and has defined the visual style for all things retro digital, and futuristic cool.
Over the years there has been quite a few indie developers creating unique music based gaming experiences that pulse, ripple, and echo in euphoric psychedelia, where the gameplay is very much part of the soundtrack. DYAD is the latest entry into this category.
From Toronto based developer Shawn McGrath, the objective is to propel yourself forward through a visually stunning wormhole by attaching, or 'hooking' yourself to enemies (particles), while avoiding them. The more strategic connections you make, the faster you go. The game is described as an abstract racing game, though I don't think there is a multi-player competitive mode.
Playing the demo at GDC Play, there were several tracks to choose from. I was able to get a hang of the game, after hitting several particles which slowed me down. The player can rotate around the tunnel, much like Tempest to find the best line. Once I got into the rhythm of the game, it was pretty entertaining and I could see myself getting hooked. Despite comparisons to other games, DYAD is an experience unto its own.
The game had been submitted to festivals, but seems to not have won over any of the juries. However, I'm sure that gamers will enjoy the combination of sounds, eye melting visuals, and gameplay.
DYAD is set for PS3/PSN, with possible PC release.