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Dystoria Review -- Kicking it Old School

Dystoria is a mixed bag of both retro aesthetics and design.

With any game new or old, there's a fine line regarding its influences. Some use past inspirations to create new and unique experiences. Other games end up missing the mark and then there are titles that are executed well enough.

This is what I asked myself playing Dystoria. Developed by Tri-Costal games and published by Indie Hound, Dystoria is an indie shooter mashup of genres. It's part puzzle and action title as well -- it's definitely better explained in motion.

Your goal is to navigate stages with your ship as you move in 360 degrees. Stages are essentially giant labyrinths where you must find 3 orbs and avoid hazards. Imagine if you will, a stage where you can move along every nook and cranny. Now add in enemies that can kill you. Finally, you have to survive long enough to reach the exit goal.

Sounds relatively easy right? Well that's underselling the challenge. You really have to get the lay of the land & make your search. Thankfully the game has the feature where you can locate said orbs and the your end goal.

The biggest obstacle is the stage itself. After you get a good feel for the intro stages the game gets serious. Stages then have more in common with logic puzzles. You see what happens is that they aren't linear. What you have are platform like designs along side intricate landscapes. You need to take into account moving platforms, and pay attention to enemy positions, all to avoid a game over (more on this later).

The most interesting aspect of the game is the pace. Being an arcade shooter I generally assume it's fast and straightforward. Here you have to adjust accordingly as the lay of the land dictates. You either move around quickly without a second thought or simply find yourself moving about with great caution.

Dystoria, as mentioned before, takes a good portion of inspiration from ages past. You can easily see the game takes cues from Tron with the glowing hues and blackness of space, which as always it goes very well together. Dystoria doesn't just look the part, it also has the same music as well. So yes you can expect music that is synth in nature and retro-futuristic.

The game certainly accomplishes it's goal of retro inspired space adventures. The title also has collectibles to build new ships. You can even create a ship similar to the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. You can't get more relevant with your subject matter than that.

Now the entire experience isn't a smooth ride, however. If you move too fast off a ledge or corner beware. You can very well detach your ship from the stage. The game warns you to return because if you don't it'll be game over. Now this proved to be very frustrating because you have a short time period to return. This made the introduction levels not very enjoyable.

Despite those low points, the game is still fun nonetheless. Now if you're looking for a new retro-inspired game, Dystoria is right up your alley.

Review code was provided by the publisher.

Our Rating
7
Dystoria is a mixed bag of both retro aesthetics and design.
Reviewed On: Steam
Published Mar. 2nd 2017

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