Dystoria is a retro-future style shooter/puzzle arcade game developed by Tri-Coastal Games. It leads you into a world filled with upgradable spacecraft’s which help to pilot your way through fast-paced mind boggling sectors in order to save the universe, all accompanied by brilliant 80’s synth soundtrack.
This journey begins with an abduction from Earth. Good start- they have been watching you. You are taken to an academy Dystoria for elite training, where your skills are tested. Many others like you have also been taken to this academy to be tested, in an effort to deduce whether your species will have a bright future ahead of them. No pressure.
Starting off in a spacecraft room, you have a console which enables the selection and modification of ships for the tasks ahead. Along with this is weapon customisation, which you need to unlock through collecting resources on the different maps. You also have a computer with messages from the abductors- Omniam.
Immediately after entering the first map, I liked what I saw. Straight away I was reminded of a strong Tron theme, along with Space Invaders. From the get go, it is what you would expect from an 80’s retro style arcade game. The soundtrack for Dystoria is one of the main appeals to me. This game has some good listening while you shoot the bad guys and navigate through this labyrinth, making it engaging.
The first sector loaded, and away I went. The stick-to-the-surface feature was a life saver for me, as I went swinging from side to side and flying all over the place. It does however take some getting used to when trying to navigate a nice correct course. The surface is free to roam, enabling you to explore each sector to unveil the secret areas and find the resources needed for future missions.
The controls were not explained on entering the game, but I figured it would be the standard WASD and mouse (which it was) so it was pretty self-explanatory. The mechanics of the game are pretty simple, your ship sticks to the surface of any given map and provides nice comfortable manoeuvrability, being able to move in any direction you wish in order to navigate through the map level. There are numerous enemies you will encounter, with each level increasing in numbers and difficulty, making this a nice challenge. Using the mouse left click button or the space bar, you can use any of the weapons you have and will unlock during your progression, frickin’ laser beams! Each spacecraft is customizable with different weapons – primary’s and secondary’s, to ensure the destruction of enemy targets: space bugs and cannons. Be ready for impending doom! Along with every selection of spacecraft, there are specific attributes for each one, some will have better handling, whilst others focus on speed. It’s completely dependent on your style of play.
Each sector you load will progressively get harder and more challenging, providing you with new experiences; rotating floors, portals, laser grids (which are instakill) and many a space bug. The puzzle solving that goes into this game is surprising as I initially assumed it would be a basic shoot em’ up arcade game. However, the puzzles are cleverly designed, requiring you to really put some thought into it – particularly whilst blazing through the course under enemy fire.
Your aim is simple: collect the orbs, in order to open the exit portal, usually located at the end of the map. Along the way, you will find yourself targeted by the space bugs and various others, all of whom deal deadly blows. In order to unlock spacecraft’s, you can collect the nucleons usually found across the sectors and for completing a sector quickly. We then have the spacecraft’s upgrades which we use salvage for, another collectable resource obtained by destroying enemies, seen as debris left floating in space, ready for collection. Then there are the bombs, found throughout the sectors and can be used to destroy blocks, ultimately leading to hidden areas and loot (ship parts) or simply to blow up some enemies-drive by bombing was my thing. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be any way of replenishing the spacecraft’s shield, but then I came across the checkpoints, which gave me a breath of relief, as at first I was restarting the sector from the beginning and then of course I came across the shield tokens.
While the game is a simple case of collect, destroy and survive, there are objectives and targets to hit for each sector, giving a completionist like myself a goal. So even if you finished a sector and maybe didn’t get all of the nucleons or ship parts, you can load back into a previous map and complete it fully.
Dystoria provides that much needed fix for your nostalgia and love for the classic 80’s arcade feel. Whilst not being overly complicated, you decide how you want to play, piloting, shooting and collecting. When it comes down to the games visual, it keeps classic in the sense that it’s not overly busy or over complicated with detail, making Dystoria a game for anyone who enjoys visually exploding environments, fast-paced arcade shooter, and the fantastic soundtrack that goes along with it.
I would recommend this for anyone wanting to get their 80’s feel good vibe and a lot of destruction in space.
Dystoria- Reviewed on PC
- Soundtrack is perfect for this game.
- Visual style is the epitome of 80’s arcade.
- No real story here, but not necessarily needed.