There is, without a doubt, a swathe of twin-stick shooters out there in the gaming world today. Some of these fall into the “rack up a high score” methodology of gameplay, while others lean towards providing a little more story and depth to the experience. Dysnomia falls into more of the latter, providing you with plenty of opportunities to shoot aliens and other creatures, while giving you a little more than the same five or six backgrounds at which to look.
There you are, cruising through the galaxy, when suddenly your ship starts blinking its “out of fuel” and “maintenance” lights. Not really a good thing to have happen in the great vastness of space. So you pull over at the nearest outpost to get the necessary supplies, a little hesitant about it as no one seems to be responding, but hey, maybe they’re all visiting the little spaceboy’s/spacegirl’s room. Upon your arrival at the outpost, you begin your search for all the components necessary to repair your ship and hope to get on your way again immediately. You come under attack from alien bugs (not that kind) immediately, as well, and the assault almost never lets up. As you explore the different areas of the outpost, searching for what happened and a way out of there, enemies come pouring in from all around without end. While Dysnomia wants you to explore and do a little searching about, it also doesn’t want you spending too much time just standing idle.
As far as defeating those enemies is concerned, much of the standard twin-stick shooter mechanics apply. The left and right thumbsticks control your movement and aim, respectively, while the right trigger shoots your weapon and the right bumper toggles through the different weapon types (once you collect them). Once you’ve gotten the enemies off your back for just a bit, you’ll find in the environment around you the occasional terminal or display with which you can interact to learn about what’s going on around here. Additionally, you’ll find turrets and other devices controlled by “AI boards,” components that you not only need for your ship, but for those aforementioned devices as well. These boards can be used in turrets to help provide you with some defense and a little breathing room, in bridges to help you cross gaps, or in a few other interesting pieces of equipment that will help make your traversal through the outpost easier.
While the adventure and story aspect of Dysnomia help to set it apart from other shooters out there, the co-op is definitely a feather in its cap. There are quite a few games out there where having a friend along with you is great, but it sometimes feels like he or she is just there; in other words, the game doesn’t make you feel like a co-op partner’s really needed. The opposite is the case with Dysnomia. The never ending stream of enemies makes you grateful at every moment that you have someone there to watch your back. This becomes especially true during the game’s boss fights, where you can flex your co-op gaming muscle a little more and employ the tried and true tactics of having one person draw attention/provide cover fire while the other doles out the damage. Should you or your partner fall in the midst of combat, all hope is not lost as you will respawn after 10 seconds. If the alien swarms prove to be too much for both of you, then you’ll go back to the last checkpoint, or the last time you saved – which you can do at any time except boss fights.
It’s easy to get burnt out on the shooter genre given the saturation of titles out there that fall within that particular milieu, there are still shooter games out there that use that particular style of gameplay as the starting point and then build on it. Dysnomia may initially feel like it’s “just another shooter” at first, but given even the brief 10 minutes you get with the trial, it becomes clear that there’s more to it than that. The story’s got enough of a hook to keep things interesting and the varied levels/enemies/bosses lets it stay fresh all the way to the end.
The Co-Op Experience: Drop-in and drop-out with a friend locally as you blast through hordes of aliens in order to repair your ship and discover what happened to the colony upon which you’ve unfortunately landed
Dysnomia is Geared Towards: Sci-fi twin-stick shooter fans that want a little story and adventure mixed in with their guns