Your space craft has been separated from the mothership fleet and has made an emergency landing on Moon 2335. It soon becomes clear that not all is well on Moon 2335 as aliens have overtaken the planet. Dysnomia takes inspiration from the classic 16bit game Alien Breed but does it do it justice? Read on to find out.
You start on the surface of the moon with little knowledge of what is going on, there are aliens running amok and armed with a simple gun, things are not looking up for the Marine. Upon further exploration you will find the Jenson Mining Outpost which becomes the core area of the game. You have two main objectives; find out what is going on at the outpost and to restore functionality to your craft by finding the required components located in said outpost.
Exploring the planet and its outpost requires the use of computer boards which act as keys and can be found in equipment such as computer terminals. Once collected, they can be reused to activate terminals, bridges, doors and even defense turrets which help keep the aliens off your back. Activating terminals brings up a computer screen which contains emails and tells you snippets of the story which is built upon and recorded as part of your mission progress. Be careful though, as activating equipment takes a little while to start up so you must keep guard while you wait. Boards are also used to activate a lift system which unlocks the seven levels of the outpost, each level requiring five additional boards. Collecting the boards is essential to progress in this game!
Dysnomia uses the twin stick shooter control format so you can run and fire in any direction independently, which you will be performing often. A total of five weapons can be found as you progress through the game and they offer different firepower damage including a straight shot, 3 way, plasma and explosive rounds. Controls work well but you can occasionally find yourself trapped surrounded in doorways or furniture by enemies, often resulting in a speedy death. Thankfully you can save at any time as well as an autosave at the start of each level.
Each level of the outpost has a theme, introducing its own type of enemy. The starting levels are relatively easy with facehugger style enemies which can be dispatched with a single shot. Later levels such as the maintenance level have mutated rats which are larger than your character and can take several shots with your standard gun. Boss type enemies are also featured and can be quite tough to beat, traditional gamers may notice patterns for a slightly easier experience. Using the right type of gun against an enemy is essential, the game is played at a fast pace and any delays can be costly as the aliens respawn relentlessly, you really feel up against it!
There are some great strategic elements in Dysnomia which really add to the game. Collecting fuel rods will give you radiation poisoning, so you must quickly escape the outpost and return the rod to your space craft. Should you risk leaving boards in doors for a quick escape and possibly forget them afterwards? Or should you use and re-collect them as you go along, but run the risk of spending too much time waiting and a build up of enemies which will slow your progress. Dysnomia also has support for a second player co-op which can join and leave the game at any time, it can be very useful if you are stuck and need some extra firepower for a short while.
Dysnomia is presented very well and has a 16bit top down view feel to the game while still keeping modern enough to keep the younger generation of games players interested. Graphically the game looks good, each location has its own theme with graphics to match. Some levels do appear very drab as you would expect, it is a mining outpost after all, but some variety comes along at the right times. The levels are large and provide a good exploration experience, helped with a useful in game map which is filled in as you explore. Music is OK with retro style tunes that suit the game well with uplifting battle style music. Sound effects are also used as well as can be expected, with decent weapon sounds and alien death screams in plentiful supply.
Dysnomia costs 240 :MSPoints: which is great value for money. There are at least several hours worth of fast paced non stop action, levels can be revisited to find missing boards or terminals which adds to the replayability. If you are a fan of Alien Breed you will have likely purchased this already, if you have never played it please do check this one out as this is a great game. It is what the recent Alien Breed Evolution on XBLA should have been!
You can find more information on Dysnomia as well as the trial and full versions of the game on the Marketplace.