Can you solve this mind-bending labyrinth?
Update: The developers have fixed the bugs that I mentioned in the review, including the bug that let you finish a level by making both characters enter one door.
I’m a sucker for games that make you think. I mean really make you think. When I first picked up DYO, it didn’t look like it would be as difficult a game as it turned out to be. I didn’t consider how many interesting ways both screens could fit together. Once I got past the first twelve stages (out of an overall thirty stages), the game became more difficult and progressing further required out-of-the-box thinking – literally.
Of course, everyone approaches video games differently, especially puzzle games. A game that one person finds difficult might be easy for others. So it goes without saying that anything I say reflects my own experiences. While the beginning of the game wasn’t too difficult, some of the later levels required deep thinking.
DYO is a co-operative puzzle game that takes place in an ancient maze. You, hopefully accompanied by a partner, have to make your way out of the maze. The screen is split in two in a split-screen arrangement, but both players are able to “lock” their screens and jump into the other character’s screen.
DYO has no enemies and is instead focused, from a level design perspective, solely on challenging puzzles. As someone who likes challenging puzzles, the lack of enemies is an interesting, even exciting, design choice.
Although DYO is clearly designed as a co-operative game, it can be played solo as well by taking control of both characters. You simply control one character with the arrow keys, and the other character with the WASD keys. Although if you do have a buddy to play with, I highly recommend doing so because the social aspect makes DYO a lot more fun.
You also have the ability to go back in time or switch the position of both screens. To switch the screens, you and your partner have to hold the corresponding buttons: the left button on the Xbox controller, or CTRL or E on the keyboard. If you’re solo, you have to press CTRL and E at the same time. The screen switching isn’t well explained and there’s no menu which lets you look at the controls, so there is potential confusion here.
As for the visuals and music, DYO gets a lot right. The whole game takes place in a maze that seems to come straight out of Roman mythology. Littered around the maze are statues that somehow depict the two player characters. I like how the game’s visuals don’t take themselves seriously.
The soundtrack is moody and blends in well so you can think easily. It’s a good music track, but there’s little variety so it eventually becomes repetitive.
DYO is easy to pick up, but hard to master. Some puzzles don’t look very difficult at first, but it’s not until you play it that the difficulty becomes apparent. When you come across these difficult puzzles, try to think about what parts of the environment you could possibly use to your advantage. Remember, you have two screens to work with, not just one. When there’s nothing in your immediate surroundings to make it through an obstacle, you might be able to use something in the other screen.
The place that you “lock” in your screen is extremely important, especially the elevation at which you do so. Consider the ways that you can use elevations to raise or lower a platform in one screen to reach different locations in the other screen.
If you are having trouble with a puzzle, that’s okay. It helps to stop for a minute or two and try to think of an alternate solution. If all else fails, you can also come back to the game later for a fresh perspective.
I love the mechanics in DYO. If the game had a few much-needed features and bug fixes, I think it could have easily been the best puzzle game of the year. Unfortunately, there are a few glaring issues that I have to bring up, the first of which is the lack of online co-op. We live in an age when more people than ever play video games with each other remotely. It seems ridiculous to make games that only support local co-op in 2018.
A level editor is also sorely needed. Because the game uses a grid-based tile system, I don’t see any reason that the game shouldn’t have a level editor. I loved building levels for games like Advance Wars and Tony Hawk when I was younger. Come on, Team DYO.
There’s also an unfortunate bug which allows you to finish a level by having both characters enter a door on the same half of the screen on the same frame. Normally, you have to lead one character to the door on the left and the other character to the door on the right.
There’s another bug which caused the game to crash when a character got crushed in a particular way or when you press certain key combinations. I couldn’t reproduce the issue, but it still happened to me a few times. Thankfully, the game only takes a few seconds to restart, but then you have to start the stage from the beginning.
DYO is a mind-bending puzzle game that’s good if you’re by yourself but even better if you have a buddy. It’s not easy to master, taking me many hours before I finally had a good grasp of the game. It does things that a great puzzler should do, with spot-on level design that forces you to think outside the box. If DYO simply let you create your own levels and supported online multiplayer, it could have been amazing.