Dystoria (PC) Review

By Luna Eriksson 24.02.2017

Review for Dystoria on PC

When 3D was new in gaming it was utilised in ways to highlight the very fact that the games had evolved beyond two mere dimensions. This was done by doing things like having space shooters focusing on moving along an outer circle while dodging enemies flying towards you. Some thought it was a blast, and many years later Dystoria aims to equip gamers with nostalgia goggles and take them on a trip back to the halcyon days of 3D gaming. Will it feel as good for the player as it did back then?

Many years ago, developers were constrained by the technical limitations of hardware when creating 3D environments and models, and often 'creative solutions' had to be used to get around some of the issues. Dystoria aims to stay true to this design philosophy and does a marvellous job of sticking to their guns, warts and all.

The gameplay in Dystoria has a very retro 3D space shooter feeling attached to it, with some quirks that feel as if they have been taken from those early days of 3D. One of the big quirks is that the spaceship travels on the surface at any angle in a gravity-defying way, making those 3D shapes feel like a greater part of the gameplay. It is very entertaining at first and would have been more so had the game been released 25 years ago.

Not before long, this feeling disappears and the ugly reality of the system becomes more and more apparent. The biggest problem is moving through the courses as a few turns can often take the player to unexpected places, making them feel extremely lost on the map squares that look like temporary object art taken out of an alpha version of a game. This, mixed with very clunky space shooting combat, creates a mess that is difficult to navigate.

Screenshot for Dystoria on PC

Added to the mix is the possibility to fly off the grid by different means. This would seem like a bad thing to do, right? No, it is a great thing for the player to do. While off the grid the player has 10 seconds to get back onto it before dying in space, but during that time they are free to fly around the stages to the point that much of the challenge in Dystoria can be completely circumvented by doing this as the speed in space is quite high, often high enough to transport you very far on the stage.

It is worth to keep in mind though that back when the games that likely served as the sources of inspiration for Dystoria were released the fact that there was 3D was a huge draw and to play around with this new tool was a magical thing in and of itself. In 2017 though, few people other than the most nostalgic from the early days of 3D are going to see the charm of this design choice.

There have, however, been far better attempts at aiming at the nostalgia of players without adding some of the worst parts of the games of that era such as gameplay design focused solely on the game being 3D for the sake of it, or easily exploitable features. This makes it difficult to excuse Dystoria on the fact of being nostalgic alone, which is sad as it has a really interesting concept which could have been really entertaining if it was executed in a better way.

Screenshot for Dystoria on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 3 out of 10


It is never a fun thing to play a game like Dystoria as it has many interesting and clever features and serves as a great history lesson in gaming, but, at the same time, it all falls flat due to the poor execution of said mechanics. To have a game focusing on driving on all sides of the objects, it is important to focus on making that enjoyable some way or another. In Dystoria, it simply isn't, as everything looks the same in a way that makes it extremely difficult to navigate, making it a frustrating feature instead of a game-defining one. Currently, it feels more like an early beta game with potential than a finished product.


Tri-Coastal Games


Tri-Coastal Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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