Dislyte review
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Dislyte review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on May 16th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: CLASH OF CLUBBERS
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This free-to-play has some inspired aesthetics but otherwise feels like a full embrace of pay-to-win design.

Developer: Lilith Games International

Price: Free
App Reviewed on: iPhone XR

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

I'm no stranger to gacha games, but wandering back into the traditional mold after spending over a year with Genshin Impact is jarring. Dislyte, the latest release from Lilith Games, feels like a slick and stylish update to AFK Arena, but no amount of modes, currencies, and characters to juggle can hide the fact that it's a pay-to-win game that wants to monopolize your time, attention, and your wallet.

Drop the beatdown

Dislyte takes place in a neon candy-coated sci-fi world where a sudden phenomenon granted certain people special powers. These chosen people, known as Espers, fight monsters that have awoken from Pandora's Box, and also have some infighting among their own factions.

This is the setup that leads you to plunging golden records into the Echo Chamber to recruit your own army of Espers that you can level, gear up, and take through Dislyte's story and various other combat challenges.

Pump up the party

There are seemingly 1,000 different things you can do in Dislyte, but the vast majority of them boil down to the same turn-based combat gameplay. You can mix and match a party of up to five different Espers to take into battle where you can then see if they can match up and beat out waves of monsters or other teams of Espers.

Team-building is where Dislyte gets really deep. With a huge roster of characters, all of which perform unique roles, possess different elemental affinities, and synergize with different kinds of gear and teammates, your options feel almost limitless, though that possibility space is very obviously defined by how much time and money you want to spend on expanding it.

Pulling for your attention

There's a lot to like when it comes to Dislyte's overall aesthetic. Barring a few embarrassingly over-sexualized characters, the game has a firm sense of its stylistic identity and actually does a good job of melding the club culture visuals of its characters with a soundtrack that represents a variety of subgenres beyond big room EDM and brostep (the 1-2 punch of commercialized club music that many video games seem to think are the only forms of electronic music that exist). Not all of it hits, but the variety and commitment is commendable.

Enjoying this style comes at a pretty high cost, though. Dislyte, beyond constantly tempting you with characters you could have or bundles you could buy to advance faster, is a huge time sink. Advancement taking a long time in gachas is nothing new, but Dislyte's combat is also super slow, even when set to move at its fastest pace. The game also constantly showers you with currencies for its different modes, enticing you to juggle them all the time. At a certain point, your power level also makes some of these fights trivial, so you can auto-battle them, but you have to leave the app open to complete them, despite an in-game feature that lets you minimize a round of auto-battles to do other battles at the same time. This turns Dislyte into a never-ending exercise in spinning plates that can at times leave you waiting around in the app like it's a glorified chat room.

Despite the ways the game heavily incentivizes increasing your power, Dislyte also kind of feels like a fruitless pursuit, as the game's real challenges comes from its PvP mode where you can face off against whales that have simply bought a better team than you. Although--in fairness--Dislyte has a flexible matchmaking system that allows to some ability to choose who you fight, ultimately you know the top of the heap will always be people who pay.

The bottom line

Dislyte feels like a solid embrace of all the things Genshin Impact left behind to shatter the gacha mold. Stylistically, it is interesting, and I'd recommend folks pick it up to play through at least its story if the events that took place during it were a bit more dynamic and less predictable. Since that's not the case, the best thing to do with Dislyte is probably just throw on the soundtrack.

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