Choice in gaming often doesn’t really exist. Telltale games, while they do feature player choice, will often lead you to a fairly similar outcome, even when you make different choices. While you may think you have three different options, they might each lead to the same conclusion. Dyscourse, on the other hand, is one of the few games that feels it is built exclusively around player choice.
After surviving a plane crash, you and five other survivors must try to cooperate and survive. Each of the different characters have their own personalities and their own views on what is the best way to do this. You have limited time and limited resources and it falls to your character, Rita, to make the hard choices.
At the start of the game, the choices are fairly simple. Do you want to search the plane wreckage or do you want to create a signal for any planes? As the days progress, your resources dwindle and your group begins to encounter real danger. As you make the choices on how to survive, the story you create will begin to diverge in significantly different ways.
As the choices become more difficult, you almost certainly will begin to lose characters to the various death traps across the island. That actually makes you feel bad for these characters because these characters are so well written. Their dialog is witty and each character is significantly different. They feel unique and you want to see them all get off the island, but you know they won’t.
Ultimately, what will decide how much you enjoy Dyscourse is how willing you are to replay the game. Each run can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. If you don’t play this game multiple times, that one run will not really give you any idea of all of the content you are missing. Dyscourse is the kind of game where you do your first run and then do another one just to see the differences in a single choice. There are so many different branching paths that you can play it five or six times and not actually feel like you’re getting recycled content.
The art style compliments the game very well. It is reminiscent of Don’t Starve or even Paper Mario, but it’s bright and vibrant. It contrasts extremely well with the dark storytelling.
Dyscourse is a short game, but the replayability is incredible. You need to play it multiple times just to see everything there is. The writing is fantastic and the art style is incredible. It’s the kind of game you can play for a short burst or for five hours and both feel valid. It’s one of the few games that makes you feel like the choices you make are valid and meaningful which leads to each run feeling different. In an age where choice in adventure games is everything, Dyscourse stands out as one of the best.
SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
A code for Dyscourse was provided to Pixel Related for review.