Game

A new arcade-style game from the creators of Does Not Commute and Smash Hit

Price: $1.99 (£1.49)
Version: 1.0.2
Size: 76.4 MB
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Developer: Mediocre AB

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Beyondium (formerly Dirac) is a dynamic round of quick-fire dot-to-dot, in which colored energy spots must be connected into chains before they disappear into the depths of space. The longer the chain, the more points you stand to get – but only same-colored dots can be joined, and a constantly moving flow of other colors will do its best to get in the way of a perfect chain.

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Draw a line between matching dots to score points

The game is played through the screen of the DIRAC mkII Quasi-Fibonacci de-unfocusing vectorscope terminal. Got that? Luckily the details are unimportant as there’s no plot, leaving room for more amusingly obtuse gameplay descriptions from the developers: “through phase-distorted intermodulation interference you will be able to manually disentangle and sort through the macroscopic existence of the microverse.” So, connecting dots in a tiny galaxy, then. This dry wit echoes the story-heavy elements of Does Not Commute, and the slick vintage graphics share something with that game as well, but the similarities end there.

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Encircle dots in a loop to get mad combo points

Convoluted sales patter aside, how exactly does Beyondium play? It’s relatively simple. Against a cosmic backdrop, a central molecule will spit out colored dots of energy, which slowly drift towards the outer edges of the screen. Each molecule can only birth a finite number of dots before it shrinks down to nothingness and the game ends, but you can replenish its supply indefinitely by joining enough dots to fill a colored gauge. Match colored dots to resupply the molecule before it vanishes – just be careful, as mistakes will empty the gauge and you’ll have to start again. Obviously, it gets more difficult to keep things going after a few minutes as the speed and intensity slowly ramps up.

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It’s easy to be overwhelmed if you don’t keep on top of things

It’s a simple enough concept, but beneath the surface lurks a game that requires quick wits, quicker fingers and a strategic brain that won’t buckle under pressure. What starts as a gentle, pleasant exercise in dot-joining soon becomes a fast-paced, borderline stressful challenge. It’s a game that asks you to maintain constant vigilance, both of the action surrounding the central molecule and the movements on the peripheries of your vision. One ADHD-suffering App Store commenter noted how the game felt almost therapeutic, providing a fun and demanding kind of intense focus perfectly suited to his hyperactive mind.

The slick interface offers five levels of difficulty and tough target scores for each

Beyondium may not be as addictive or as deep as some of developer Mediocre’s previous games, but rest assured it’s anything but mediocre. This is a solid, well-polished and beautifully styled game that captures the spirit of arcade classics of old. Like Asteroids or Space Invaders, it offers a single-screen space-themed experience that ramps up the difficulty until you can no longer keep up. A fresh, modern game with retro sensibilities. With just the one level type, it won’t hold your attention for hours and hours – but it’s a joy to play, and if you can cope with the oxymoronic blend of peaceful intensity you’ll want to keep coming back to beat that high score.

Review: Beyondium – a game for quick wits and quicker fingers
Old-school arcade sensibilities in a slick new-school package
For
  • Intense fast-paced gameplay
  • Clever touch-based mechanics
  • Excellent vintage styling
Against
  • A little limited in scope
4.2Overall Score