Bright lights, neon signs, and some sick, sick beats - these are the very first things that Dislyte throws at you right from the get-go, and it’s an absolute thrill. From the intro scenes to the electrifying tunes zapping away at your soul in the first battle alone, it’s already pretty obvious that this isn’t your average gacha RPG.

The story of Dislyte

Set in the not-too-distant future, Dislyte follows the tale of Brynn, rocking out on stage with her musical partner, Sieg. Right when she’s in the middle of the performance of her life, she gets attacked by unknown assailants that turn her whole life - and everything she thought she knew - around.

Sieg disappears in the aftermath with a hasty apology and a cryptic goodbye, while Brynn is whisked away by a group called the Esper Union, thrust into a world of humans granted with special abilities from gods and goddesses of varying mythologies. These Espers fight what’s called the Miramon, which are basically alien thingies floating ominously in the sky.

Dislyte gameplay and combat

Typical of the genre, Dislyte features an energy system that you consume each time you go on missions in the main campaign. You also use up Stamina each time you participate in special dungeons to farm materials like Relics (equipable items that give bonus stats). The Cube Miracle, in particular, is a roguelite-esque dungeon with increasing difficulty that you can try to beat to score awesome rewards, while the Point War is the PvP arena where you can try to attack or defend against other teams for points you can exchange in the shop.

Combat is a 5-team battle with your typical auto-fight function (up to 2x speed, which is still pretty slow). The Espers you place in the front and the back lines don’t really matter as there’s no formation effect here, neither are there any melee or ranged effects. Your attack power will really depend on your characters’ skills, as well as on the star rating of your Espers.

This brings us to the summons. Pulling a 3-star character, to be honest, feels satisfying enough, as you can always increase their star rating by feeding them fodder in the form of two-star summons. What’s actually more important here is how you level up your 3-star Esper’s abilities, plus the Relics you equip them with.

For instance, Mona - the free Esper the Open Beta grants you at the very beginning - is an absolute beast on the battlefield despite her not being a 5-star character. She’s pretty god-tier, in my opinion, because equipping her with the Hades set of Relics grants her a Lifesteal effect where she absorbs the HP of her opponents. Equip her with an Avatara set and she’ll steal foes’ HP each time she counters - she basically takes care of herself, and is a powerhouse of a farming unit. Plus, she looks really cool too.

The graphics of Dislyte

Speaking of cool-looking characters, the strength of Dislyte, I strongly believe, is how hella awesome every single Esper looks. Character designs are just top-notch, so much so that you’ll want to keep 3-star units too just because they’re such eye candy. Everything is just so beautifully designed down to the last detail, which applies to both the 2D art and the 3D graphics of the unit when in combat.

Skill animations and victory poses are a joy to look at, and the voice-acting is simply amazing. I’d keep playing this game for the aesthetics alone, to be honest. Add that to the music pulsating with life in the background (can we make Dislyte Radio a reality, please?) and each playthrough becomes an absolute thrill.

Boss fights (that are not against fellow Espers) are totally exhilarating too. They’re mostly larger-than-life monsters, and their coolness factors are amplified by this disembodied voice telling you to get ready for “The Boss”. You’ll really have to play it to feel it - the vibe is just brimming with so much energy with each battle.

What’s the appeal?

Guilty of judging a book by its cover, I started playing Dislyte because the app icon, Drew (this classy Anubis-inspired butler) looks super fly. A week later and I’m still addicted to the game, maximizing my Stamina and lamenting my tortured fate each time it runs out.

I think it’s because you can’t simply breeze through levels as in other gacha games - here, you’ll have to painstakingly level up even the most useless 2-star summons to consume them as fodder to increase your fave Espers’ star ratings. In fact, this is the only gacha game I’ve played where I actually WANTED to pull 2-star fodder.

Plus, because of the unique abilities of each Esper, it’s so darn difficult to play favourites when choosing who to include in my roster. Thankfully, my Esper named Hall has both the looks and the skills to be a party staple - his poison stack passive ability is OP against single bosses, and he’s only a 3-star character.

Suffice it to say that Dislyte has effectively swallowed me whole. I can’t remember the last time something like this hooked me in with a vice grip. I also really appreciate how, when you choose to skip cutscenes, you get this little one-paragraph summary of what the scene is all about, making sure you still know what’s happening even if you skip through everything.

I suppose the only complaint I have is that I somehow can’t connect using my WiFi network, and always have to resort to a mobile hotspot before I can log in. I did report this to Dislyte’s customer service team, who was quick to respond to my issues. Now, I can connect to my WiFi on good days - they did say they’d improve their network connectivity during this Open Beta, and I think they somehow delivered.

In summary, Dislyte is a musical cyberpunk journey that sets itself apart from cookie-cutter gacha games with its one-of-a-kind aesthetics. It’s a delight to play it on portrait mode too - just make sure you’ve got headphones on to appreciate the beats in the background. I’m still waiting for them to upload their playlist on Spotify, which is hopefully something they’ll launch once the game is officially released.