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Dylo's Adventure

Score: 65%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: South Winds Games
Developer: South Winds Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Family/ Platformer (2D)/ Classic/Retro

Graphics & Sound:

Playing a Platformer these days that doesn't feature an Italian plumber is a rare occurrence for me, but Dylo's Adventure is worth a look. Actually, it looks fantastic. The graphics are clean and very nicely animated and the characters are sure to please the kiddies. There's no doubt that the audience for the game is a young set, and my three year-old's reaction was probably typical. He loves it. The most he can manage right now is pressing the space bar to throw rocks while I run and jump, but the bright colors and non-threatening environment captured his imagination. I mean, what kid doesn't like dinosaurs? Especially when Dylo saves the world from aliens.

What really caught my attention was the music. Chalk it up to the fact that South Winds Games hails from Argentina, but instead of the typical cheery J-Pop or New Age soundtrack, we get Latin with a synth tinge. And, instead of the same eight bars repeating over and over again, there are songs that seem to stretch across an entire level. The music is really nice, which is not always the case these days.


A more straightforward example of its genre would be hard to find. This isn't to say that Dylo's Adventure lacks features or that the fun factor is low, just that there aren't any innovations here. Running, jumping and taking out enemies has long been a staple for platforming adventure, and companies like Nintendo have found new and different ways to gild their lily franchises. What I respond to in Dylo's Adventure is the attempt to craft a very friendly, family-oriented game in a home computer setting. PC and Mac gamers both have fallen behind consoles in this genre.

Dylo's Adventure pits a lone dinosaur against invading alien hordes. The aliens, intent on turning the planet into a Martian theme park, somehow manage to corrupt the local fauna, which makes Dylo's job more difficult. Spiders, flies and the occasional beetle - who we assume were previously friendly - are out to make trouble for Dylo as he rambles through each level. Luckily, a bag of rocks and a good arm make Dylo more than capable of clearing a path. The aliens bring in bigger baddies, including giant robots and (yes, this does seem ill matched to an otherwise family-friendly game) gun turrets. Combine this with floating platforms, water obstacles and patches of dangerous ground to get the adrenaline pumping... Lather, rinse, and repeat.

To show that Dylo's Adventure is "in the tradition" of its classic forebearers, the developers have included some nice special bonuses and item collection that is more than trivial. Bonuses go as far as secret areas, discovered by a lucky jump in most cases. Items include upgrading that bag of rocks to cooler tools like the boomerang.


To make the difficulty squishy enough for those of all ages, South Winds chose to use a health-point system rather than the one/two/three-strikes-you're-out method of most Platform titles. Gathering fruit and food items increases Dylo's health, and bumping into enemies or spikes lowers health by a few notches. Only the most extreme environmental hazards will result in instant do-over for Dylo. That said, the overall difficulty level in the game is inconsistent, more due to control issues than design flaws. There is a nice design aesthetic that favors introducing challenges slowly over several levels. Levels are short, which helps make this a learning process. The first few levels teach rock-throwing and jumping or difficult enemies are introduced later. Aliens and their robot guardians aren't introduced for some time, but when they are in the mix, they are incredibly frustrating. Compared to spiders and flies, the alien battles are on a completely different level of difficulty. The same is true of the jumping challenges. Dylo isn't a great jumper, truth be told. Getting over rocks or the occasional water hazard is one thing, but once moving platforms are introduced, the game takes a turn toward frustration. A more seasoned gamer won't have much trouble getting through. But let's face it, seasoned gamers are not the target market here. They are out rescuing Princess Peach. So, Dylo's Adventure may fail to find its market. I rarely am one to favor more vanilla in anything, but in this case, dialing down the difficulty would have been the right move.

Game Mechanics:

The appeal of platforming is that you only have a few actions to remember, but a wide variety of challenges to explore. Who knew there were so many combinations of jumping, butt-bouncing and pelting before the advent of Mario and his imitators? I would even go back to side-scrolling arcade hits - my favorite being Moon Patrol - that used simple combinations of timed jumps and attacks to good use. Dylo's Adventure has all the right trappings, but falls short on execution. A joystick or some external controller will greatly improve the experience, but most casual Mac gamers will be using their keyboard. Arrow keys for running/jumping and the space-bar for throwing rocks is the extent of your control options here. Not only is there a big difference between running and standing jumps that will foil your attempts to move across platforms, but there are some weird glitches in the landscape. Some things, like platforms that fall or disappear some time after you land on them, are intentional but introduced too early in the game. Other items, like some slippery edge detection that causes you to fall or slide-and-fall where it appears you should be on solid ground, are just bad design or faulty programming. These items, in combination with the lumpy difficulty curve, create the impression that Dylo's Adventure is an earnest but amateur first effort for South Winds. Perhaps some of the glitches or imbalances can be fixed with subsequent versions, but in the meantime this is a must-play only for the PC/Mac gamer with no other options.

Southwinds Games has just posted a major update to Dylo's Adventure, addressing some graphics, control and saving issues, along with adding multi-lingual support. Be sure to download the patch here to maximize your Dylo enjoyment.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

Minimum System Requirements:


Test System:


Macintosh Dylo\'s Adventure Sony PlayStation Portable Tomb Raider: Legend

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