The Dink Network

Lyna's Story

What genius built this bridge above a volcano? What is this strange world? Inside a shop
July 30th, 2009
Score : 9.5 exceptional
This is an alternative hero DMOD, where you get to play Lyna instead of Dink. King Daniel's 10 knights are missing, Dink is away somewhere, and the other knights are too chicken to go find out what happened. So Lyna takes matters into her own hands.

The Good:

The gameplay is very good. Instead of running around killing everything, there is a certain advantage to evasive maneuvers (esp. in the alternate world), which is a refreshing change from your usual hack-n-slash dmod, and very much in the character of Lyna being the heroine.

The map layout is also very good. The sense of discovery as the plot unfolds is great. The new graphics are excellent (winding paths and cliffs really make the place live up to its name of Sojourn Heights). You can also jump down cliffs, which adds variety to what you can do as you explore the map.

Special effects are also excellent (e.g., the destruction of the bridge, the stone giant smashing holes in the ground, the volcanic eruptions, the slimers being able to "burrow").

The story does take a turn for the weirder when you enter the alternate world. A clever palette change turns the map into a surrealistic setting, which essentially doubles the size of the map. Here, the maps are cleverly designed so that knowing certain features in either world may suggest places to explore in the other (even though there are differences between them). The modification of monsters in the alternate world (hyper-slimes, spitting boncas, and psychotic ducks) also adds to the scarier atmosphere. The use of DDCs to flip between the two worlds is a clever, funny reference to a certain encounter in the original Dink adventure.

You always have the option of leaving the game at any point without needing to complete everything. Your final score, of course, will not be perfect. This is a clever alternative to your usual rail-roaded quest.

The new weapons are also very cleverly done. Exploding shadow-nuts are a funny addition.

The Bad:

Some puzzles seem a little out-of-place; e.g. the 3 fruits puzzle seems to just be there for the sake of providing a barrier to progress, rather than something arising more naturally out of the setting (e.g., the inaccessible cave, need to find another way in).

The story is a little too open-ended, and it's not always clear what you need to do in order to get the perfect score (perhaps this is the point, though). The story is also not fully explained in the end, so the whole thing about Henry and the alternate world feels a bit arbitrary at the end.

It is also possible to do certain things in the "wrong" order. For example, you can meet Milder before completing what is obviously the intended prerequisite tasks; this seems to reveal too much too early in the game. It does appear to be an original loophole fixed by a later patch; the current version works, and is passable, but still leaves the feeling that something is out-of-place. Perhaps a better way to fix this issue is to have Milder not show up in the mountain top until all the necessary tasks are completed - if Lyna were to venture there too early, she could wonder, "Hmm, why is this place empty?" - then when Milder speaks to her afterwards, she can return there and get the full cut-scene in one go.

Other more minor ordering issues include killing a spike before talking to the merchant, and also the behaviour of the fountains related to this.


Having said all that, this is still an excellent dmod, and very highly recommended. The good outweighs the bad (most of which are really just nitpicks). So I give it a 9.5.