Continuing with our theme of reviewing Dischan Media games, we'll be taking a look at Dysfunctional Systems. As I know it, this was the last game that Dischan released before it went under. But that hasn't affected the quality that I have come to expect from Dischan games and while it's no Juniper's Knot, Dysfunctional Systems is still a very good game and bears all of the hallmark traits of a Dischan game.
It was a 2013 release, available on the PC for free at the Dischan site, Steam for $4.99 and the App Store for $1.99. Take your pick, but I'm a fan of the mobile version because it is far easier to play a game on the phone between subway stops than it is to power up the old computer for an hour or two, because that's how long this game is, if even that.
We'll start with the plot. Just like Juniper's Knot, the game boasts a unique storyline, but unlike Juniper's Knot this is a story where you actually make choices, choices that affect the game and would have affected the series, if Dischan hadn'tfallen apart. It centers around Winter Harrison, a young Mediator-in-training who travels between worlds plagued by chaos to solve their problems, many of them adversely affecting her own home world. These chaotic worlds range from worlds full of magic, to dystopian worlds. The first of the planned series, the first Dysfunctional Systems, centers around Winter's second mission to one of these worlds where she follows Cyrus Addington around on what should have been a routine expedition, this chaotic planet being plagued by a concept that Winter doesn't quite understand. Poverty. But then it wouldn't be an interesting story if it was routine, would it?
Because the characters are more fleshed out than previous works, there's more too them. Winter is by far more interesting and more compelling than the stars of Junipers Knot were, and at the end of it you certainly do feel quite a bit more for Winter, especially at the ending. She's a young kid, thrown into a world and life she isn't entirely sure she wants to be apart of and the ending is (spoiler alert) much more tragic, there isn't any happy ending this time around for our protagonists. You've been warned.
The visuals are top quality in Dysfunctional System. Not quite the same as Dischan's previous works but you can very easily see the similarities in style. It's interesting to see the shift from the two games and every time I look at either I still feel a pang of disappointment that things went south so quickly for Dischan because they had serious potential. In fact we might be discussing where and why they went so wrong sometimes in the future.
Dysfunctional System certainly isn't lacking in that department, and the sound track is equal to if not better than other Dischan works, in fact I enjoy this one more than I do Juniper's Knot. There's not much more to be said about Dysfunctional Systems, its another short game from a short-lived Developer that died well before their time but is well worth the time and energy. I've posted links in the second paragraph to everywhere you can get it, I strongly suggest you look at the free download from Dischan's website.