Discorder is a two player racing/platforming game with an emphasis on the idea of competitive cooperation: players are encouraged to work together and compete simultaneously, with implications on the gameplay based on how players choose to focus on.
The game is set in a near-futuristic world where robots are pitted with/against each other in footraces for entertainment. AI personalities called Phil and Mis Anthropy speak to the runners in an effort to encourage them to help/betray their race partner, resulting in changes to how the race track functions.
A single race in Discorder is composed of four legs. Each leg is composed of two tracks (one for each player). One track has a diverting choice element while the other has an obstacle. When the player on the choice track passes through either the blue (cooperative) or red (competitive) door, the obstacle on the other track decreases or increases in difficulty, making it easier or harder for the player on the obstacle track to keep up with their partner.
Score is distributed by two factors. How fast both players reach the end affects the total team score (therefore, the faster both players are, the higher the total score), and how fast one player is relative to the other affects the score distribution (a player who was faster than their partner will earn a larger share of the final score). By this method, it is in the interest of both players to make it through the race together as quickly as possible, but also for them to hinder their partner so that they earn a larger share of the end result (while simultaneously not prompting their partner to hinder them in retaliation). A final secondary score reflects the choices made by the players, showing if they favoured cooperative or competitive choices throughout the race. This score affects how the two AI characters respond to the players.
The aesthetics of Discorder are near-future, with athletically-built humanoid robots and three-dimensional race tracks integrated into modern city-scapes. The AI characters are presented through pop-up screens on the player’s HUD as they run through the game, and are represented by abstract forms in space to emphasise their non-physical nature. The game is toon-shaded to reflect a quirky and non-realistic style, and the AI dialogue is also designed to be somewhat comical. The music and animations are made to emphasise the speed and chaos of the gameplay.