It wasn’t until the middle of last week when I realized I had left no message. No warning. No word. I’ve been on vacations for almost 2 weeks, and I forgot to tell you, dear reader. For that I apologize. I wish I could tell you I went on a backlog clearing crusade but I would be lying: life chores (banks, shopping, assorted responsibilities) kept me from playing as much as I would have liked. But I did get some time to game, and I even got to finish/experience a couple of fantastic games! I shall begin the blog-revenge talking about one of this gems: Dust.
I admit: I’m so absent minded I just noticed it’s dubbed “An Elysian Tail” and not “Tale”. I suck at reading, but I don’t at playing old-school hack-&-slash RPG side-scrollers! I played the game on PS4 and I must say I really enjoyed myself. The premise is simple: cut stuff with your sword while doing combos and a bit of magic for good measure, all this presented in wonderful hand-drawn art style (running in 1080p/60fps). The gameplay is fast, the graphics are very nice and the music is also very good. All in all, much more than I was expecting from a game like this.
You play as Dust, a mysterious wanderer with a severe case of amnesia who is thrust into a war against an oppressive army. He is joined in this venture by Fidget, a small rat… like… creature girl that flies and has some very funny dialogue; and Ahrah, a talking sword that knows more that he lets on. Dust is very skilled at combat, yet has a kind heart.
The game has a bit of a Metroidvania style. Although the world is split in separated sections which you access from a world map, you’ll notice places that you clearly can’t get to unless you get a key or power, which happens later in the game. There’s even a couple of completely optional places to explore and complete quests, which are given to you by the people in the game’s central village (pictured above) and a few other places.
There’s stores, crafting, gathering of items – the usual fare for a game of this type. As you kill enemies you can level up and increase your attributes. All interactions with characters are voice acted (with fitting voices, most of them) and while there are a couple of animated cutscenes most conversations are shown via character portraits that animate slightly.
And that’s my only gripe with the game. Dust moves and animates wonderfully (walking and combat) but almost everything else (villagers, enemies) is animated in a… tweeny sort of way for most of the time. How do I put it? It’s like drawing a character in Flash and putting bones to animate it (if you catch my meaning). Oh, and since I’m on the subject, those few animated cutscenes I mentioned earlier? The animations are drawn with few frames per second, so they look choppy. I don’t wanna say “cheap” because character designs/drawings are really nice. In a game running at 60fps it really “jumps” at you when cutscenes are like that, but it’s no biggie.
Overall, if you happen to find a copy of Dust please do give it a try. It’s a fun game, with funny dialogue (Fidget loves to break the fourth wall), fast and fun combat, and an interesting story which I don’t wanna spoil. You can find the game on Steam and on the Playstation Store for $14,99 (at time of writing).
Fun fact: the game was made almost entirely by one man. Wow. Follow your dreams.