Because furries. *giggity*
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys a good sleeper title, this one is probably for you. Dust is a solid Action-RPG originally released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2012, but it was largely overlooked. It’s since been released over time on Steam, Linux and OS X, and most recently the Playsation 4.
Your main character’s name is Dust, and he’s a furry with a sword.
That’s right. A furry with a sword.
A talking sword.
That encourages you to kill things.
With similar gameplay to the online mmo Dungeon Fighter, Dust is a button mashing, side-scrolling, 2D adventure. Despite its upfront nature, there is a dodge and combo system employed to enhance gameplay for more experienced players. Mixing and matching Light+Heavy attacks produce different combat sequences, and sprinkling in a tertiary ranged attack helps keep long combo chains going. Predictably, the longer the chain, the more bonus experience to leveling up. And taking damage from an enemy resets the chain to 0. BUT, the game is still very playable and very enjoyable for anyone wishing to attack, attack, attack, attack, attack. Leveling your character is pretty simple, there are 4 core stats progressing one point at a time per level. Interestingly enough however, there’s a limit to how far you can advance one stat beyond your lowest score. I won’t spoil for you how that works. (So, all of you berserker players will have to find a slightly different way to play this game. Hehe.) However, enemies respawn on the map when you leave an area and come back to it. So us power levelers will be pretty happy.
And you know, spending 60% of our play time level grinding because there are few things more pleasurable in life than ending a boss fight with a backhand…
Gameplay aside, the story seems to well thought out. I’m only an hour into the game but I’m not getting any feelings of it being tacked on at the last minute. There are NPCs to talk to, cute witty banter amongst characters, and dialogue options for your main character. I’ve not played long enough to determine whether or not your choices affect the game, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a “yes it does.” The most amusement for me comes from the main character Dust, his sidekick Fidget, and the talking sword. They bicker like brother, sister, and baby sitter, but some of the things they say seem to vaguely poke fun at the RPG genre and gaming trends. The first time I came upon a merchant, Fidget made a string of comments about how odd it was to come across a random beady eyed stranger in the middle of nowhere and just buy stuff from him. Maybe I’m looking too far into it, but that’s what I got out of that. And it made me giggle.
If that’s not funny enough for you one of the healing items is aptly named wall chicken.
There’s also a simple crafting system in place. And speaking of, the merchant plays a role in that as well. As you collect materials it would behoove you to sell at least one of anything new you find. As the shopkeeper explains to you, he’s not from this area and cannot stock anything he does not purchase from a local. (You’re the local. Imagine that.) Don’t worry though, you need not worry about investing time developing a crafting skill instead of focusing on your sweet Furry-Fu (that’s what I’m calling it. Don’t judge me.) You just collect the materials, find weapon and armor blueprints, and you take them to a capable smith.
See?? So you no worry. Your sword arm will never grow bored. There are main story missions, optional side missions, and all of them contain some form of “go forth and smash” instructions.
The music isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either and I can’t see you muting it out of disdain. The voice over scenes are subtitled in a comic-style cutscene where the character speaking is enlarged on screen over a darkened background. So it’s very possible to veg out with your custom playlist on your stereo without missing any pertinent information.
The parent in me is about to come out, cause honestly one of my favorite things about this game is I can play it around my mini without worrying about what she picks up from it. (aside from picking up sticks and stabbing me with them when we go for walks.) The language is G-Rated, but still able to deliver an enjoyable experience for adults. And children can play with a super low learning curve and get their feet wet in the RPG genre. I wanna say my first experiences were Glolden Axe and Altered Beast…but, I’m not entirely sure if those games qualify as RPG titles.. hmmm…
Anyways, this game is pretty solid all around and it won’t break your bank either should you decide to indulge. I’m hoping to see some splitting story arcs for replayability, but I can already see this game being replayable much the same way our no-save games were back in the day on Genesis and SNES. Yes I know, my age is showing.
My editors are probably like “shut up Cajun, we grew up with Joust.”
Here, have some gameplay footage from my opening minutes with the game.
My rating: 3.8 / 5
Music/Sound: Not terrible
Learning curve: Very low
Fun Factor: High
This game shines mostly in it’s dialogue and fast-paced combat. I’m aware I’ve spent this entire review speaking very highly of this game, but it more than likely will be a hit-it-and-quit-it kind of game for most. I took that into account with my opinion of it’s numerical rating.